“A bad beginning makes a good end”… (Unknown)

So has been the case for my 2018…aaaahhhaaaaa….

What a year to remember!! Hhhmmm…hhhmmmm

Everything nice has happened at this time of the year when it’s closing down

Photo credit: srhrallianceug.org

Take for example, this past month of November

I was invited to the launch of the Sauti Ya Sasa project, at the one hotel I so much intended to visit before the end of 2018…. The Naguru Skyz Hotel[

Suit & Tie things, you know

I used to see this hotel just on TV and in newspapers but then 2018 happened beautifully again and the opportunity presented itself for me to actually go there….sure,why not? I couldn’t miss out on the food, too! (wink wink)

Photo credit: ACFODE

ACFODE is, quote for quote,

Action for Development (ACFODE) is an indigenous, voluntary, non-governmental women’s organization founded on November 19, 1985. ACFODE envisions a just society where gender equality is a reality; and her mission is to empower women and influence legislation and policy for gender equality in Uganda. ACFODE’s core purpose is advocacy for gender equality and equity”.

People….back to Sauti Ya Sasa….enough of Skyz Hotel and the drum sticks

Kakati, according to the briefing I got, ACFODE in partnership with GIZ Uganda , is implementing ‘SAUTI YA SASA’(Voice of Now) – a mentoring programme for women and youth, co-funded by European Union in Uganda  and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) as part of the Civil Society in Uganda Support Programme (CUSP).

Photo credit: ACFODE

Sauti Ya Sasa seeks to increase the capacity of women and young people who are already actively engaged in civil society by strengthening their leadership abilities,helping them  gain more knowledge in areas such as; governance, gender, political participation, and furthering their career development while providing opportunities to network and build contacts for personal and professional development.

Photo credit: ACFODE

Mentees are paired up with accomplished mentors for a joint learning journey.

Photo credit: ACFODE

The pilot phase of Sauti Ya Sasa focuses on Kampala.

Sauti Ya Sasa intends to be run this way;

  •  There has to be 15 women and 15 youth!

•        Pairing accomplished mentors with committed women and youth active in civil society for one-on-one mentoring sessions that offer reflection, guidance and exchange on professional and personal development

•        Bi-monthly thematic learning sessions for mentees on relevant topics such as gender, governance, civic engagement,leadership and political participation

•        Peer exchange and support

•        Network building and strategic engagements to deepen civil society engagement

•        Media Advocacy on youth and women’s civic engagement

Photo credit: ACFODE

You must be wondering why this particular project, at this particular time of the “year”,in this particular country and with this particular targeted group of Ugandans

Photo credit: ACFODE

Here’s why…

•        Ugandans below 30 years constitute over78% of the current population (Uganda Bureau of Statistics[ , 2015). For those that love their numbers, check that out.

•        The Uganda Bureau of Statistics further estimates that women comprise 52% of the country’s population

•        Uganda’s legal frameworks [ such as the National Youth Council Act (1993), the National Women Council Act (1993) and the 1995 Ugandan Constitution Article 32 (1) and 78(1) (b & C), deliberately provide for the participation of special interest groups including youth and women in civic affairs.

•        Youth and women political participation is further extended to all local government structures through the Local Government Act (1997) of Uganda that provides for a male and female youth representative as well as women quotas at the various levels of local governments.

•        Despite such tremendous progress,majority of Ugandan citizens particularly women and youth, are still uninformed about how they can actively engage in the governance and decision making processes. This is attributed to a number of reasons such as cultural beliefs and perceptions that are often biased against women and youth civic engagement,limited capacity of youth and women to participate in civic action, as well aslow levels of civic and political education.

Photo credit: ACFODE

Well then,with that brief “because”, don’t you agree that there is a great need for enhanced civic engagement and career opportunities for women and youth in Uganda in terms of increased capacity of the programme-participants to engage in civil society, increased knowledge in the concepts of gender, governance, leadership,career development among others and increased awareness in utilisation of networks and connections for personal and professional development?

Photo credit: ACFODE

If you ask me, programmes like this have been long overdue

Our country….world is like a patient on their hospital bed, dying away from multiple organ failure

Photo credit: ACFODE

Nobody seems to care enough to pass on the mantle of what they’re doing for this country unto the next generation

So yeah,when the call for Sauti Ya Sasa came in, I’m so happy that all these concerned parties came forth and decided to dive right into it

Photo credit: ACFODE

I, for one,do work with other fellow young people in the line of mentoring and role-modeling our generation.

Kudos ACFODE, GIZ, BMZ, CUSP, all the mentees and mentors for getting the ball rolling!

Photo credit: ACFODE

All the best and know this, I’m rooting for you all the way!