In March over 100 young people from Moroto and Napak Districts in Karamoja, North Eastern Uganda joined a 2-day dialogue on youth livelihoods with local and national decision-makers. 15 influential leaders joined the discussions, including the Minister of State for Karamoja, officials from the Office of the Prime Minister and local government representatives from the National Agricultural Advisory Services and the Schools Inspectorate.
The two-day meeting was organised by Restless Development in collaboration with local government and youth groups, drawing on the findings of recent research conducted by young people in Karamoja. This research exposed the barriers hindering young people from securing sustainable livelihoods, including limited access to information, services and markets. It also highlighted new opportunities that have opened up as a result of the recent peace and the varied ways young people are making a living in this complex environment.
Young people were able to raise their concerns and learn more about their rights according to government policy. Discussions focused on the restrictive nature of current government programmes and their limited reach in the Karamoja sub-region. Young people also highlighted the lack of relevant and practical vocational training for young people. A recurring topic throughout the talks was the need to include young people in local decision-making. Both government and youth agreed that without this engagement, it is unlikely that government services will address young people’s real needs and interests.
As Minister of State for Karamoja, Honourable Nekesa Barbara Oundo noted, “Such consultations are critical to enabling young people to voice their issues to the decision-makers who should act on them … this is better than young people taking to the streets with sticks and stones thinking that this is when the leaders can listen.”
By the end of the two days the young people and decision-makers present had committed to:
The Restless Development team will be working closely with young people, communities, government and other development partners to ensure these commitments translate into action over the coming months!
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