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The conference offers a solemn occasion at which young leaders from divergent political ideologies will engage a similarly heterogeneous panel of senior statesmen and stateswomen in discussing Uganda’s future after 50 years of independence.
Inspired by the need to provide effective channels for improved and meaningful youth participation in Uganda’s political and development processes, the leaders of the youth leagues of seven political parties decided to establish the Inter Party Youth Platform (IYOP). In essence, IYOP is a cooperation framework of the youth leagues of seven major political parties in Uganda, namely: Conservative Party (CP), Democratic Party (DP), Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Justice Forum (JEEMA), National Resistance Movement (NRM), People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC).
The activities of IYOP are aimed at strengthening leadership capacities for the youth and advancing their influence on the social, political and economic frameworks of Uganda. Furthermore, IYOP serves its membership as a forum through which young people network and engage on critical topics of development including democracy and governance, trade, climate change, energy, and peace and security.
The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) has been at the forefront of supporting the establishment of the Interparty Youth Platform. KAS is a German Political Foundation engaged in the worldwide promotion of democracy, human rights as well as a dialogue on economic and environmental policies. It has been active in Uganda for over 30 years, undertaking programmes and activities in cooperation with indigenous civil society organisations, government departments, elected leaders and the academia.
The Youth Conference on 50 Years of Independence
2012 marks 50 years since Uganda attained independence on October 9th 1962. The golden jubilee celebrations present an opportunity for reflection on the gains and the challenges Uganda has registered under self rule. Most important however, it is the optimal occasion at which the aspirations of Ugandans can be redefined and their commitments towards development and democratic self-governance renewed. It is on this premise that the youth leaders’ conference is being held – to offer an opportunity for young political leaders to reflect on the 50 years of independence with a focus on defining their aspirations and commitments for the future. The outcomes of this conference will be handy in guiding future interventions by IYOP, its partners and other stakeholders with interest in supporting the realisation of young people’s aspirations in Uganda’s development process.
KAS and IYOP recognise the centrality of the youth to development particularly in Uganda where over 78% of the population are young people below the age of 35. Given such statistics, it is of crucial importance that opportunities exist for the youth to maximally and meaningful contribute towards defining the national development direction - be it in politics or in the socioeconomic structures. Moreover, for the case of Uganda, it is the young people that are most affected by existing challenges such as unemployment, poverty, conflict and the gaps in service sectors. It is therefore justified and necessary, that as Uganda marks 50 years of independence, the youth take the occasion to share their aspirations for the future and at the same time declare their commitments towards contributing to national development. Summarily, the objectives of the conference are:
-to present an occasion for reflection on the 50 years of independence and stocktaking of the contributions, gains and challenges faced by the youth
-to discuss (with a vision of building consensus) the aspirations of young people regarding how their development needs can be addressed
-to present a platform at which young political leaders can share their commitments towards contributing to democratic consolidation and development as key to guaranteeing national hope - given that the youth are expected to take up mainstream leadership of the country for the future.
Format of the Conference
The conference format is guided by the objective of guaranteeing a space for young people to share ideas around the golden jubilee independence celebrations. A short (15 minutes) video featuring the voices of young people about 50 years of independence will be shown at the start of the conference. The purpose of the video is to highlight some of the salient issues of concern to the youth that may be addressed in the conference discussions.
The youth leaders from the seven political parties that subscribe to the IYOP framework will take centre stage at the conference. They shall kick-start the discussions with a jointly delivered keynote address touching the three conference objectives. This (keynote address) will be discussed by a panel of elders. These have been selected based on their contributions towards governance and development in Uganda over the last 50 years. Thus the conference format shall present an opportunity for sharing ideas and opinions between the politically active young generation and the elder statesmen and stateswomen as the architects of Uganda’s development and political history.
Guided by a moderator, an audience of 120 guests will take part in the discussions by making contributions on the themes of the conference or by asking questions to the youth leaders and the panellists. The programme will be concluded with interaction and networking.
Conference participants / target group
A heterogeneous conference audience is expected. Participants will include youth leaders from political parties, National Youth Council, parliament, universities and other student associations, and civil society. Senior political leaders, the media, academia, development partners, and representatives of civil society organisations, have been invited to be part of the conference.
The Conference Outcome
The discussions at the conference are to be compiled and published in a synthesis report. This is to be shared with a multiplicity of stakeholders from politics, public administration, civil society, academia, the media and interested public. The conference recommendations are especially expected to be useful in guiding future interventions it the area of strengthening young people’s participation in Uganda’s development process.