Achieving Behavioral Change
“Ronald is a 29 year old Youth from the Namutumba District. He was born and raised in Bulyabwita Village in Namutumba. He attended Kigalama Primary and thereafter, proceeded to Kanguluma SS for his secondary lower. He studied at Kisiki Collage and NTC Kaliro for a Diploma in Teaching and then proceeded to Makerere University for his Bachelors of Education.
Ronald lives and works in Namutumba as a Teacher as well as the District Youth Chairperson, Namutumba. His ambition has always been to involve himself in leadership and development issues right from Lower Secondary.
Since leaving Makerere University, he has been studying issues as to why the government has been “endlessly” tackling poverty, governance, Gender Based Violence and Human Rights issues but nothing has really changed. To play a part in all this, he curved leadership as his entry route in addressing these issues.
However, this has not been easy due to two main challenges; he has been unable to spur the Youths around issues, acute inaccessibility to information and core of all, clarity and understanding of their roles as Youth. Ronald has attended a host of conventions, meetings and workshops on Youth Issues. According to him, the HRBA was not going to be anything acutely different. Well, not until he was at the training room!
Anchored in the Human Rights Based Approach, the pilot project started off in the modest of ways and steadily realized a ripple effect. In Namutumba, there has been a rampant trait of the Youth not participating in any processes this is partly because of the a top-down approach applied by the Local Government whereby the Youth are incorporated into programs and initiatives that they do not need and worse still, they do not fully comprehend. The working formula of the Youth Assemblies was to enable space for the Youth to deliberate on issues affecting them and to come up with possible solutions; For Ronald such youth-led forums were rare and he begun to identify this independent space as a critical aspect of meaningful youth engagement.
Ronald expressed much benefit from the excursion and the opportunity to engage with other Youth Networks across Uganda. An Activista based in Kapchorwa, described how despite having little resources, his network was thriving due to their evidence-based approach to government engagement, the commitment of it’s members and the vibrancy of the network. These were some of the key strategies that Ronald took away with him with the intent to appropriate back home. Ronald completed the excursion feeling motivated and with resolve: “Even though every single Youth here knows what needs to be done, we still don’t selflessly come forward and attest to doing it. The resistance to change is not about the change itself – self change before community change, or the risk involved. It is the risk of taking responsibility for it”.
The Assemblies further demonstrated to Ronald how effective the Youths could be, if they have the resources and are empowered with mandate and direction. He cites the aspect of inclusivity as a key take home from the project. To lead the Youths from their current disposition basing on his initial approaches, he intends to use the concept of HRBA and inclusivity as pillars to galvanize the Youths to be strategic in influencing critical processes of Local Government and forming Youth Groups on saving and Investments initiatives.