Government Should Work with Youth to Meet their Needs
By Kibuuka Peter
The outbreak of coronavirus and subsequent lockdown has negatively affected my economic wellbeing to a great extent that I have lost some career related opportunities. As a recent graduate of 2019, I had great ambition of starting a career with my studies and immediately started looking for career related opportunities in various organizations, fortunately by start of the year 2020 I had secured a paid internship opportunity in a certain organization which was paying me a good stipend for starters and this was enough to pay my basic needs as I gained experience and skills. Unfortunately, I lost the opportunity when the coronavirus was declared a pandemic and a subsequent lockdown ensued in Uganda by the end of March 2020. It is during this period when terms like essential workers and non-essential workers were reignited in employment. I think the organization I worked for considered my role as non-essential. Additionally, measures such as closure of public transport, social and physical distancing introduced by government and implemented to curtail the spread of the disease complicated my life more because my life was confined to one place with no travelling or job opportunities.
This coronavirus pandemic will always be memorable to me because it is also during this pandemic and lockdown where I have lost various job interview opportunities. As a determined career seeking graduate, I had put applications in various organization and four (4) of my applications shortlisted and interviews were scheduled in months of March and April 2020. Unfortunately, all the interviews were stopped due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and subsequent lockdown.
On the other hand, the outbreak of the pandemic and lockdown has been transformed my life in the way that it has opened up my brains not only to focus on being employed but to think critically beyond being employed but self-employed because in such cases self-employed people are more likely to continue surviving on their business when the pandemic and lockdown end, unlikely other people who are employed by organizations whose employability is determined by their employers. In case someone is employed on contract basis, the employer may decide to renew or end the contract as it has been seen among various organizations during this pandemic and imposed lockdown. It has also reminded me to start saving however little money could be but saved and be used for a long term investment.
However, the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has also positively impacted on my life in such a way that my day today life will never be the same. I was able to study and complete various online courses which I have enriched my knowledge and skills, and I believe will positively impact on my academic professional. Additionally, I have come to realize that saving for rainy days is MUST not an option.
Recommendation to government and leaders;
Governments should work collaboratively with youth leaders representing various social groups to support them financially to come up with various income generating activities. Enhancing access to financial resources where the youth can seek financial support to facilitate their income generating activities, however these should be closely monitored for effectiveness.
Governments and leaders should ensure the provision of capacity development and technical cooperation services to support the development and implementation of income generating activities started up by Youth, particularly in the age of COVID-19.
Governments and other leaders should disseminate WHO, MOH and other guidance on individual and collective measures to counter the pandemic. Measures must be taken to reach youth in various communities that have limited access to the Internet and social media. And this can supportively guide the youth while conducting various activities.