THE YOUTHS DREAM PROGRAM
The Youths Dream Program is an initiative of Uganda Vision Resource Centre in partnership with various development partners aimed at empowering youths for self sustenance and development.
We envision the empowerment of the youth to identify their potentials, mobilize and utilize the available resources for integral development.
The mission is reaching out to all the youths to realize and attain an economically, politically and socially empowered, competent and creative community for integral development.
The Youths Dream Program strives at creating a meaningful platform for youths especially those in school to shape their future and to take part in championing integral development in the region. We believe that when youth develop, the community also develops and together we develop.
The Youths Dream Program seeks to explain the changing dynamics of youth misery hence, our theme is ‘Building a Better World: Partnering with Youth”
Research shows that Uganda has the largest young population in the world. 78% of Uganda’s population is youth below 30 yrs. 83% of these are unemployed. 400,000 graduates are released from Uganda’s institutions every year to compete for only 9000 jobs. This means that for every 1(one) job advertised, an average of 50 people will compete. Not only do we have unemployment, but also over 65% of the unemployed youth are also unemployable. The majority affected are girls.
As a result, majority youth engage in gambling in trial to face the changing dynamics of youth misery in which they find solace in activities like Sports betting, taking sachet waragi, etc as a result of redundancy. They don’t only waste productive time and energy, but also the money they earn or given to them by their guardians for school fees. At the end of it all many have committed suicide while others disappear from school and homes to start a new life in cities where they engage in killer activities like commercial sex, where they will meet the world’s most dangerous challenges including diseases.
Also in schools, due to lack of self awareness, lack of self esteem, lack of clear understanding of one’s purpose, many students plan evil adventures like strikes against school leadership and end up destroying school property where some even lose their lives. In Uganda, we see University students engaged in city demonstrations most of the time under political influences. When students lack a clear understanding of their future and when they don’t understand where to put their energies, they can’t mark the actions that will contribute to their future and those actions that can ruin their lives. They become stubborn in schools, in homes and in society; they develop unbearable characters, they become abusive, violent and destructive hence causing a lot of discomfort in society for everyone around them.
The Youths Dream Program Intervention
There is a solution to all the above problems. It’s by inspiring a generation of young entrepreneurs and investors who look beyond just making a single bottom line return on investments. We need the youths who will be thinking of double, triple, quadruple bottom line returns. We need to think in terms of Educational return, a financial return, but we need to be thinking of a social return, an economic return, a spiritual return, and an environmental return.
“What youths want is not a hand out but a hand up that helps them really to have a sense of dignity and independence, to be able to put food on their table by themselves through their own effort—they all want to be able to do that; You know, that is a part of the human aspiration and God’s design for man, and we need to find ways of doing that; it is by organizing youths in their local settings and get them in networks and forums where knowledge sharing and empowerment is possible.
The Youths Dream Program is to support Uganda’s youths especially in-school youths to overcome the odds and to reach up to their full potential. The program is to target youths in secondary school, University and other institutions. Under the Youths Dream program strategy, Uganda Vision Resource Centre in partnership with other development partners will implement major program activities that are youths friendly.
We look forward to developing a System-Wide Action Plan (SWAP) on youth. In doing this, six thematic areas are highlighted: carrier planning, employment, entrepreneurship, political inclusion, citizenship and protection of rights, and education, including a wide deal on sexual and reproductive health concerns.
We shall provide extensive services and programs, including awareness, support groups, peer counseling, lending library, service coordination, independent living skills training, transition planning, home modifications, and community education and awareness.
Uganda Vision Resource Centre has planned to employ these interventions to achieve specific objectives that include to:
- Empower youths dispel fears, myths and misconceptions, foster positive attitudes and promote easier integration in all aspects of our community.
- Empower students into innovatively engaging in SMEs through creative and innovative entrepreneurial ventures.
- Serve the youths in a culturally sensitive and non discriminatory manner through the program
- Encompass services, programs, advocacy, and support for the youths– physical, emotional, social, learning, developmental, and sensory – visible and imperceptible.
- Encourage, counsel and support the youths in their pursuit of independent living, employment, education, benefits and recreation.
The Youths Dream Program under Uganda Vision Resource Centre will directly impact youths in Uganda to make a difference in their lives for years to come. The involvement of informed, concerned partners and various other stake holders will influence youths into being innovative and creative in staging an inspired strong fight against poverty and life challenges.
The Youths who participate in this program will be able to improve education and learning achievements, be able to reap from the entrepreneurial lessons offered, be able to answer most of the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) challenges, as well as inspire youths to become great thinkers and implementers so as to overcome youth unemployment and related challenges.
Therefore with the mentioned anticipated theme, all participants in this program such as the young people, youth leaders, public and private sector officers, and NGOs will make a call for action and structure experience on the youth’s issues. We look forward to seeing youths as a potential to be tapped and not a problem to be solved. The outcome will also enhance Youths’ contribution towards a better and sustainable future.
In all Youths programs of Uganda Vision Resource Centre, Internet Based Strategies are central. In Uganda today, over 80% of Youths have access to Internet either on computers or on mobile phones and other gadgets. This gives high chances of access and success to the youth’s programs that use Internet based strategies.
Under this strategy, Information is posted on Uganda Vision Resource Centre’s Website and shared to the youths on face book, twitter, what’s up, two, Pinterest, Foursquare, YouTube, Flicker and other forums. We are living in a fast paced, technology advanced world; and when a youth is trying to find information about anything, the first place they will look is the internet.
Social media marketing (SMM) is a growing phenomenon especially amongst young people. There are many channels in SMM, from Face book and Bebo through to Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare, YouTube and Flicker, all of which are easy to integrate into a website; they also provide a great grounding for marketing.
In this particular program, Youth’s empowerment messages are packaged on selected themes and objectives and will be communicated to the youths through our website by sharing it on face book and other forums. The youths who access this information will read it and answer a set of questions which will lead them to winning gifts and praises.
Various development partners such as NGOs, Government departments, business community, religious institutions and individuals who want to support youth will facilitate the program by providing information, setting question and offering gifts and praises for the winners.
Used on a daily basis, Students use SMM as a simple way to both communicate with friends and to connect and research into their interests. The Youths who participate in reading information in this site will be motivated by winning gifts offered by various companies who have passion for the youths. Gifts like school fees, materials, exchange visits and selecting good examples/performers and their leaders to participate in the national youths forums.
This concept focuses on mobilizing, equipping, and training (MET) youths set their dreams, to come up with development ideas that will increase their success, earning power, participation in their community development and increase their self worth.
Through strategic partnerships with government and a vast array of partners, the Youths Dream program reach and effectiveness will be multiplied. All program activities emphasize School mobilization towards effective social change and capacity building to reach the project goal.
Other strategies used by Uganda Vision Resource Centre to reach out to the youths with include, media (both print and press). This is reinforced with conferences and camps during which lectures, discussions, drama, spots, skits and storytelling are used. In this particular strategy, Youth’s empowerment messages are packaged on selected themes and objectives and will be communicated to the youths through various radio stations and papers within in the country.
The different themes are presented on the radio and later discussed in the school and community clubs, conferences, camps, meetings and seminars being modulated by experienced staffs who work with the youths. At the end of every discussion hand outs/brochures are distributed to reinforce the messages.
In addition to various empowerment strategies, youths will be motivated through capacity building trainings in areas of Leadership, entrepreneurship, Management and development, project planning and management, conflict resolution and peace building, counseling and guidance and other economic rerated thematic areas.