Coalescing YOUTH differences to plan

Failing to plan is planning to fail. My mentor once told me; if you want to achieve something; Paint a mental picture it. Understand it. Plan & work it.Youth in Namutumba have over time proved to be more divided than united despite support and recognition back to 2006 when the LRP started working in Busiki.
Issues such as poverty, exploitation, early pregnancies, lack of basic skills for development and exclusion, in-effective youth adult partnerships and exclusions are some of the key blockages to realizing relevance to and by Youth.  Since I joined the LRP as an Inspirator, I have had a hard time trying to coalesce youth around the ideals of achieving economic growth, dignified livelihood and informed participation in local government processes for the youth in vain. Subsequently in Nov., 2013, I am now making a break through, albeit slowly – a relief from the on-and-off breakthrough before then.

On 5th Dec. 2013 the Youth were privileged to see what other Youth from neighboring Districts of Kapchorwa and Pallisa are able to do with resources just as meager are those in Namutumba. Age was a non-issue, gender was no barrier and intellect was no leveler. All that was common was to dare have a vision. They saw interacted with Youth farmers, businessmen and professionals all of whom came from nothing but embraced each other to make something. Following this exposure to the “outside world”, the developed a sense of ownership and responsibility – albeit not all of them. However, it was clear they wanted…no, needed to stop playing the dependency card. Female Youth, who I was almost giving up on, became much more attuned.

On 11th Dec. 2013, when everyone was fatigued from the yearlong activities and as the LRP was working towards wrapping up the year, I got a call from Ronald Kiirya – a Youth Leader and direct beneficiary of the exposure visit. He told me the Youth needed space to discuss and formulate their plan for 2014. I was quite skeptical since, this was part of the bigger lot that I have been trying to coalesce towards something of relevance – anything. Ok. If its office space you need, office space you have got. Two days later, 14 Youth converged at the Local Rights Programme office. I offered them space and sat back. The essence was to have the Youth plan on their own.

This was one part of a four-pronged action plan whereby they had very clear cut issues to plan for. These were; Income Generating Activities, Civic Education and Talent Search and Development all of which will be with key relevance that is aligned to the Actionaid theme programmes. To promote ownership and understanding by the youths, I maintained my passive presence to allow lead themselves. The processes started off a bit volatile but with time, they all got the jist of the process. The approach taken was to carry out all activities at Parish level. Three hours later, they had a work plan, endorsed and adopted it. Coupling to this, they confirmed that they will engage the LRP partners on matters of integrating their work plan and those of the partners. Definitely, their differences have brought them together and from today, the LRP will lead from behind.



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