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Provisional results from the recently concluded Population and Housing Census puts Uganda’s population at 34.9 million people with children and youth alone accounting for over 78% of the population, which in essence make the country one of the youngest (population wise) in the world. This population trend has proved significant over the previous two election periods with youth accounting for over 21 percent (close to 7 million) of the population (Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBoS) 2012) of those eligible to vote. Youth participation in elections has significantly spiced and enriched the democratic/electoral processes of this country as youth usually engage with energy, enthusiasm and optimism. The so-called “youth bulge” presents opportunities for Uganda to maximize her youth capital in pursuing her social and economic development goals. On the other hand, failing to prepare our future generation of citizens – as politicians, workers, businesspersons, parents, and community leaders – could have serious costs on the government. Equally aware that not meeting young people’s expectations to have gainful employment or to be able to participate in political decision-making processes may have the danger of fostering social discontent. Therefore, societies today have to tap into the enormous potential of young people so that they can positively contribute to efforts in poverty reduction and socio-economic growth by harnessing the youths’ dynamism and idealism. This will allow the youth to participate fully in society, now and especially in the future, their values and skills will be aligned to Uganda’s Vision 2040 they will contribute to the socio-economic development of the country in a way that is culturally sensitive, politically inclusive, and environmentally caring.
The National Youth Council and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung being the lead organizations in developing Uganda’s leadership credentials have a critical role in ensuring that Uganda’s youth are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that prepare them to become leaders of the next generations. Therefore, the two organisations hold a “Regional Youth Leadership Forum” which aims at providing a regional platform for youth representatives from the Northern Region to build their leadership skills and strengthen their capacity to contribute to Uganda today and in the future. By bringing these youth leaders together, we create a platform for them to share challenges they have faced and the solutions they have come up with and the problem solving skills they have used. The meeting we will create a foundation for addressing the challenges that Uganda as a country faces concerning youth leadership and for the promotion of young people’s skills and capacities to participate actively in democratic practices, including in local, regional and national, electoral processes.
Moreover, this training will enable District Youth Councilors to better prepare and engage young people in their districts in the upcoming election process and empower them to be an active part in the political process of Uganda.