Recent reports suggests that the low willingness of the government in creating and providing jobs has led to many young people being lured into foreign countries in search of greener pastures and yet most of these usually backfire. Many of these have ended up either in miserable employment than it would have been if they were employed in Uganda or have ended up being sexually abused and later contract the deadly virus, HIV/AIDS.
Youth unemployment poses a serious political, economic and social challenge to our country and its leadership. The persistence of this problem is also partly contributing to Uganda's slow progress towards meeting some of its Millennium Development Goals.

It is in the above light that FYLAA partnered with Youth Equality center Uganda (YEC-U) a nonprofit, non partisan youth led Organization that targets young people, through empowering them with skills in building self esteem, communication and imparts knowledge on leadership and gender issues to engage young people in learning from each other, sharing experiences on career guidance, Reproductive health, leadership, ICT and Entrepreneurship as one of the activities to mark the youth week during the international youth Day cerebrations 2013 under the theme: “Youth Migration moving Development forward”.

The facilitation begun at 5:00 PM and ended at 7:30 PM, It was really a wonderful day, the students learned a lot and they were so grateful. They promised us to talk to the school administration so that we can go back and finish some of the issues that we did not talk about. Fred the Deputy Headmaster of the school welcomed us to the school further more we had Kaviri Ali with the welcome remarks. He talked about the FYLAA, what it does among other things. He went ahead to introduce facilitators of the day and all the above ten introduced themselves, including where they work, passions and what they do.

Moderator of the day was Okello Igune Christopher, he started by asking the students what their expectations were and they included the following;

  • Guidance and Counseling
  • Career guidance
  • Discipline and Leadership
  • Computer training
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Youth rights
  • Youth control.

The first Facilitator was Nakabira Bernadette her area of discussion was career guidance and counseling and she started by asking the students to define the word career and she got a number of responses among the included; career refers to something that someone wants to do. She said that everyone wants to become something, asked the students what they want to do in future and some of them included the following;

  • Chemist
  • Surgeons
  • Askari.

She argued the students to read their books, work hard, concentrate on their subjects that are required for respective careers. She added that role of passions is very important in everything we do because if you love what you are doing then you will be able to move forward however much you get challenges. "Pride stories also help us to realize our careers through those things that people praise us about. We just need to love what we do and focus on those things that people say we are good at," she said.

She cautioned the students to dream big because research has it that people who have dreams in life are likely to work hard in order to achieve them. She told them not to finish school and do nothing. She also told them that attitude very crucial because if you want to become a surgeon and you cannot stand sick people; want to become a computer engineer and you cannot even fix a lid of the pen then you should work on improving on that. Explore careers to get what you can do; it has to be in line with what is needed in the job market and more so it should have a high salary scale. She also argued the senior sixes to always be careful when choosing the courses to offer in the higher institutions of learning.

The moderator then came in and argued them not to sleep on their dreams. He told them that they need to work so hard to ensure that their dreams come true. Anna Kyomuendo was the second facilitator and she tackled Entrepreneurship. She stared off by asking the students to define entrepreneurship and the responses were as follows;

  • Having a business
  • Starting and financing a business
  • Innovation and creativity
  • An investor among others

She said that the reason as to why we decided to discuss about Entrepreneurship is because of the state of today’s Uganda. She then asked the students what they think of Ugandan youth and the responses among others included the following;

  • The youth are idle
  • The work is for the old
  • Youth undermine jobs
  • Youth participate in gambling
  • They also think that Business if for the old.

She said that 87,000 students enter University every year, 30,000 come out of the University, some of them end up unemployed because they come out of the University and they feel that they cannot do certain jobs. She asked that how many people were there in the room that had sisters and brothers who had finished school and did not have jobs. She added that when Quality Supermarket advertises they will be competing with school dropouts and in most cases you find that your Boss is a P.2 graduate and when you compare the money that you are earning and the one you spent in school you really feel that you being cheated.

