Current global, regional, national, and local trends present us with a lot of challenges. Many of these problems; say, poverty, unemployment, climate change, gender inequality, war, exploitation, disproportionately affect youth more than they do any other population. Unemployment is particularly a problem we should all be paying more attention to because it affects majority of Africa’s biggest resource – youth. Africa is home to the world’s youngest population with the median age being 19 years. Yet, the World Bank reports that youths (aged 15-24) account for 60% of all Africa’s jobless.
Uganda’s unemployment issue is not very different. The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) reports that unemployment is at 9% and underemployment at 27%, with 83% of the unemployed population being youth. Uganda defines the youth population as those ages 12-35 years of age. Re!gnite Africa believes that Africa’s growing unemployed population will lead to widespread hopelessness. A hopeless and disengaged citizenry will, in turn, add to the continent’s health, social, and environmental problems.
Research studies reveal that unemployed young people are vulnerable and easy target recruits to criminal and rebel groups and militias, political dirty games, and extremist networks and agendas. The root cause of all this; 1) mainly results from poor leadership, bad governance, and limited to no accountability at all levels, and 2) and a growing youth percentage of the population who are unskilled, hopeless and jobless due to various issues. These issues include;
- lack of OPPORTUNITY to act: young people have no accessibility/affordability/availability of opportunities
- Lack ABILITY to act: young people have no skills, control or confidence
- Lack MOTIVATION to act: young people are experiencing hopelessness, have given up and depend on handouts from leaders and those in positions of authority. They have no emotional push, no social pressure to act, and have no reminders to act (people are lazy/forgetful)
Despite the status quo, young people are not helpless or hopeless. They are active participants in shaping their destiny and the futures of their communities and nations. They should know where they are, identify their passions, skills and opportunities in their immediate environment and do something about it. Now – not tomorrow – is the time to stop looking at youth as beneficiaries but rather, as equal contributors that deserve the opportunity to learn, earn and be heard. Re!gnite Africa hopes to advance efforts to have youth at the table by creating more youth-led and youth-focused leadership, advocacy and professional development opportunities, in the form of mentorship and apprenticeship acquisition, to enable young people advance their critical thinking and problem solving skills to achieve their full potential for a socially aware and responsible citizenry.
A powerful and transformed generation of young people who are competent, productive, and actively engaged in contributing to social change in their communities.
To ensure that the younger generation has access to equal opportunities that enable them achieve their dreams, while transforming them into young leaders that advocate for better policies for their lives and that of their communities.
- 1) Be a leading life skilling & employment center: Provide 5000 young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds in the formal and informal sector with employment readiness knowledge, life skills, mentorship, and practical experience needed for the modern workplace in the next 5 years.
- 2) Nurture community youth leaders & advocates: Nurture and equip 2000 young leaders with leadership, and advocacy and social accountability skills to enable them become better advocates for better policies that affect their lives on issues such as employment, youth-friendly healthcare access, education, girls and women’s rights, better governance, etc in the next 5 years.
- 3) Platform to amplify youth voices and agency: Offer young adults with a platform to learn and share about issues that affect them in their communities about topical issues regarding employment, governance and youth well being using or through online and mass media platforms such as blogs, podcasts, and vlogs.
- 4) Youth partners convener and connector: Act as a strategic platform for partners working with/for young people to advance collective action on pertinent issues affecting this demographic in issues of employment readiness, leadership, and local governance.