31 January 2017

Uganda: Young Achievers Awards to Link Youth Innovators with Funders


Reach A Hand Uganda launched its livelihood programme, the 2017 edition of the Young Achievers Awards at a media engagement in Kampala last week. The event was graced by the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda. The initiative seeks to reward young people’s excellence and innovation to inspire them to be the next generation of leaders.William Lubuulwa caught up with Mr Humphrey Nabimanya, the team leader and founder Reach A Hand Uganda in an interview on what to expect in this year’s edition of the awards. Below are the excerpts:

Briefly tell us about this livelihood programme you have just launched.

Since its inception, the Young Achievers Awards which is now being run by Reach A Hand Uganda as one of it's youth livelihood programmes, has established itself as arguably the most prestigious awards' event of its kind in the region.

Ever since the awards were last held in 2013, the nation has been missing out on the opportunity and platform that the awards presented to celebrate young people who have been at the centre of socio-economic and political transformation of Uganda.

The awards were last held in 2013. Is it true you mismanaged the Awards?

No. The co-founders of the awards, Mr Awel Uwihanganye and Mr Ivan Kyambadde Serwano, wanted to pass on this baton to young people to spearhead the awards. They had played their part but during the break, they hadn't yet felt that young person or youth led organisation had convinced them that they had both the passion and capacity to celebrate their peers.

We convinced them about a year ago and since then they have been courting us; 2017 has had the stars align and we believe it is the right time to make them confident that Reach A Hand Uganda, a youth-led and youth serving organisation, can organise the awards going forward.

Reach A Hand Uganda is mostly known as a youth led organisation focused on sexual reproductive health and rights. Aren't you diverting focus to something completely different?

Reach A Hand Uganda is all things youth empowerment. We have grown from a weekend outreach programme to a fully-fledged organisation.

Our 2016-2020 Strategic plan also has seen us incorporate youth livelihood programmes where the Young Achievers Awards fits in. Besides, Young Achievers Awards is not the only youth livelihood programme we have.

We also have Katereza Community Alliance based in Mbarara District where we give out education grants, micro-grants for women led initiatives and we are fundraising to build a health facility in the village.

How is this year's edition of the awards different from the past awards?

We have moved away from having the awards as a one day event to a full year programme. We have already hit the ground running.

In February we will kick off with regional tours in the central, east, northern and western Uganda to create awareness about the awards but to also fish out young innovators, entrepreneurs and change agents who are not being celebrated and we will showcase them to the world. We will also have networking events where prospective nominees will get a chance to meet some of the celebrated business persons and entrepreneurs.

Past the award ceremony night, the finalists and winners will be engaged in vigorous themed summits, for example, legal, branding and marketing, funders and leadership.

What are the categories?

The 2017 edition will celebrate 10 most outstanding young people in the categories of social entrepreneurship, business, ICT and innovation, outstanding sports personality, media and journalism, farming and agro-processing, music, fashion, film & photography, young achiever of year, young hero/heroine of the year and the lifetime achievement award.


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