When you are studying, do not get bored just work hard and make sure you achieve something because we are talking out of experience, we have ever been where you are right now and we know what it means. She said that in starting a Business age does not matter; it’s just a number. She cautioned them to develop livelihood opportunity even if they earn 500/= shillings a day, they can be able to save.

She also advised them to always respect their parents regardless of the type of businesses they are doing; they can always teach them how to improve on their business and the whole community will be proud of them. She also argued not to think of evil ways of getting money like witchcraft, stealing, robbery, murder, gambling to mention but a few. She said that in Business, you need to honest, start small and go big, take advantage of team work, build confidence, learn to negotiate; business has got nothing to do with age. She said that they can even start theirs anytime for as long as they are ready.

The third Facilitator was Caroline Owashaba and area of discussion was Life skills. She started by asking the students what they understood by the term life skills and they said that they are the skills that enable them to improve on their lives for the better. She then talked about skills of one’s life which included the following;

  • Self awareness; she said that it is important to know who you are and what you can do better.
  • Assertiveness; she added that the way you react to others is paramount; talk to people politely without hurting them.
  • Confidence; she said that confident people talk before people without panicking; they always talk without fearing people. She cautioned them to always do self evaluation so that they can be able to know the areas where they are good at and areas which need improvement. She also talked about them to do self evaluation so that they can be able to know the areas that need improvement.

Skills of living with others

  • Interacting and making friends; she cautioned them to be socially so that it helps them to expand on their networks to enable them live a successful live.
    Acquainted skills; she told to do things that are right; told them that if they do not like some people because of their behaviors then they should not be with them.
    Skills of decision making; she told them that these are skills that help them to choose what they should do.

She also talked about three levels of intelligence which were as follows;

  1. Academic Intelligence; these are things we learn from school
  2. Social Intelligence; the ability to relate with others and make friends
  3. Emotional Intelligence; they way we react to other people and situations

The last Facilitator was Harriet Komugabe whose Topic of discussion was Sexual and Reproductive Health. She argued the students to be attentive because what she was going to talk about was painful. She then defined Reproductive Health as the emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual aspects of life. She said that 68% of Ugandans suffer from ill health because of lack information about Reproductive Health. She added that it is very important that we visit health centres because our lives are very important so in case you have something confidential you have to talk to someone that you are most comfortable with. She said that life is a priority and that we have to do anything to protect it.

She argued them to stand for what they want especially abstaining from sex because it is the root cause of these health challenges. She cautioned them to be emotionally intelligent and not to be like a girl in Luzira prisons serving years for having killed a friend because of a boyfriend. She told the students to take good care of themselves because they are still very young to die; she added that they should to people that they are most comfortable with because it is very bad to keep quite with a problem and die at a younger age. Research has that we get cervical cancer because of having many boyfriends; they carry virus from one girl to another so that means that if you have many then you are at a risk. She said that our parents have done for us to be where we are right now hence we need to let them die a happily.

She concluded by saying that there are cancer vaccines in Hospitals. If you are detected at an earlier stage chances are that you will survive but when detected at level three, you might have less than 5 years to live. It was then time for questions and answers but since we were caught by time we decided to have them write them and hand over to us so that we can go back and answer them. Most of the questions asked were about Sexual and Reproductive Health.

Closing Remarks

Ekakoro Fredrick Etoori thanked the team for the work they did and for the time they sacrificed to make that beautiful day a success. He also appreciated the students for having attended and participated in the activity. He cautioned them to not leave the room without going with something; added that in every 100 words endeavor to at least pick one that inspires you. He also thanked the Head teacher for granting us with that opportunity to share with the students what we had prepared for them. He told them to always contact us whenever they need more.

Message from the Head girl

She thanked the Facilitators for sharing with them; she added that, that was the type of the information that they wanted but they did not know how to get it. She said that she learned a lot and her prayer is for the Head teacher to give us another opportunity to come back again so that we may be able learn what have not yet finished.