ILO Boosts Ugandan Youth with $50,000 social innovation Funds

HABARI DAILY I Kampala, Uganda I The International Labour Organization (ILO) has extended a helping hand to Ugandan youth with funds to go towards social innovation schemes.

Solomon Kayiwa Mugambe, the Executive Director, Wezesha Impact, said the funds, amounting to $50,000 (sh188,450,000m) will go to 10  youth groups, will go towards establishment of social innovations that are impactful in their communities.

“The groups that will access this funding have to come up with proposals that explain the social problem within their communities and how these will be solved. Their projects also have to have an income generating aspect to the youth,” he said during the award ceremony which was held at their offices in Rubaga near Kampala.

He said that  the problem  solving  innovations included  making bags from recycling  plastic bottles, making briquettes from  organic waste,   and making  briquettes from cassava waste flour from flour factories. Others include recycling glass to make flower vases and many more which are environment conserving  and  at the same time  income generating to the youth.

“The project is aimed at redefining the future of jobs in Uganda by turning skills into capital and inspiring an entrepreneurial mindset among school dropouts and other youths that are still pursuing their studies,” said Mugambe.

He said still under the project is a scheme code named: Integrated UPSHIFT Programme, where 51 groups of youth aged 18-30 years of age. Youths who have benefited from it come from institutions such as Makerere University, St Lawrence University, Makerere University Business School as well as Refugee camps of Bidibidi in Yumbe district and Nakivale Refugee settlement in Isingiro District.

These had created social innovations with technical component, and could raise income for the benefit of the members and groups within the community.

Christine Kirembeka, the head of programmes at Wezesha Impact,  said that from the 51 groups that applied for the funding, 36 were  selected and  given  $100 (sh3.7m)  each  to research about  how their   innovations  could benefit  their communities.

“They did that for two months and afterwards, 10 groups were selected and took an award of $5000 (sh18.5m) each.

She said that UPSHIFT is a youth social innovation and social entrepreneurship programme, designed to build skills and opportunities for young people who are disadvantaged, due to poverty, gender, disability or ethnicity.

‘Before we disburse this money to the selected 10 youth  groups, we are going to take them to  bigger  business enterprises who do the  same projects that they are doing so that they can see  how best they can improve in their  works’’ Kirembeka said.

Safina Nakyobe, the Deputy Director in charge of qualification standards  at the directorate of industrial training (DIT), who officiated at the award function, which was held that the Wezesaha  Impact offices recently, said that there is gross unemployment among the youth.

“According to research done by the World bank, 78% of the youth in Uganda are unemployed. This calls for dispensing of job creation skills. This would enable them acquire expertise which would help them create their own jobs.”

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