The much anticipated Youth Intergenerational Dialogue was received with much positive energy from the young people who manifested all forms of eagerness to be part of this event. The dialogue took place on the 17th August at Golden Tulip Canaan Hotel in Kampala and was themed, “Harnessing the Demographic Divide to enhance Youth Participation and Gender Equality’
By simply looking at the audience one could tell the variation in generation and this really brought out the inter-generational aspect. There were the youth of course and mainly female youth (55) and (25) males as well as the old.
This event aimed at creating the space for interaction between young people, particularly female youth and older generation that is necessary to build on their knowledge of governance and democracy, expose them to new ideas, debates and discussions on governance and leadership; Gender Based Violence, entrepreneurship as well as media & ICT.
“We appreciate that in Uganda, there is a category that will enhance the growth of this country and that is the youth. Therefore, I hope this dialogue will make a permanent mark in your life because together we can make this country one we love and would like to live in,” said Ms Regina Bafaki, Action For Development (ACFODE) Executive Director as she was giving her opening remarks.
Ms. Regina Bafaki, ACFODE Executive Director giving her opening remarks.
In close reference to ACFODE’s vision, A just society where Gender Equality is a reality, Ms Regina noted that gender equality is a journey that requires commitment and passion.
The event sought to create space for reflection, listening and exchange across generations. This was exhibited through the methods used for instance the key note address on:Youth participation in promotion of gender equality and Governance, Global and National Perspectives by Mr. Emmanuel Kitamirike, a Youth Activist.
Mr Emmanuel Kitamirike delivers his presentation
In his address, he challenged the youth to take advantage of their numbers, “There is an immense potential in numbers and beyond these numbers young people are innovative, enthusiastic and creative, more so in this country we have a robust and clear legal frame work for youth participation.”
Participation of youth (both female and male youths) in democracy and governance processes is institutionalised in legal and policy frameworks. The 1995 Constitution has enabling provisions that encourage equal participation of different citizen groups in leadership.
The 2014 National Housing and Population Census results indicate that the country’s population currently stands at 35 million and that 50% of this population is below 15 years of age.
Despite their numbers, and the enabling legal and policy environment the lives of young people in Uganda are marred by poverty, inadequate education and skills, exploitation, unemployment and low representation in positions of political leadership. The older generation therefore need to share their successes, challenges and the opportunities that exist for youth.
Bernard M from Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) noted, “I wonder whether the young people feel their own importance. We have put a lot of effort in initiatives that further the youth somewhere.”
This event was also characterized by a panel discussion that added the much needed color. During the discussion Dr Hilda Tadria, a founding member of ACFODE asked the audience what they were doing about the women movement. “With me, I am mentoring because I want to make sure that male privileges are also allowed to women.”
The panel discussion (L-R) Dr Hilda Tadria, Ms Penelope Sanyu, Mr Jacob Eyeru
It would be very unfair not to mention the conversation circles since they were an arena of total participation. The topics discussed were namely; Governance and Leadership; Gender Based Violence, Entrepreneurship as well as Media & ICT.
Some of the arising issues in these circles were; there is a need for gender equality and women movements through using the media as a whistle blower, youth participation is very scanty in areas of politics and democracy due to commercialization and sexual harassment, documentation of business in order to thrive among others.
The entrepreneurship circle engaging in a discussion
In his closing remarks Mr Mathias Kamp, KAS country representative acknowledged that the day was very useful and youthful at the same time since it brought together two important strings that KAS prides in; linking the empowerment of the youth and empowerment of women. He also called upon the youth to carry forward the discussions among their peers.
Mr Mathias Kamp, KAS country representative giving his remarks.
Public Relations & Communications Department