The Independent (Kampala)

25 January 2013

Uganda: Right Attitude Will Take You Places, Janet Museveni Counsels Youth

Janet Museveni, the first lady and patron of the Uganda Youth Forum has urged the Ugandan youth to emulate biblical David if they are to win the battle against contemporary challenges of unemployment and HIV/AIDS.

The first lady's remarks came during the closure of the three-day national youth conference held in Kampala between Jan.22-24. This year's conference was held under the theme, 'A new dawn; the youth as pillars for national development.'

"Each of you has a challenge; it may be (finding) a job, fighting HIV, helping your family rise up."

"Look to David whenever you are under challenges," she told the attentive youth.

She said although David was young at the time, tending to his father's sheep, he spent most of the time reflecting and praying to his God and when the challenge of Goliath came up, he was quick to take it up because he had a lot of confidence in God.

David's story, she said, helps people to understand that knowledge of God helps them to confront challenges.

"Experience of knowledge of God is not learnt from anywhere but from personal confidence in God Himself (and) having confidence in God with whom you cannot fail to make an appointment will help you achieve," she said.

At the three-day conference, the youth were engaged in a number of interactive sessions including HIV/AIDS prevention, leadership, entrepreneurship, community service as well as mindset and positive change.

Janet Museveni reiterated that the government is committed to supporting the youth to develop because it believes in their potential.

Inspired by the lively performance of Pastor Wilson Bugembe who livened up the youth with his popular gospel songs, Ms Museveni said the youth should take keen interest in government programmes by participating in them.

"There is potential among the youth to lead instead of lamenting about employment that may not be forthcoming," she said.

She explained that over the last 20 years, the youth forum had provided the youth with a platform for dialogue, career guidance, sexuality and other challenges, noting that the conferences are meant to be for networking, sharing values, picking skills that enable them to lead useful and successful lives.

The Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi who was the chief guest advised the youth to remain patriotic to Uganda, instill in themselves a culture of hard work, good use of time and opportunity as

The UNAIDS Country Director, Musa Bundugu, noted that since the youth are the pillars and future of any country, he urged the government to continue supporting the youth in the fight against HIV/AIDS. He urged the youth to understand that HIV is real.

"Unless you behave, the HIV/AIDS prevalence will only rise," he said.

Bundugu advised the youth not to look to government for jobs. You need to learn simple things you can do. I don't know of any government in the world where enough jobs are given out (by the government).

"Go for vocational skills so that you can do something for yourself. By keeping yourself busy, you are keeping yourself away from drugs, drinking, early pregnancy and so many other things," Bundugu said.

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