Young people have been urged to develop innovative solutions to help address social, environmental and economic challenges that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seek to address.
This was a key message emphasized by the Presidential Assistant for Youth Affairs and Entrepreneurship, Ms Valentine Agwang, in her address during the 3rd regional youth e-conference for this year in commemoration of the International Youth Day 2021.
The commemoration on the theme, “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”, highlights that the success of such a global effort will not be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people.
Ms Agwang encouraged the youth not to be deterred by challenges that they may face in their pursuit to develop solutions for solving societal problems.
‘’Young people are entrepreneurs and productive .However the quality that they put out is not so good for the market and their products don’t compete on both local and international market for that reason. This is the reason the government has emphasized on skilling the youth and we are getting the results ‘’, said Ms Agwang.
Speaking to Red pepper exclusively, Agwang said targeted investments in youth-owned green enterprises could provide a long-term solution to the climate crisis, hunger, and malnutrition that has escalated amid pandemic disruptions.
‘’Young innovators can also be exposed to mentors and role models besides improving their capacity to transform key sectors of the economy like agriculture, energy and financial services. Government has revamped vocational training in Uganda as a key to establishing a robust innovation ecosystem that can provide sustainable revenue streams for the youth and equipping the youth with digital skills which will prepare them adequately to be key players in Uganda’s envisaged Fourth Industrial Revolution’’, added Ms Agwang.
In his address, Jackso Chekweko, the Executive Director of Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) said Youth-led programs are addressing barriers for youth on the basis of economic status, ethnic group, gender, and other characteristics; updating education plans and school curricula to include lessons about peace, justice and the environment and climate change, among many other areas.
He added that Youth engagement is essential to the transformation of education into a means for inclusive youth development and sustainable development more broadly.
The e-conference was attended by several representatives from both government and civil society Organizations who advised the youth to emulate their peers by coming up with innovative solutions to support the country’s efforts to move “Uganda Beyond Aid”, as envisioned by the President of Uganda.
In 1999, General Assembly resolution 54/120 endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers of Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day. This day provides an opportunity to celebrate young peoples’ views and initiatives on a global scale.