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25,000 teens, youths to benefit from Shs 84.1bn joint UN agencies program

The program launch in Entebbe

The program launch in Entebbe

Over 25,000 youth and adolescents are set to benefit from a Shs 84.1 billion Uganda-UN Joint Adolescent and Youth Program (UNJYP).

The program is focused on ensuring social protection and adolescent health, skilling and economic empowerment. It also further seeks to enhance their participation and engagement in crucial thematic areas such as peace and security, environmental conservation and climate change.

Under the program, the youth will be trained to make their own decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and rights. The first phase will be implemented in eight districts of Yumbe, Terego, Kotido, Moroto, Kampala, Lamwo, Kiryandongo and Namayingo. The policy document indicates that the districts were selected based on the greatest needs in the outcome areas and investment locales of the participating UN Agencies.

According to UNICEF, Uganda has the second-youngest population in the world. More than 78 per cent of its citizens are below the age of 35, and this youthful population is projected to double in the next 25 years.

Laura Criado Lafuente, gender and youth program coordinator at UNFPA said quality education is an area of priority because without skilled human resource, it will be difficult for the country to develop. She noted that the 13 UN agencies (UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, UNESCO, UNDP, UN Women, ILO, UNHCR, UNAIDS, IOM, FAO, UNODC and UNCDF) are working with the government to develop the youth peace and security national plan of action to ensure an enabling environment for the youth to realise their full potential.

“We want to reach a critical mass that will facilitate a social movement in those districts that will ensure that the parents are also informed and allies of the program and that community leaders and religious leaders are also allies of the program. We are targeting youth leaders to amplify their voices to ensure that this creates a social mass to achieve gender equality,” she said.

“We have been working with the ministry of Health and the ministry of Education, and we will enhance what we do to amplify that greater impact in this area. We want the girls and boys to make their own decisions about when to marry when to start a healthy relationship with the information and to ensure protection during the relationship,” she said.

Mondo Kyateka, assistant commissioner in charge of Youth Affairs at the minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Development and the focal point person for the program noted that they want to see adolescents and youth both in and out of school have increased access to education, skills, productivity, livelihoods, and employment opportunities for safe and decent work.

“This program will address the issue of the disparities between labour market demand and the skills that are imparted by institutions of learning. We want to interrogate and see what we can do to our labour force to be productive,” he said.

He noted that under the program, they want to have meaningful youth participation and involvement in peace, security, and climate to ensure that the climate is not degraded and how we mitigate the abuses emitted on the environment.

Balaam Barugahara Ateenyi, the state minister for Children and Youth Affairs, applauded the UN agencies and pledged to support the program. He offered his public address system to be used to reach the critical masses in the eight districts.

“This program will benefit all young people regardless of their political affiliations, religions, and races. We have an open door policy at the ministry, so let us work together for the benefit of young people,”  Barugahara said.

The UNJYP joint steering committee will be coordinated on two levels; the political level, where the minister at minister of Gender will take co-leadership with the UN resident coordinator, and the programmatic level where the permanent secretary ministry of Gender will co-chair the office of the resident commissioner with UNFPA as technical lead. The National Youth Council and Uganda National Students Association will be actively involved.



0 #1 Onim frank 2024-05-27 22:29
Just waiting plz
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