The Leadership Academy is an initiative for a multi-faceted and generational change leadership training and mentoring programme intended to promote more pluralistic, representative and accountable governance in Uganda. The leadership Academy is a non-academic but certified programme with a wide range of leadership/political training programmes to young people in their diversities.The program will be delivered by a combination of academics, political leaders, civil society actors and persons from the formal and informal sector.
Ni-Yetu youth programme is a social empowerment initiative that integrates promotion of SRHR and GBV prevention, Civil Society Organisation strengthening as well as increased fulfilments for adolescent/youth’s SRH and GBV protection rights in five districts of Lira, Alebtong, Tororo, Kamuli and Kampala.
The overall goal of Ni-Yetu is to contribute to a healthy youth population, free from violence and empowered in an inclusive civil society that promotes state accountability. This goal will be achieved through four strategic objectives;
Although adolescents/youth 13-24 years old constitute the primary target population for Ni-Yetu, the programme also targets secondary influencers and duty bearers, including: parents/guardians, local leaders and opinion leaders (including elders and faith based leaders) in the community; professional service providers such as health workers and teachers; policy makers at the various levels of the government structure; and civil society organizations so as to ensure an enabling environment for young people to fulfil their SRHR and GBV protection rights.
Key activities to be implemented by UYONET under the Ni-Yetu Programme
Key activities to be implemented By UYONET under the Ni-Yetu programme in partnership with PLAN Uganda between 2015 – 2016 include;
Develop a National Coordination Mechanism for Youth CSOs to Strengthen Overall Coordination and Communication of Youth Civil Society Organizations and Other Youth Associations
Although youth in Uganda constitute a significant majority of the population, they remain less influential than they might otherwise be due to limited organization and lack of a unified voice. Many national organizations that represent sections of the youth community have carried out few initiatives due to various institutional challenges. To ensure that youth demands are met, more widespread and effective organization of the youth is essential UYONET recognizes that it can provide a useful role in helping coordinate different youth organizations, associations and other bodies. To meet this challenge, UYONET is carrying out a mapping exercise to identify youth organizations throughout the country. In this exercise, UYONET will create a countrywide map of youth organizations. It will also establish their profiles, activity and engagement, while also assessing their organizational capacity and gaps, and their engagement and contribution to broader initiatives for youth.
Drawing on the results of this mapping exercise, UYONET will then develop a strategy to help these organizations meet their capacity gaps. To help link the organizations, UYONET will establish a central coordination point for these youth organizations, and use this coordination point to help increase coordination between and engagement by youth organizations. Finally, UYONET will use this coordination mechanism to target groups with significant organizational potential, such as students, youth political leaders, and youth in the informal sector, and try to support their capacity building, coordination, engagement and integration, to help them participate more effectively in broader youth initiatives. Overall, these initiatives will contribute to a more organized, coordinated and active youth population that can advocate more effectively for positive change on behalf of youth.
Empower youth leaders in politics, civil society and other sectors to advocate effectively on issues of youth concern
Due to a considerable increase in elected youth politicians and the growth of numerous youth organizations, youth leaders now have a sizeable presence in parliament, local councils, chairpersons of local governments, and in influential positions in civil society and the media. Making these numbers translate into a government more responsive to youth needs and demands, however, requires considerable support to young people who are still inexperienced in politics, lobbying and advocacy.
In support of elected officials and youth civil society activists, UYONET carries out training, coaching and mentoring initiatives aimed at improving the advocacy capacities and strategies of youth leaders at the district level. UYONET also offers technical assistance in advocacy programming to youth CSOs and CBOs interested in working as activists on youth issues at the district level. UYONET instituted quarterly forums at both the district and national level to provide frequent arenas in which youth leaders can meet with different groups of political and government leaders to follow up on youth concerns, and establish regular channels of communication to promote more responsive and accountable leadership on youth issues.
Finally, UYONET has established a leadership academy to provide extensive leadership training, mentoring and guidance to promising youth leaders with ambitions to make a difference for the country.
Promote peaceful and issue-based participation of youth in ongoing democratic processes ahead of the 2016 elections
Despite their numbers, youth continue to be sidelined during decision-making processes related to campaigns and elections. Young people frequently lack the money required to run expensive election campaigns and become beholden to “godfathers” for the resources they mobilize during their campaigns. Due to their weaker resource base they are also more subject to bribery and the influence of money on their decisions. Finally, political leaders intent on using violence to disrupt the elections frequently employ squads of underemployed youth to intimidate their opponents or violently disrupt political activities. To mitigate the negative involvement of youth in electoral processes, UYONET encourages peaceful and issue-based participation of youth, while discouraging violent or corrupt involvement of youth in campaign and electoral processes.
UYONET influences participation of youth through a media campaign providing civic education, training and capacity building for current and future elected youth political leaders and political party leaders, and the development of the National Youth Memo to channel youth demands to leaders.
Generate positive policy change on youth issues through successful advocacy on key priorities for youth
To generate policy change on challenges facing the youth, UYONET concentrates on four key themes; employment and economic empowerment; education, with a particular focus on vocational and technical education; government accountability and responsiveness, with a particular focus on corruption; and increasing access to youth-friendly health services. To form a solid knowledge base for its advocacy work, UYONET will develop policy research on its key themes. UYONET is also building coalitions to help it realize numbers and amplify youth voices to generate momentum to persuade decision-makers. As part of its advocacy efforts, UYONET uses a diverse range of strategies to influence decision-makers including lobbying and advocacy meetings, a media campaign, drafting and contributing to legislation, monitoring and tracking budgets and resources, and carrying out strategic public interest litigation.
To ensure that UYONET maintains sustained and effective advocacy initiatives, it will appoint a Policy Research and Advocacy Coordinator and strengthen its Youth Analysis Board. In its policy advocacy work, UYONET will make a firm commitment to ensure that its policy research and advocacy is inclusive in its focus on gender, disability, youth in post-conflict areas, and youth in high-poverty situations. To this end, UYONET will develop a set of strategies to promote inclusiveness in all program design and implementation. These strategies will be applied throughout all components of the UYONET National Strategy.