Community, Diaspora and Immigration

Youth Forum on 27th August, 2011 at the Ugandan Convention UK

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We were privileged to have two excellent speakers on the day,  Hon. Evelyn Anite, Youth MP for Northern Uganda and Mr. Joshua, motivational speaker for the young, who both shared their views and suggested a way forward. 

Hon. Minister Anite mentioned some of the main issues the youth were facing, which had led to opening up different youth offices to deal with such downfalls. She added that, “having youth forums greatly help to understand the problems that the youth faces”.  Miss Anite suggested that to run a youth forum, the objects and aims need to be understood, the mission statement has to be well written and grasped, and then exposed to different institutions that could be of help. There should be some form of office put in place to help navigate the forum.  

Following are the issues cited on her speech: 

Poverty contributes to youth crime –  Due to poverty, the many youths in Northern Uganda resort to committing crime and distortive behaviour due to lack of jobs and motivation. 

Education – is affected by less job opportunities, family background, discrimination of class and ability. Special educational needs are not often met in such rural areas. There is a lot of loopholes in disability policies. 

Young parents – There are many young parents who cannot provide adequate help for their children. Due to this, young girls resort to prostitution.  Often times, parents send their young daughters to marry older and wealthy men in exchange for a better life. Some of them are also homeless and end up sleeping on the streets.

Mr Joshua suggested that the most important factor is for young people to be able to understand and have their own identity, so that they cannot be easily influenced by bad company. In addition, strong values can be firmly upheld to the next generation.  In relation to the forum, the leaders have to strongly understand and be in agreement with the aim and objects alongside with the mission statement and to be aware of the workload that will be involved. “To draw the youth, you have to be able to engage them”.  

These were some of the factors he thought were contributing to our youths’ current problems:

No sense of belonging – most youth in London don’t have a sense of belonging, so they resort to other means such as, gangs, groups, crime, and rebellion. 

Parents – some parents in London are too busy with work to have time for their children, and so the children feel rejected.  

Media and Technology – the media plays a huge role in the way the youth in London behave as it gives temporal and substitute role models.  

Schools – schools are segregated in class system that can affect a way of learning. 

Family life and home life – stable family life or home life is relevant for the individual to pursue whatever further plans one has. Good relationships with parents and siblings help in shaping and form good behaviour and identity. 

When the young people in the audience were invited to speak, they commented that the forum was a very good and productive idea. “I enjoyed the youth forum and got to understand more about the problems that we, the youth, face both here and Uganda”.

“I liked the session very much. It made me more motivated and I was happy to learn to be aware of my identity. I will be speaking to my parents more when I feel low”. 

In conclusion, it was suggested by both Mr Joshua and Hon Minister Anite that first and foremost, there should be a plan which should entail the aims and objects and the mission statement. Thereafter, an office, online information and activities should be implemented. 

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