By Kampala Post Reporter
The Chief Executive Officer Shungura Foundation, Joan Kyokutamba has urged government to involve young people in designing and implementing policies, programs and services that are directed at them.
Kyokutamba made the call while addressing participants at the Public Health Youth Symposium organized by Public Health Ambassadors Uganda (PHAU) at Hotel Africana on Thursday.
Reflecting on the Youth Livelihood Fund (YLF), Kyokutamba said the project needs to be revised to incorporate youth program officers short of which it will not achieve its intended goals.
“Youth involvement helps ensure that policy actions are relevant and also helps develop youth as partners and leaders in development. It is important that youth are viewed as assets and active agents of change, who can contribute their thoughts to the country’s development,” Kyokutamba said.
Acknowledging the importance of engaging youth in shaping the country’s future, Kyokutamba noted that there is also need to involve the private sector in key unemployment interventions.
“By considering ways to translate the potential and enthusiasm of the young generation into assets for positive advancement and development, then Uganda will be on a steady roadmap to achieving the 2040 vision,” Kyokutamba added.
In his address, Richard Ssempala, a Health Economist at Makerere School of Public Health described the symposium as “a unique and timely initiative”. “This symposium brings unique values because we won’t only discuss the problems affecting the youth but also reflect together on solutions coming from young people who represent a big part of the society,” Ssempala said.
Hope Nzeire, the Senior National Program Officer National Population council said that sustainable development and economic growth as a promise of a demographic dividend can only be achieved by implementing new, forward-looking strategies that promote youth engagement, inclusion and representation socially, economically and politically.
“For a demographic dividend to occur, a window of opportunity created by reductions in infant mortality and sustainable fertility rates through enhanced use of contraception directly translates into a demographic shift to fewer dependents that can be comfortably taken care of by the working age population. This way we can get to reverse the pyramid shape of our population with more productivity that will turn around the fortunes of our economy as a country,” she noted.
The symposium, organized under the theme “Working Towards Sustainable Development: Harnessing the Demographic Dividend Through Investing in Uganda’s Youth”, brought together public health professionals, researchers, advocates and young people