Ms Elsie Attafuah, the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), told Daily Monitor yesterday that the programme aims at providing access to grants, mentorship and linkages for young innovators in Uganda.
"This morning, I approved 14 proposals from young people. The proposals were from different parts of the country and they are in the areas of agriculture, renewable energy, information and communication technology, among others," Ms Attafuah said.
Dubbed: 'One Million Youth SDG Solutions,' the initiative focuses on identifying and mobilising Ugandan youth to present one million solutions which are changing lives in order to accelerate the achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Ms Attafuah said they have also developed another partnership with Stanbic Bank to ease access to finances for young innovators across the country.
Five hundred (500) youth have so far expressed interest in the programme, according to information from the coordination office for the programme at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
The unemployment rate among Ugandans aged 18 to 30 years, rose from 12.7 per cent in 2013 to 13.3 per cent in 2017, according to the 2016/2017 Uganda National Household Survey.
Speaking yesterday in Kampala at the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations in Uganda, Mr Henry Oryem Okello, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said government is part and parcel of the initiative that aims at empowering young people. The Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, said government has laid down strategies to address youth unemployment.
"The third National Development Plan adopted an all-inclusive approach to development where the focus has been given to youth, women and people with disabilities to fully participate in governance both at local and central government levels to ensure that no one is left behind," Dr Rugunda said.
"We fully recognise the role of the youth in development because they play a big role as critical thinkers, change agents and innovators, among other roles," he added. Uganda became the 110th member of the UN on October 25, 1962.
Distribution of beneficiaries
Ms Tina Turyagenda from the National SDG Secretariat at the OPM, said the initiative caters for beneficiaries across the country.
A document showing a list of 38 beneficiaries that have so far been approved from the 500 proposals indicates that majority are from the central region.
Eastern region has six beneficiaries, south and central regions have 18, Karamoja Sub-region one, western 10, West Nile two, and northern Uganda has one.
"This is an ongoing activity and the number of beneficiaries will increase depending on the number of proposals they send," Ms Turyagenda said.
Mr Ivan Godswil Ongeyowun, a youth in Nebbi district, West Nile, who is benefitting from the initiative, said he is being supported in the beekeeping business that he started in 2017.
Ms Rosa Malango, the United Nations resident coordinator, said: "The UN aims to upgrade fundamental human rights of all humans beings and promotes social progress and better standard of life in large freedom."