By Lydia Alyecho
A total of 1500 youths are set to gain governance and accountability training skills thanks to a new Skills for Governance program, to be implemented through funding from, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The no-cost program, run by the Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU), operating in 15 districts of Kapchorwa, Kampala, Amudat, Kween, Kotido, Gulu, Bukwo, Tororo, Kaberamaido, Kitgum, Kasese, Arua, and Kyegegwa, targets youths councils, groups, and young people who have completed primary seven or ordinary – level with a basic understanding of governance and accountability in their communities.
The young people and youths in the selected 15 districts will spend nine weeks gaining knowledge and skills on how to advocate for budget inclusion, increment, and proper accountability at all local government and national levels. They will also receive training in financial literacy, anger management, CV and business proposal writing, communication skills, and how to live safe and productive lives, as well as dealing with sexual harassment at the workplace.
Quraish Matovu, RHU Gender, and Youth Manager believe that the UNFPA – RHU project targeting youths will empower them to tap into the huge budget planning, implementation, and accountability processes within their districts. Matovu, adds The youths will gain budget planning, cost-benefit analysis, and prioritizing budget items skills with emphasis on how to keep themselves braced with budgeting activities in the local governments.
” empowering, organizing, capacity-building, and partnering with young people can contribute to good governance and improved accountability of local governments. To this end, governments, donors, and NGOs have supported a variety of interventions that encourage youth participation both formally and informally. The extent to which these interventions will improve the outcomes of young people, or of government accountability, is, however, open to question, “Matovu said.
Despite this uncertainty, a consensus has emerged that increasing youth participation in government accountability mechanisms has both instrumental and intrinsic value and can result in positive outcomes for young people and society in general.
Faith Chepkurui, Kapchorwa district speaker, and Female youth Councilor believe that empowering young people in budgeting processes will help them get informed about what is done and how much finances are available.
“In some districts, less than one million shillings is budgeted for young peoples activities these include sports, health, education and livelihood programs which are not enough to carry out with such small budgets,” Chepkurui said.
Chepkurui, is of the view that with the knowledge of the budgets available, youths can push for the implementation of what supports their lives to avoid teenage pregnancies, fight genital mutilation, and other forms of gender violence in communities.
“We as youths need empowerment to make informed decisions before we engage our leaders at all levels, this will benefit us in influencing our leaders to pass policies, laws that are accommodative to youth activities,” Chepkurui said.
The initiative is funded by the United Nations Population Find and implemented by Reproductive Health Uganda.
Roselline Achola, UNFPA Program Analyst for FP/RHCS says the youths in the private and public sectors of Uganda, given good data collection, analysis and reporting can find solutions to the challenges facing access and delivery. These may include poor budget planning, implementation, and accountability.
“as partners are trying to scale up empowering young people with governance, budgeting, and accountability skills in Uganda. This also involves evaluation of family planning and reproductive health services which is a great step to take to have family planning services by young people themselves,” Achola said.
In most cases according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics report 20202, rural communities in Uganda have low levels of gender inequality, which results from less knowledge about budgets, accountability, and implementation.
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