Kampala- A new report on the state of the world population has recommended that the youth need to acquire relevant knowledge and skills if developing countries like Uganda are to benefit from them for social and economic progress.
The youth population in the country accounts for more than 78 per cent of the entire population that currently stands at 34.9 million people. The state of Uganda Population Report 2014 shows that youth are grappling with unemployment which remains a major challenge.
Unemployment among youth stands at more than 65 per cent despite a 10 per cent employment rate, according to the report.
In the World Population Report 2014, Uganda is grouped together with Chad and Niger where half of the youth are under 16 years of age.
“Education is critical. The skills and knowledge young people acquire must be relevant to the current economy and enable them become innovators, thinkers and problem-solvers,” the report reads in part. It adds: “Lack of meaningful work among young people is playing into frustration that has in some instances contributed to social unrest or unmanaged migration.
With many youths having unprotected sex and fearing to bear children, most of them resort to abortion a thing which has stretched government’s budget to about sh39b.
Straight Talk Foundation Limited Executive Director, Susan Ajok said that government spends about US$14m (about 39b) annually on treating complications related to unsafe abortion with youths taking the centre stage.
She disclosed this on Friday during a fundraising ceremony at Serena Hotel in Kampala.
The ceremony was aimed at fundraising money to help address the problem of family planning, youth livelihood and climate change in the society. Ajok said they needed sh15b to address the problem.
She said that unsafe abortions have cost government US$130 (about sh364, 000) per patient annually most especially those treated in government hospitals country wide.
“This is a life venture that costs government money because they have to look for funds used to support pregnancies”. Ajok remarked.
According to a report from the ministry of health, out of 25% of female pregnancies, a quarter of girls aged 15-19 are mothers or pregnant with one child and more than 1-3 teenagers aged 15-24 have had sex.
On 22nd February 2018, STF brought together, different stakeholders to forge a way forward towards policy formulation and implementation aimed at curbing underage alcohol consumption. The meeting was graced by the Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga who committed to expedite the passing of the alcohol bill to curb underage alcohol consumption in addition to the other challenges facing alcohol consumption.
This meeting followed a petition that was presented by young people to the Speaker of Parliament that resulted to discussing this issue on the floor of Parliament last year. At the same event, five young people were awarded for excelling in a National Red Card to Underage Alcohol Consumption Campaign Essay Competition that required young people to share their experiences about the effects of underage alcohol consumption as well as and suggesting solutions towards curbing the vice. The overall winner, Auma Nancy a Primary Seven Pupil at Padibe Primary School, won a brand new laptop while the runner-ups were given brand new smart phones. The Red Card Campaign targets young people aged 10-17 years aiming to curbing underage alcohol consumption through behavior change communication and policy implementation and formulation initiatives.
Having served on the STF board since 2003, Mr Aggrey David Kibenge ended his term as Chair of the Straight Talk Foundation Board. Mr. Kibenge joined the STF Board in 2003 as a member and was elected chair in 2008. During his time serving the STF Board Aggrey made outstanding contributions to STF as the longest serving Board Chair. Aggrey provided valued counsel throughout his tenure and a sure hand through all the challenging times.
His leadership will be missed by the STF Family. On the other hand we congratulate and extend a very warm welcome to Mr Robby Muhumuza. With effect from January 2017 he commenced his term as the Chair of the STF Board of Directors. Mr Robby Muhumuza had served in the STF Board since 2012.
In line with its 5-year 2018 Strategic Plan, STF added to its social media tools to take service and information delivery closer to its beneficiaries.
Social media is awash with young people desperately seeking guidance and information, and the demand is increasing at a remarkable rate. So in addition to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, STF embraced WhatsApp to reach the tech-savy young people with real-time response to queries, questions and concerns.
Concerns and conversations center around Sexual and Reproductive Health matters, but unsurprisingly stray into football and farming occasionally. STF continues to explore other avenues to reach young people by all means possible, especially now that they are at home under lock down due to COVID 19.