District Working Group Enhances Youth Participation in Governance
Young people have often had minimal opportunities to engage in governance issues because of various factors such as inadequate capacity and knowledge on governance, lack of facilitation and inadequate platforms for engagement.
In Eastern Uganda, for example, Restless Development Uganda (RDU) initiated, coordinated and facilitated the District Youth Working Group in Jinja District which regularly convenes district leaders, youth and youth-focused CSOs to discuss youth-related issues including their limitations to participate in governance and decision-making processes.
Henry Musana, a District Youth Councillor at Jinja District Local Government Council, contends that before RDU initiated the platform, he encountered difficulties in mobilising the youth to give them feedback from the council and to solicit for their issues for council discussions. “Whenever I would invite the youth to convene, they would ask me for transport facilitation. Since I have no funds to meet this demand, most of them would not turn up”, he reveals.
Musana considers RDU’s District Youth Working Group as a timely and helpful initiative. The platform has helped to bring young people together to discuss issues that affect them. “I am happy that Restless Development has created this platform where we, as the district stakeholders, youth and CSOs, discuss youth-related issues and our limitation to participation in governance,” he says.
As a youth leader Musana has taken advantage of the platform to engage with many young people which hitherto was a challenge. At these meetings, Musana can give feedback to the youth on key outcomes of council meetings and pick their pertinent issues for council discussions.
Musana is hopeful that the platform will also encourage more young women to actively engage in governance and will cause the youth to appreciate their responsibility to participate in governance processes without expecting facilitation from anybody.