Reflections from High-Level Breakfast Roundtable Partners Meeting of @WarChildUK @RestlessDevelopment @EntUganda & @YouthBizInt, Sheraton Hotel, Uganda #Case4Space


After spending a night in a noisy hotel (they had asked me whether I wanted whole night or ‘brief’- If you know what I mean), I finally found my way to Sheraton Hotel on a boda boda…WITHOUT A HELMET! The scariest ride of my life since 2007. See, I’d unintentionally forgotten my personal helmet in the bus. I hope, I will still find it there, Dear Black Jesus  :O

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The major objective of this meeting was for partners spearheading youth participation, livelihoods and protection to get acquainted with our now famous #Case4Space Research Project:- An evidence, innovative, young people led call for creating an enabling environment for youth locally, nationally and internationally: See

I was taken aback by the timekeeping of all the partners. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I entered the room, which was already at full capacity by 7:30am! For me, this reflects quality and interest of partners to improve the quality of children and young people’s lives:-But, as young people, we could do more…

On the #Case4Space Research findings on Livelihoods……

Finding  1:
Young entrepreneurs start businesses not just to create employment – but also to express civic values

Entreprise Uganda’s Director read my celebrum when he mentioned ‘…young people  shouldn’t wait until they have the academic transcripts to begin volunteering, interning or seeking for other platforms for participation’. If you ask me, every institution should have space for young people to do paid onjob internship. Afew days ago, I was talking to my students of public health, not to come and finish the course only with a degree and later ‘start looking for jobs’:-but rather looking at platforms to put themselves to action. But again, not many institutions have an organised way of getting young people to do something with them ‘without exploitation’ as emphasised by Aneet from War Child UK.

Finding 2:
Long-term employability, entrepreneurship & practical skills learning should be promoted, inline with formal & informal education

There has been a generally held wrong assumption that young people are the same and that they have the same challenges:-Consequently, the approaches have not been tailored to the needs and challenges of young people: This one key-opens-all approach has seen alotta interventions focus on young people (in my words) ‘Slightly above the poverty line’. These are the ones you will find in Urban settings, with a ‘good education’ and holding an i-phone 7. Most often, we have forgotten those who don’t speak nothing or much English, live with disabilities and live in the toughest of the villages: The SDGs are here, how is civil society sitting to catch  data on and by children and young people? Too many questions, less concrete responses

Finding 3:
Livelihoods support for young people is improved when a wider range of stakeholders are involved.

When I told the then Dean of Students at Ntare School in 2003 that I wanted to study Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Agriculture instead of Mathematics, he looked me in the eye and said, “Young man, you don’t know what you want. You want to be a Doctor or an Engineer of Maize?”. They turned me down and instead gave me History, Economics, Geography and Divinity because I had distinctions in these subjects, and I could henceforth make a great Lawyer. My dad (read old man) jogged to St. Mary’s College Kisubi and they offered me a vacancy but to study Mathematics, Economics, Geography and Divinity, arguing that I had the potential to score perfect As in these subjects. Finally, we settled for Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Agriculture at Valley College, but that was also largely because my Uncle (RIP) had ties with the Director.

Anyways, this attitude of Schools dictating subjects kids have to study is a PIA (Pin-In-Arse) for young people. I do know of colleagues whose families dictated on the subjects they could study:-all positively skewing towards ‘White Collar Jobs’. If we are really serious making and sustaining a difference, without being EPs(Enemies of Progress, as my Tswana friend would say) we need to holistically embrace views of young people (as individuals), families, police, judiciary, religious & cultural leaders,  and other public and private partners.

On meaning of and measuring success of entrepreneurship…

A delegate from Sri Lanka got me thinking again when he commented on ‘defining success’. It seems everyone thinks rearing pigs, starting a fish farm is entrepreneurship! Is it? Nope, even someone who has studied public health or psychology can become an entrepreneur in their field. Embedded in the more sexy word, ‘Innovation’, for me, entrepreneurship actually involves Planning, Starting, Selling, Getting profits, sustaining the business and above all, inspiring your immediate surroundings to act more. But perhaps, this needs to be taught as a compulsory course unit in all levels of education instead of yelling patriotism…which is important too, to say the least. LOL

In a tail,

The top 3 findings are all socio-economic in nature (56.8%)…and love it or hate it, we need to get donors, civil sector, government, cows, goats, dog… name it, begin putting in place less bureaucratic strategies for long term funding of children and youth livelihoods. Meanwhile, as this happens, young people may have to be more proactive, grab the tail and udder of a leopard…and DO SOMETHING with WHAT they can land on. But this can’t just happen, they need to CHANGE their ATTITUDES to +ve. 🙂

😛

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