The government and the European Union have launched a Youth Sounding Board to strengthen engagement and assessment of Europe's development programs in the country.
The inaugural board is composed of 20 young people from across the country who bring diversified expertise and engagement covering the key issues of governance, gender, education, environment, climate change, skilling, and jobs and health.
Jan Sadek head of the Delegation of the European Union to Uganda said the board members will serve a mandate of two years and will meet on a quarterly basis to advise the EU on issues related to youth empowerment and participation in development processes.
It will also serve as a knowledge hub for the EU in Uganda to exchange information and share ideas on youth issues. Members will also benefit from capacity-building activities such as leadership, advocacy and networking.
The state minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Nyirabashitsi Sarah Mateke said the youth play a pivotal role in shaping policies, driving change and contributing to the development of a country through the expression of their opinions, concerns and aspirations.
“I appreciate the European Union delegation for supporting this initiative, which is aimed at ensuring the relevance and the effectiveness of its interventions and support to our young people. I believe that listening to the voices of the young people is a very good start to have a solid future,” she said.
“We expect you that as you dialogue with and advise the EU delegation, you will do it with integrity and the heart of the young people of this country. We expect you to propose critical areas and to advocate for projects and programs that are responsive to the needs and the rights of all young people,” she added.
She implored board members to equip themselves with relevant and up-to-date information, especially from the thematic areas they selected, and look for the information, policies, and laws about young people noting that it is the only way they will be able to inform development partners on how best the young people can change their lives and the communities they live in.
Howard Mwesigwa, chairperson of the inaugural Youth Sounding Board said each member has been mandated as a lead of a particular thematic area, in climate, environment and energy, gender, human rights, skilling and jobs.
“The board will ensure the adoption of a youth-centric approach in the EU’s targeted cooperation agenda which include; green and climate transition, sustainable growth and jobs, democratic governance and social inclusion," said Mwesigwa.
He said they are committed to extending their timely intervention to the cross-cutting themes like human rights, gender equality, the digital agenda as well as support to civil society. He applauded the EU for its unwavering commitment to positioning the youth and young people at the crux of its sustainable development agenda.