Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world; the population below 30 years now constitutes about 78% of the total population (Uganda National Bureau of Statistics). With that, Uganda has an opportunity to create a more accountable and responsive government and an electoral system capable of enabling a growing number of citizens to participate peacefully in political processes. A more accountable and responsive government will increase citizen commitment to democratic governance and reduce tensions among political, regional and ethnic groups which is still wanting in Uganda
Enhancing meaning full youths participation in governance and development processes for improved service delivery project seeks to elevate youth from being passive participants in the development and governance arena to active participants in decision making especially on matters that affect them. But the challenges to effective youth participation in decision making emanate from poor education and training where youth are not prepared for such engagements, they do not develop the necessary analytical skills for critical thinking or problem-solving through participatory, active learning, and appropriate information that enables them to make informed decisions.
Recently, whereas there have been efforts to revamp youth participation in decision making processes, this has virtually remained non-existent. This is made worse by stereo-type perception of young people as incapable to lead. Critically, the country continues to witness weak and fragmented systems where young people lack direct access to institutional systems and structures within government, private and civil society sector where they can occupy vantage positions to influence decisions. This severely impedes their ability to advocate for their rights and erodes their confidence and trust in such systems. In the rare cases where young people have been able to influence or make decisions, barriers such as patronage and patriarchy within complicated structures have tended to limit implementation. This erodes young people’s confidence and trust in such mechanisms. The cost of non-participation is high because then youth will fall through the cracks of the government programs and policies and as a result, there will be less employment opportunities, increase in crime, vulnerability and uncertainty.
In light of the above; RDP Uganda will build a full-bodied youth leadership of youth right at the grassroots level with young people being at the fulcrum of deciding on key issues. This leadership will be that that does not seek favours from the government in place or compromised. Alternatively, youth participation will be improved once young people are facilitated and supported through their networks to actively participate in the development and monitoring of community development plans, including being part of the programme designs, monitoring and evaluation, as well as ensuring their participation in local and national processes as this will enable them to bring their issues before the duty bearers. Further still, there will be continuous interaction between the youth and the leaders to identify challenges affecting them and holding leaders accountable. This leads to ownership of the youth programs as opposed to being prescribed by leaders and youth are only engaged at implementation. This can be achieved through empowerment of youth with the right skills and information
There is high prevalence of corruption in the country which has become endemic and systemic. Public funds are misused by those entrusted with power and responsibility to use public resources for the good of every citizen. This is evidenced by Uganda’s high score in the corruption Barometer, East African Bribery index, Afro Barometer, Africa Peer Review Mechanism reports and many other publications including those published by the Inspectorate of Government a government a statutory body set up to fight corruption and any kind of maladministration. Many media reports also testify to that effect with the media revealing and uncovering corruption scandals almost on dairy basis
RDP Uganda will mobilize, sensitize and empower citizens to demand for transparency, accountability, and value for money from their leaders. They will be sensitized to appreciate that their leaders are voted or appointed in public offices to serve them not to use public resources to fund their personal luxurious life style. This approach will target the masses but with special emphasis on the young people especially those in school and those who have left school. We will use their numerical advantage, flexibility and dynamism to be in position to lead the demand for good governance without being violent. RDP Uganda will use a deliberate intervention aimed at increasing citizen participation in monitoring utilization of public resources coupled with increased interface and dialogue between duty bearers/ leaders and the people they serve to share experiences and ideas on how best to improve service delivery in their localities. Pressure will be exerted by communities to their leaders to demand their leaders to be more responsive and sensitive to the needs and aspirations of the communities they lead.
As per project implementation standards, it will take a mixture of two kinds of deliverables to make this project implemented successfully.
Project deliverable: Improved participation of young people in development processes that promote good governance in Masindi District. These will be delivered through;
Project proposal: The main document that proposes this project to development partners and explains it to key stakeholders.
Governance Plans: the deliverable that defines how the project will be governed and managed including project structure.
Project Schedules: The deliverable that will define the project timeline and allocate the work effort accordingly to reach designated deadlines including work plans.
Project Budgets: The deliverable that define and allocate project funding and cost per intervention in relation to responsibility
Project Reviews: The process deliverable used to evaluate and measure project results and performance (to discover lessons learned for continuous improvement). These will include Monitoring and evaluation frameworks and planned review meetings
Project Beneficiaries: These will include;
Project objectives and activities
Objective 1: Facilitate young people to participate in local, national, regional and international spaces to advance their agenda on civil liberties
Objective 2: Build Capacity and create awareness among young people on their rights to participate in deepening democratic processes
Objective 3: Build Capacity for young people (to do creative activism) on claiming and creating alternative spaces through peer to peer learning, multi-country spaces for knowledge sharing and networked tool box sessions
Objective 4: Build capacity of young people’s social movements and promote non-violent creative activism as an innovative way to expanding shrinking political space and fighting social injustice
Objective 5: Build capacity of young women leaders in effective leadership, representation and feminist analysis to enhance their role in movement building
Objective 6: Organize regular platforms for reflection, reviews, networking and learning among young people’s groups
Objective 7: Promote youth action for gender responsive service delivery through technical and logistical support to youth engagement in the analysis and prioritization of public budgets as well as in tracking of public expenditure at local government and national budgets.
Expected outcomes of the project
Improved participation of youth in political and development processes that secure good governance in Masindi districts.
Sustainability of the intervention
RDP Uganda shall employ a strong partnership approach with the already established institutions of government like the youth councils, local government at Sub County and district levels so that they are able to enhance the sustainability of the project work and its achievements. RDP Uganda shall also ensure that the rights holders are at the forefront of the project work so that they appreciate the interventions and outcomes hence be able to contribute to the sustainability of the project work. It is also expected that the YBAG model which is already developed in the sub counties and districts will help to foster sustainability of the interventions since it is comprised of permanent offices provided under the laws and policy framework of Uganda.