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Ambitious youth team up to win contracts in real estate sector

Some of the group members

Some of the group members

As the unemployment figures among the youth in Uganda continue to rise, some of them have decided to create their own jobs, using hands-on skills. Fifteen members of Youth Achievers Group are making building and construction materials in spite of starting from adversity and without any funders, writes GEOFREY SERUGO.

Comprised of 11 gentlemen and four ladies, the group ventures into the business of making pavers, louvers, cab stones, wall poles, and others. They are not thinking of looking for employment because they earning from their business, yet learning to be more creative.

They started the business in January of 2022 after being skilled at COWA Vocational Training Center (VTC), Kireka a partner vocational training school with Wezesha Impact. Through the Wezesha Improve Your Business sessions, the group underwent training in saving, record keeping, division of labour, and sharing profits.

According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics, youth are the majority population in Uganda, with 77 per cent of the total population. There is 7,310,300 youth from the ages of 15 to 24 years of age living in Uganda. The unemployment rate for young people in Uganda ages 15 to 24 is 83 per cent.

The unemployment rate is alluded to by the rigid education system, lack of sufficient experience and skills, and others. Tom Tenywa, the team leader of the Youth Achievers Group said they got six months of free training in concrete mixing and other topics.

“Following the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent closure of schools were we rendered redundant? While at home we got a chance to be trained as we waited for the reopening of schools. Unfortunately, schools remained under lock for a long time. I talked to some of the colleagues I trained with and we teamed up, formed a group, Youth Achiever's Group."

Tenywa said they contributed money among themselves and used it as startup capital. They bought two bags of cement, a wheelbarrow of sand, and a mold for pavers and started the business of manufacturing pavers.

“We bought each bag of Cement at Shs 32,000, sand at Shs 50,000, and a mold at Shs 100,000. We sell each paver at Shs 550 and 1000 pavers at Shs 550,000. It was a humble journey but in six months, we have so far won over three contracts and recorded a minimum profit of Shs 500,000 every month,” he said

“We want to start making bricks to maximize the available market. We have plans to purchase big machines which will help us in the mass production of pavers because are now producing manually,” he said.

Located in Namataba, Kirinnya- Bukasa road, Tenywa said they have managed to register their company, dubbed Kinawataka Technical Construction Company Ltd with the hope of winning both private and government contracts. The group also dreams of buying concrete mixer machines and other equipment.

The group faces the challenge of price fluctuations of Cement and sand and unfavorable climatic conditions which affects their work since they have no shelter.

“We still have a challenge of clearing rent fees. We pay Shs 1 million as rent. We have another challenge of stiff competition
from other Companies like Sayan Brothers. They are our neighbors. They have big machines and produce in bulk. We as well have a challenge of capital and that has hindered us from getting molds to make eight and nine-inch bricks but we hope one day we shall get them,” Tenywa said.

The group however brags about the Shs 2.2 million contract which they signed off with Wezesha and executed well. The group members said since most of them have not resumed school, each one of them has an obligation of going back to school for a two years course in construction.

Rahumah Nakato, 20, who hails from Mbuya said the first Covid-19 lockdown forced her to join a group of youth venturing into making construction materials since most of the schools we shut down to curb the spread of the virus.

“I had no option since we were redundant at home. When the opportunity came, I informed my father who showed me the green lights to grasp it. On a good day, I can make 1000 pavers. This was a great opportunity because most of my friends were impregnated. I hope to resume classes at Nakawa Vocational Business Institute later this year because applied for a two years course in construction,” she said

Nakato who earns Shs 20,000 daily urged all girls to do all sorts of work as long as they earn some money other than sitting idle at home.

“We are so far progressing but we have some challenges which include the rain. It hinders our activities because it at times destroys our products. We have no shad or shelter at our manufacturing plant but we hope in the near future we will erect it and buy more machines to increase production output.”

Nsibambi Shadrack (20 years) from Kirinya, a Kampala Suburb said they got the idea of making pavers and other materials while at COWA VTC.

“Because there were no contracts, we decided to start making pavers. At the start, we had one wheelbarrow of sand and two bags of cement. We made them and someone offered us a contract as a way of supporting us and we executed it. We came up with an idea of starting up a construction company and we have registered it,” he said.

Nsibambi who completed senior four in 2019 said he has not given up on going back to school.

“I save money. My mother promised to top up for me to go back to school. My goal is to save money and pay tuition for at least one of the two- year’s courses,” he said.

geofreyserugo1992@gmail.com

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