In its youth engagement series, the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) together with its implementing partner the Mastercard Foundation, earlier today held yet another youth engagement.

Taking place at The Emin Pasha Hotel & Spa, the Youth Engagement Strategy Validation workshop brought together young people from around the country to sit, discuss, and engage while presenting their points to the Private Sector Foundation.

“We realized that decisions are always done for the young people in board rooms, but without getting their input, which is quite unfair. This is why we are here on a day like this to pick your minds.”, said Ojiambo Daniel the Business Advisor at Private Sector Foundation Uganda in his opening remarks while speaking on behalf of the Young Africa Works -Enhancing Lead Firm Structure for Youth Employment in Uganda Project (LFS) Program Director Mr Apollo Muyanja which this engagement happens to fall under.

“We want to aggregate young people into the system which is why we are interesting young people into these programs. Dear youth, your voice and your thoughts are your power. Make them heard”, he stressed.

In his brief notes at the workshop, Humphrey Anjoga, a Strategy Consultant encouraged the youth to sign up for the YALI and the Mandela Washington Initiative for these were designed to empower the youth like those in attendance with not only leadership, management but also entrepreneurial skills.

According to a strategy presented by Mr Humphrey at the engagement, among his high-level key takeaways was that young people aspire to learn skills, be creative, own businesses, create wealth and be able to impact the lives of others by creating jobs.

While in small groups of 5, a breakout session, the young people in attendance were tasked to identify the challenges that the youth face in their pursuit of entrepreneurship, difference in personalities and aspirations among team members was one of the points were raised.

When asked on how youth participation can be enhanced in the Private Sector Foundation Uganda/ Young Africa Works -Enhancing Lead Firm Structure for Youth Employment project, one of the participants suggested for more youth representation on the stakeholder committee since a young person can easily relate with their fellows and better present their views to the board. For youth-friendly spaces to be set up and as well as continuously identifying opportunities to engage with the youth.

This discussion birthed strategic pillars “VOICE” that were identified and these stand for: Voice, Inform, Connect, and Empower. While still in the same groups of 5, discussed were recommendations on how to implement these pillars and the suggested measures included: Private Sector Foundation Uganda works with available media outlets to spread out information about the programs that it runs and also additionally provide direct contact with the youth in communities in youth groups, universities etc.

They also called upon the Private Sector Foundation Uganda to create youth centers, localize their messages to local languages so they are tailored to fit and be understood by the majority of the youth targeted to be reached in this program. The youth also stressed that the Foundation not only listens to this feedback they provide to it but also act on it.

In his very precise and concise remarks, Alfred Opion, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder at Kaino Africa encouraged Private Sector Foundation Uganda to draw energy towards interesting the young people in service providing. He said that this is so because he has seen it work abroad for it is a very bankable industry.

Safeboda’s Founder Ricky Rappa Thompson who also serves in the role of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda/ the Young Africa Works -Enhancing Lead Firm Structure for Youth Employment in Uganda Project Youth Representative on the while sharing his key note address shared words of encouragement to the youth to keep working in teams. He also cautioned them to always have a positive attitude for being a young person isn’t a problem but being a young person with a bad attitude is.

He also added that the youth need to ambitious, intentional and have interest in what they are doing.

Rappa Thompson reinstated Private Sector Foundation Uganda’s commitment to supporting Ugandan youth. Lastly, he encouraged them to comply to their entrepreneurial obligations like paying taxes, ensuring their businesses are registered, have trading. Operating licenses etc.