Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives

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Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives

The “Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives” is an initiative of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung to enhance youth participation in governance and policy formulation in Uganda. The Think Tank is a group of 20 highly qualified and committed young Ugandans who interact and work together on a regular basis in order to analyse policy issues and develop policy alternatives from the perspective of the young generation. The group members lead by example in the promotion of issue-based and constructive dialogue and debate, adhering to the guiding principles of tolerance and objectivity.

The Think Tank consists of a carefully selected cohort of motivated young professionals who are passionate about policy discourses. Visit the Think-Tank's Website here.


1/12/2015 - Roundtable discussion on agriculture policy paper held
On 1st December, the think tank held a roundtable discussion with experts to discuss plausible recommendations for enhancing meaningful youth participation in agriculture. The insights gained will inform the finalisation of the policy paper. more

28/09/2015 - Residential Workshop on EAC Integration Concluded
From 25th to 27th September 2015, the Think Tank had its second residential workshop of 2015. The focus of the workshop was on Uganda's compliance with the Common Market Protocol in the area of free movement of labour. Analysed were relevant existing policies, the political will, as well as the legal framework. more

06/09/2015 - Residential Workshop on Youth Participation in Agriculture Concluded
From 4th to 6th September 2015, the Think Tank went on a two day residential workshop. Subject of the workshop was the Think Tank paper on youth employment in agriculture. Among the issues which were discussed were the social, economic, technological, and political challenges to meaningful youth participation in the agricultural sector. more

25/07/2015 - Workshop on the Progress of the Two Working Groups Took Place
The Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives convened a workshop on the progress of the two working groups - one on agriculture and one on EAC integration. While the group who works on EAC integration entered the phase of policy analysis as well as data collection with different qualitative and quantitative tools, the group that works on agriculture is still in the process of shaping the general direction of the paper. However, both groups presented major progress in comparison to the last meeting and the papers which will be developed in 2015 will certainly add a lot of value to the respective policy discourse.

25/04/2015 - Young Leaders Think Tank Review and Capacity Building Workshop concluded
During a workshop in April, the two working groups of the YLTTP presented their progress on studies on agriculture and EAC integration. While the working group on agriculture wants to focus on the question why young people in Uganda don't see agriculture as a serious employment possibility, the working group on EAC integration elaborates on freedom of labour within the EAC and the question in how far Uganda implemented this provision. more

05/03/2015 - Paper on HIV/AIDS Prevention published online
In 2014, one of the Think Tank's working groups has developed a paper on the engagement of youth in HIV/AIDS prevention. The paper provides a general background on HIV/AIDS in Uganda as well as a legal and policy analysis. Special emphasis is put on the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act, 2014. more

21/02/2015 - Young Leaders Think Tank Planning Workshop 2015 concluded
The members of the Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives held a workshop with the purpose of planning activities and improving work procedures for the year 2015. Furthermore, five new members were introduced to the Think Tank. In 2015 the Think Tank is going to jointly work on the policy areas of agriculture and EAC integration. Additionally, a publication of collected articles on extractive industries in Uganda is targeted. more

01/12/2014 - Electoral Reforms Policy Recommendations
In 2014, the Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives worked on policy recommendations concerning electoral reforms. Since the subject is heatedly discsussed within civil society and the political sphere, the publication is not only timely, but was also used to advocate for the Think Tank's recommendations within different fora. more

02/11/2014 - Workshop on Electoral Reforms Concluded
The Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives develops a paper on electoral reform, an issue that is heatedly discussed in the Ugandan media, civil society, and political arena. more

26-28/09/2014 - Workshop: Development of Policy Recommendations on HIV/AIDS
The Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives was having a residential workshop in which an alternative policy on HIV/AIDS for Uganda is supposed to be developed. more

26/09/2012 - Education Policy Recommendations
The Young Leaders Think TAnk for Policy Alternatives has presented policy recommendations to improve the Ugandan education system. In a public dialogue at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala, the members of the Think Tank discussed their analysis of the problems in the education sector and their recommendations with experts and the interested public. more

21/12/2011 - Employment Policy Paper Published
Under the title "Employment Policies for Uganda: Young Leaders' Perspectives", the Think Tank has published a paper on employment policies with particular focus on the challenge of youth unemployment. The paper analyses the given context, legal framework and existing policies and outlines the policy recommendations from the perspective of the young generation. more

21/11/2011 - Review and Planning Workshop Concluded
The members of the Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives have held a review and planning workshop at Country Lake Resort, Garuga. The workshop included a review of the activities held in 2011, the adoption of a workplan for 2012 as well as the development of a lobbying and communication strategy. Having succesfully concluded the first year, the focus was on how to strengthen the team spirit of the group and fine tune profile and vision of the Think Tank for future activities. Helena Okiring was elected as Spokesperson of the Think Tank.

05/10/2011 - Employment Policies for Uganda: Young Leaders' Perspectives
In their first public dialogue the members of the "Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives" have presented their policy recommendations in order to address the challenges of youth unemployment in Uganda. Around 100 guests attended the event and contributed to a lively debate. more

08/08/2011 - Think Tank Members Meet Deputy Speaker of Parliament
Members of the KAS supported Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives have held a meeting with the Deputy Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah. They presented to him several policy alternatives for promoting youth employment in Uganda. more

18/06/2011 - "Challenges of Youth (Un-)Employment in Uganda" - Meeting and Interaction with former German President Prof. Köhler
The members of the Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives have met with Prof. Dr. Horst Köhler, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany and former Head of the IMF, during their fourth meeting on 18th June at Protea Hotel. The topic of the meeting was "Challenges of Youth (Un-)Employment in Uganda".

