The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) on 15th February 2017 convened a consultative meeting with members of the National Youth Council to enhance EOC’s interaction with the National Youth Council regarding the plight of the youth in the country and how the two institutions can work closely to ensure youth livelihoods are improved. The meeting was held at Unik hotel – Kyaliwajala in preparation of a youth conference which the Commission will hold at a later stage in the year.
On behalf of the Commission, the meeting was attended by Mr. Patrobas Sirabo Wafula- Member of the Commission, Professor Sunday Nicholas Olwor – Secretary to the Commission, Mr. Julius Kamya – Commissioner Education Training Information and Communication, Ms. Petua Isabirye – Principal Education and Training Officer, Mr. Juma Waira – Senior Education and Training Officer and Ms. Jesca Kahwa – Senior Personal Secretary.
Member Patrobas Wafula Sirabo summarized for the Committee the background of the Equal Opportunities Commission and its mandate, highlighting the powers it has in addressing youth concerns and ensuring they enjoy equal opportunities in the provision of services and resources. He urged the Committee members to ensure youth understand and participate in development programs and processes, citing reasons that this will contribute towards the development agenda.
In reaction to the presentation made by the EOC, the Chairperson of the National Youth Council – Ms. Aber Lillian said it’s been a challenge implementing the council’s mandate. Among the challenges she pointed out included under funding of youth programmes and continuous fights between the youth and elder persons. She pointed out that the National Youth Council has established structures which the Commission can rely on when implementing its mandate among the youth and pledged for its full support towards the EOC.
Other members of the National Youth Council cited challenges which the youth experience including the student Loan Scheme which is discriminatory and the Youth Livelihood programme whose beneficiaries are majorly elder persons. They called for EOC’s intervention in these programmes. Lack of monitoring tools for youth programmes and ignorance among the youth on existing youth programmes were among the other challenges noted. Not with standing, members of the National Youth Council noted that youth also contribute to their own exclusion from beneficial programmes through their characters like low self-esteem. This, they said, can be addressed through youth empowerment programs.
The EOC together with Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development were also urged to ensure all youth institutions involve the National Youth Council in the planning, monitoring and implementation of programmes. EOC was further requested to lobby for adequate legal frameworks to enhance youth funding.
The National Youth Council is the umbrella organization and voice for all young people in Uganda between the age of 18 and 35 years. The council was established by an Act of Parliament in 1993 to organize the youth of Uganda in a unified body and engage them in activities that bare of benefit to them and the nation.
The Commission looks forward to working with the National Youth Council and building a stronger relationship aimed at empowering the youth in the country