I am one of the youth delegates that are representing Uganda at the 9th commonwealth youth meeting in Kampala. As a delegate at this meeting that is going to spend the whole week I think I need to put my views to the whole commonwealth not only my country Uganda since we live in a global world. The conference is under the theme Resourcing and Financing Youth Development: Empowering Young People.
As everyone knows Young people, regardless of their socioeconomic, demographic or geographical situations, face some degree of difficulty or uncertainty as they transition to adulthood. Youth have great challenges for they are disconnected from viable pathways to prosperity, because of the high rates of unemployment Caused by lack of skills, low quality education, high corruption rates, lack of marketable skills , social exclusion, nepotism and early pregnancies for the girl child that have ravaged the world hence finding the youth in economic deserts.
The results that come out of the above impediments include high crime rates (petty theft sexual abuse etc), gambling and in some instances extremism like terrorism is as a result of these exclusions. In these economic deserts Youth often remain there because of lack of financing and often excluded from access to formal financial services. Reasons include legal restrictions, high transaction costs and negative stereotypes about youth.
This has excluded young people from participating fully in their societies and their economies both socially economically and politically yet they make a high portion of the populations and citizenry in the world (Including commonwealth youths/countries). The most important consequences of youth unemployment extend beyond the impact of temporary labour market fluctuations. The experience leaves a permanent imprint on both individual life outcomes and on national development trajectories.
High rates of youth unemployment also represent a wasted resource for developing economies. Poor youth labour market participation limits the inputs available for urgently needed growth and makes it harder for developing countries to realize the benefits of labour-intensive growth strategies. It’s clearly known that the consequences of this effect has been worthlessness and the drift into anti-social behaviour and crime which has resulted in the public continuously stigmatizing the youths and hence the youths feeling that they are minority group which they are not for they have high numbers This leads to what I call a “majority with a minority mentality.”
However with these challenges there can’t be anyway how the world can develop without taping into the youth resource for they have enormous potential which brings us to the theme of the conference i.e. Resourcing and Financing Youth Development: Empowering Young People. For its only resourcing and financing youth development that the world can move on smoothly for the majority of its people would be empowered and integrated in both the national and global agenda.
The first step to solving youth problems which to me are caused by the current high rates of unemployment and therefore lack of livelihood, we simply have to agree that traditional job for life career paths are scarce and therefore new strategies have to look at to solve this huge problem.
The youth like any other group of people must be consulted when making decisions that affect them which requires youth to mobilise through National Youth Councils, Youth Leaders and youth-led organisations to advocate for the implementation or enforcement of national legislation, action plans and policies that enable youth to have good working conditions with government interventions to help them with the means of production these can include, regulatory frameworks and inclusive policies that are both youth friendly and are protective of youth rights in the job market and increasing youth financial inclusion.
Should the youth via lobbying achieve some sort of financial inclusion, then skilling them with entrepreneurial education will be the next step to help youth develop new skills that can be applied to other challenges in life. Non-cognitive skills, such as opportunity recognition, innovation, critical thinking, resilience, decision making, teamwork, and leadership will benefit all youth whether or not they intend to become or continue as entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship would provide an additional way of integrating youth into today’s changing labour markets and improving their economic independence. (For millennial entrepreneurs may be more responsive to new economic opportunities and trends than the old folks) This would provide, self-employment provides income, self-reliance and a dynamic path for growth and the development of human capital.
There should be identification of young people who have smart and achievable ideas to design enterprise projects that will make a social and environmental difference. For example here is a problem yet an advantage that can be used in this particular time where we need the young people who are still versatile and flexible to lead the world and therefore innovations that are spearheaded by the youth could include youth-led climate-smart agriculture, low carbon and social enterprises which when the youth are aligned with expertise, skills, innovation and competence towards low-carbon and ‘green’ economies in agricultural transformation, climate change mitigation and adaptation and development can be of great importance in reducing food insecurity and destruction of the earth, this will lead to economies and agricultural communities based on equitable, resilient and vibrant economic systems . This can be achieved if only there is resourcing and financing of the youth that are engaged in agriculture to improve on their mechanisms and tools.
Young people have more advantages and opportunities that when they are financed and skilled they have a likelihood of uniquely using communication channels that are not easily used by old school workers with the coming of developed ICTs. Harnessing the power of ICT, media and innovation to best utilise resources and enhance youth development and participation this technology permeates their social networking and their fluency with online video technology, blogs, podcasts, and collaborative software makes it easy for them to integrate these productivity-enhancers into their work and as companies seek to more proactively manage their reputation in online media, they can find value in making themselves an attractive and challenging place for Millennials to work.
Sport cannot exist and develop without financial resources. Often, the office holders of national athletics federations do not feel they have the capability or the experience to solicit the funds which their organisation requires. They would rather be spending money on developing athletics than raising significant sums on a regular basis. However, the task of generating revenue is vitally important and it must be given the priority and attention required for success since youths are the most engaged in this sector it’s important to fund these activities and identify the best talent leading to an empowered group of youth. This is required for other arts like music, comedy etc that employ young men and women.
We can talk about young people and being helped however the decisions to help the youth are on the political radar and therefore it’s important that youths are engaged in politics and take political decisions. Youth must be encouraged and trained to occupy civil spaces and form the active and most vibrant civil society for their voices to be heard. They should engage in governance for tomorrow the countries will be left to them and for today they have to have representation for their well being in a challenging environment and if they miss today tomorrow will be hard to get to.
In conclusion therefore I need to make it clear that its politics that determines who gets what and how, whether its use of ICTs, Entrepreneurship agriculture etc we must note that in resourcing and financing youth development governance is paramount which requires countries to put national youth services for their young people to learn more about their countries and be civically engaged in the development agenda of their countries and the world to have a holistic and sustainable world in the future to come.
Brian Atuheire Batenda
An Ethnobotanist, Farmer, Politician, Human rights activist And a climate change combatant. I am also a Co- Director at African Initiative on Food Security And Environment (AIFE)