Well, a number of times Africa has been regarded as a continent which has very brilliant ideas, with bounty underutilized resources of which youth are and should be among the resources.
Youth and all Ugandans need role models who will transform the mind and shape character towards making Uganda a nation not just the need for resources.
Often times we have been seen as people good at just talking or even arguing to our best rather than finding or reaching the real conclusion; as far as reaching out for practical solutions to our problems and challenges using holistic approaches is taken into account.
Though we tend to always assume that we are independent from the colonialists, still our mentalities have not fully achieved independence in our actions and words.
Some think that youth are a problem yet youth see them as problems to hindering what they are supposed to be doing for national development.
In the recent or ongoing corruption scandals, many people have given their views on what they think should be done, some have said that donors or development partners should stop giving funds to the Government for her people, others say that the funds can be injected directly to the affected areas and a point in case is the Northern and greater Northern region.
Still neither of these suggestions can be fruitful if we do not nurture and up hold true values of living in Uganda as a nation whereby a young person from Karamoja can go and settle in Kiruhura and learn and share new ideas for the development of that particular area and another one moves from my district of Fort Portal and settles to do business and explore the available gaps in Soroti or Butaleja without being hampered by any barrier.
When this is possible then we shall talk of the integration of the East African community, deal with unemployment, encourage and promote innovation and creativity, develop politically, socially because of the different exposures as well fight the common enemy of HIV/AIDS, and create generations to end or reduce stigma among those that are living positively in our communities.
When I wrote in the New Vision of 30th October 2012, on not neglecting the young peoples’ potentials, I clearly stressed out that young people need to be put at the forefront to reach for what they think is the best for them, this country Uganda or the world and at large including our parents, guardians and the posterity. Society has often times taken youth to be liabilities not to carry the hope to move or transform the future. The truth is that young people are a new blood wave that is so intelligent with in the era simply lacking role models to nurture with true real values that will keep this world moving. This is the reason as to why employers brand graduates as docile not able to perform to their expectation.
I continued in the New Vision of 21st November and implored on the issue of fighting HIV/AIDS even with limited funding, was amazed by the feedback I got from my peers saying I was not serious because they cannot imagine how HIV/AIDS new infections can be scaled down with just limited funding and how we can be the generation to reduce on new HIV/AIDS new infections?
My answer was simple; get to know what you want as a young person and think of the person next to you as well. Perhaps the trend has changed we need to use or go beyond ABC strategy and focus on this generation to ABCDEF+ strategy that is to say beyond just ABSTAINENCE, BEING FAITHFUL and USE OF CONDOM to A= Abstain is 100% safe, B = Be faithful to your partner and not just the married, C =Consistent use of Condoms and not just use of condoms, D= Delay from early sex, F= Have Fewer partners and lastly knowing your HIV status.
We are likely to lose this fight if we do not continue to engage peers for fellow peers, young people for young people because of 85% of peers can easily learn from fellow peers.
In the Sunday Xtra pull out of New Vision 25th November, Dr Zainab Akol who happens to have worked as the AIDS Control Programme manager at the Ministry of Health says, “There is a challenge besetting the HIV/AIDS fight is the infected youth who are now relating and are capable of infecting others.
Through Young Positives Club, they encourage the youth to relate among themselves and avoid infecting those who do not have the virus.’’
This cannot be possible unless we engage more young people in acquiring the right information and do away with myth surrounding HIV/AIDS, young people be put at the forefront to even teach and elaborate to their parents and guardians new and unique ways of fighting and communicating the scourge so as to come to zero by coming years and allow young people to be active in policy framework and policy making.
Restore the green cover belt all over Uganda and the world at large. Empower them not to be taken advantage of by people with destructive intentions. Lastly let all youth know and believe that we are potential and fundamental assets and our bodies are the temples of God.
AKAMPA R.JOHNSONPrograms Coordinator – Youth Advocacy Foundation Uganda, National Peer Trainer – School Net Uganda, SRHR Advocate – SRHR Alliance Uganda. E-mail: [email protected] Tel: +256782 621 551 / +256705 211 273