Event Reports

Training Workshop for Young Debaters

Kampala Training Kicks Off Regional Youth Debate Initiatives

In a bid to foster spaces for constructive engagement of young women and men in political discourses, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and University Forum on Governance (UNIFOG) have launched a youth debates initiative. The platform presents a cross-ideological forum for debating challenges to youth political participation and generating solutions.

The training workshop held from 18th to 20th September 2015 in Kampala precedes a series of debates to be hosted country-wide in each of the four regions of Uganda. It brought together 23 youth and student leaders and supported them to gain deeper analytical, presentation, and argumentation skills. Special focus was paid to interrogating Uganda’s youth political participation challenge and attempting to suggest solutions to the problem.

Participants concurred that while Uganda denotes an elaborate institutional and organisational framework for youth participation the impact of young people on the policy landscape remains decimal. Thus, public policies have unsatisfactorily responded to the daunting challenges faced by youth including unemployment and constrained access to social services such as education and health.

In a trial debate that summarised the training event two lines of argumentation to explain ineffective youth political engagement were advanced. While a section of participants supported the view that weak political engagement is accounted for by ineffective organisations, others attributed the challenge to institutional limitations. To the former, existing youth organisations are too weak to coordinate and promote a promising youth agenda, while to the latter existing formal and informal rules blended by their selective application disadvantages young people in several ways.

At the broader level, the need to build cohesive socially rooted youth organisations to challenge unfair power distribution arrangements and achieve structural change was recommended.

In the following weeks, KAS and UNIFOG will traverse the country to hold regional debates under the following schedule:

Monday, October 5th — Jinja, Civil Service Staff College

Thursday, October 15th — Makerere University in Central Uganda

Tuesday, October 27th — Gulu University in Northern Uganda

Friday, November 13th — Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Western Uganda

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