Simply put, if you asked me what social problem I am more concerned about, I would tell you that I am more concerned not with the number of uneducated people in my country and region rather the high level of civic ignorance. I am therefore working to solve the problem of law civic awareness among the young people. Young people account for at least 78 per cent of Uganda’s population and accordingly, Uganda boasts of the youngest population in the world. These young people are, however, civilly ignorant and lack touch with the civic realities around us.
If it is His (God’s) will, I wish to see a mass of young people who take on social challenges, including bad governance, to create the change they desire. This courage and confidence is what I am labouring to create in my humble efforts to reach out to the less privileged and the ignored young people of this country. For instance, at Youth Aid Africa, we have U-lead clubs in schools where we conduct leadership training to build basic leadership virtues like honesty, integrity, accountability and stewardship, innovation and creativity as well as discipline; we create platforms for young people to interact and trade their social related ideas, seek to learn, relearn and unlearn from one another, create synergies for personal and otherwise growth, among many things. We are also inaugurating a Leadership and Peace Building Academy this year to empower young leaders to be peace builders. We run youth livelihood training sessions at community level. These are definitely not stand alone programmes given the fact that we have people and organisations we work with, but what is the point for me to share these realities?
While I have grown up in not so pleasant conditions, and undoubtedly hail from a humble background, it is not enough that I excel alone in many aspects of my life. Throughout my work, I pride in creating networks for change and improving lives of other people. Whereas many of us dream of being leaders in many respects and at different levels in the near future, I personally believe in leading an active citizenry and this should be our motivation as young people, especially those in civil society space. Why?
Through our works, we can create a lasting impact by creating many more social impact entities and initiatives. The young people in Katanga, Kisenyi, Kamwokya and other slums need our effort to get them to the same table of hope and build their confidence that they too are eligible for civic hygiene thus they have a duty to transform themselves and these communities they live in. Our current leaders may certainly not understand this because they belong to the highbred class. Of course me and you will know why Bobi Wine has been able to appeal to a reasonable number of “Wanainchi”, the famous Ntege Ssebagala (Seya) and a host of other populist politicians around. If you are wondering why they have been able to pull serious crowds, it is because majority of them have “pretend” to identify with the common person.
We must empower young people to establish and run a multitude of social enterprises. We must create presence and our network should become more interactive than ever before. Our programmes should expand to deeper grass root areas and our networking capacity has to supersede our capacity.
Our next move as young people should be to project to a wider mass of young change makers who are equipped with new thinking and approach in solving social issues, creating new opportunities for future generations, mobilising ourselves for development and not individual-based political activities.
We seek to be more exposed to new methods of organising and engaging communities for more sustainable results as well as civic activity. While I pondered on engaging in elective politics in 2016, I later decided to withdraw and rather focus on educating the masses to realise active citizenship. My focus now is to empower more young leaders and I invite all able-bodied young people to partake in this doing.
We should inspire the young people to join the change making movement. Through our efforts (in whichever form it may be), move to connect with the lowest person so they see the possibility of getting involved. You and I should inspire volunteerism among young people from all corners have a multitude of sharp and active citizens and from across the country with whom we share the need for us to get to work for a better tomorrow.
Mr Kyokwijuka is a YALI-RLC fellow and the executive
director Youth Aid Africa. firstname.lastname@example.org