Every year, Uganda joins the United Nations and the entire world to commemorate International Youth Day (IYD). A day that was designated in 1999 after the General Assembly resolution 54/ 120 endorsed by the recommendation made during the Conference of Ministers of Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.
Uganda will on 12th August join the rest of the world to commemorate the International Youth Day which was designated by the United Nations for governments and partners to draw attention to issues surrounding the youth; their desires and aspirations, take stock of achievements but also celebrate and recognize their contributions to national development.
This year’s theme is "Youth innovations for Transformation of Food Systems and Sustainable Human Health".
Every year, the government declares the week leading to the celebrations as "The Youth Week of Action".
While addressing reporters in Kampala on Thursday morning, Minister of State for Gender, Labour and Social Development (Youth and Children Affairs) - Hon. Sarah Mateke Nyirabashitsi, said her Ministry has lined up a number of activities to raise awareness and advocate for the youth in line with the theme which impels people to position young people in such a manner that elicits them to think innovatively about what can be done to transform our broken food systems and ensure food safety and a world free from hunger and malnutrition.
Due to the current pandemic situation however, the minister says most of the activities will be virtual on the various media platforms with a few physical keeping in line with the SOPs by Ministry of Health; these activities will run beyond 12th August.
“The activities will be finding solutions to the questions and problems by the young people which are in line with the theme and domestically motivated. These will help in informing our programming as a country. I call upon all stakeholders to engage the young people; all planned activities should be youth centered and focused” she said.
The minister added that, to enhance the picture of the global food systems, it is important that government facilitates the involvement of youth in the discussions to engage in the entire value chain and divert attention to the pathways to transform food systems and to enhance youth innovations for active engagement- which is an opportunity for the youth to understand the entire system for them to uptake appropriate actions.
“The Covid 19 pandemic has affected the young people in this country and been learning for us as a country to innovate and go beyond the traditional methods of seeking for survival. The young people need to innovate, seek out for local solutions to the problems that affect them. Innovation and new technologies, combined with traditional knowledge will attract and enable youth to be drivers of improvement in Agriculture and food systems” she said.
Minister Mateke promised that the government will support mechanisms that ensure youth make informed decisions on food choices through increased training and education on the sustainable options for both individuals and the environment. This will be through the provision of adequate capacity development with respect to the resilience of food systems.
She added that government is also aiming at promoting e-agriculture and the use of ICTs where applications of new technologies are designed and scaled up for access by the young people.
“Establishment of demonstration farms at parish level for the food production system and Promoting the use of organic manure and organic pesticides to keep our soils and our health safe and use of high quality seeds that mature early, are drought and disease tolerant, is what government is focusing on. The Ministry is committed to collaborating with key stakeholders through the existing National Coordination Mechanism for Youth Programmes to organize innovative ideas and interventions to enhance meaningful participation of youth in agri-business” she noted.
During the International Youth Day commemorations, Government shall engage with UN Agencies, Civil Society organizations, youth organizations and the private sector to organize activities that target the youth and their interests. You are called upon to get involved and empower the youth through Innovative projects, Incubation centers, building skills and capacity, Financing of ideas that motivate young people while considering inclusion and accessibility in the interventions so that no young person is left behind.