As an input for the discussion, Hope Kyarisiima presented a draft paper that had been elaborated by a working group on the topic of employment. She pointed out 12 concrete policy recommendations, which include among others the promotion of internships and job creation through tax incentives for companies, the set up of a government employment agency, entrepreneurship trainings, a reform of the education system, promotion of higher vocational training and the compilation of a comprehensive baseline study on employment in Uganda.

Prof. Dr. Köhler commended the Think Tank members for the in-depth analysis of the topic and for the very well elaborated recommendations. He encouraged the members to go ahead and share these recommendations with the relevant policy-makers and major stakeholders. “There is nothing in those recommendations that I don’t fully agree with”, Köhler stated. He also emphasized the importance of the topic of employment since according to him “the most important element of social security is to have a job”.

The former German President commended the Think Tank members for their active involvement in society and for their analytical and rhetorical skills. He noted that it was of utmost importance that young people take an interest in political matters. “You are already in the process of looking at the policies in your country”, he told the group, “but it is important that you also get actively involved in political processes”. After a very fruitful and open interaction with the Think Tank members Köhler closed by saying that he sees “great potential for Uganda and Africa because of young people like you”.

28/05/2011 - Health Policy in Uganda
The third meeting of the Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives focused on the topic of health. During a one-day workshop, the members of the Think Tank discussed existing health policies in Uganda and alternative options and recommendations. A working group on health policies provided an in-depth analysis which formed the basis for the discussion and group work. The working group is currently finalizing a policy paper based on the results of the workshop.

09/04/2011 - Introduction to Policy Analysis
The members of the KAS-initiated "Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives" were introduced to the basics of policy analysis by Prof. Yasin Olum during their second meeting. The training formed a basis for the future work of the Think Tank focussing on the analysis of existing policies and formulation of alternative policy recommendations from the perspective of the young generation.

12/02/2011 - First meeting of the newly founded Think Tank
During the inaugural meeting of the Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives its members started to get to know each other and to plan their way forward. By discussing the concept an agreement on particular topics and working groups could be reached. Further meetings will be held every two months.


Given its current demographics, Uganda is an extremely young country in international comparison and with the high birth rate in the country the population will continue to grow significantly, and young people will make up a growing percentage of the Ugandan population. This development comes with a number of chances and challenges, and whether the chances will be exploited and the challenges be managed well depends heavily on the willingness and ability of political actors to ensure the successful involvement of the growing number of young people in the process of national development and in decision-making. In order to avert negative developments, future policies have to be designed in a way that they ensure sustainability and inter-generational justice.
Currently, the situation concerning the representation of the youth and the reflection of their interests in political decision-making is far from satisfactory. Despite a lot of promising and encouraging rhetoric - particularly in times of campaigning - the practical involvement of the youth is rather low and the political arena continues to be dominated by older generations. The interests of the younger (and coming) generations are often not adequately reflected in decision-making and in the design of important policies. Many young people are therefore frustrated about politics in the country or simply not interested at all. A large part of the bulge of young adults in the country is lacking perspectives and, for instance, employment opportunities - often despite good education.
At the same time, political debates are often characterised by focus on personalities, party competition, tactical and other considerations, instead of focussing on substantial issues and programmatic alternatives. Many discussions about policy choices are dominated by a purely confrontational, not constructive interaction between political actors. Furthermore, political parties and other groups and organisations in society are widely failing to clearly articulate the interests of the population (particularly the young generation) and to formulate alternative policies.


By forming the “Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives” the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) intends to bring together qualified and committed young people to address these challenges and to meet on a regular basis to discuss policy issues in a focussed and constructive manner from the perspective of the young generation. Thus, the “Young Leaders Think Tank for Policy Alternatives” aims at:

- Providing a platform for young leaders to discuss policy matters in a constructive and non-partisan manner.

- Enabling young leaders to develop and formulate alternative policy suggestions reflecting the interests and concerns of young Ugandans.

- Giving a voice to the young generation by publishing position papers and organising public dialogues.

- Strengthening the skills of young leaders in analysing and debating policy issues and formulating and presenting positions.

- Encouraging young multipliers to lead by example in focussed, issue-related and constructive political interaction and debating.

Format and Activities:

The Think Tank brings together a number of around 20 young leaders from politics, civil society, media and academia who will meet on a regular basis. Each meeting shall be dedicated to a specific policy area and will be hosted by the organisers from KAS and prepared by a selected group of 4-5 Think Tank members. The latter will be responsible for organising the meeting in cooperation with KAS staff, set the agenda and prepare the topic for discussion. They will provide an input presentation that summarises the status quo in the given policy area and includes a first assessment from the perspective of the young generation by identifying challenges and potential for improvement. The presentation will provide the basis for an open and results-oriented discussion that shall ultimately lead to the development of a position paper. The finalisation of the paper, which shall be published online and circulated through existing networks, will again be coordinated by selected members of the Think Tank. In addition to the Think Tank meetings, public dialogues will be organised twice a year in order to reach out to a wider audience and to discuss pertinent policy issues and the related concerns of young leaders with other major stakeholders.


The members of the Think Tank are between 18 and 35 years of age and are drawn from the following category of people:

- Highly qualified students (e.g. KAS scholarship holders) and student leaders (e.g. Guild presidents or ministers)

- Young leaders and activists from civil society

- Representatives of youth organisations

- Young and qualified journalists

- Young leaders and activists from political parties