According to the United Nations Report (2015), Uganda has the second youngest population in the world. 78% of its citizens are below the age of 35, and this youthful population is projected to double by 2040. This literally means that the future of the country is in the hands of the young people.
This number not only presents the challenges that youths grapple with (i.e poverty, unemployment, lack of opportunity, dependency etc.) but also comes with opportunities. Youths have the potential to be the disrupters – looking at their talents, voices, dreams, skills and time; if well leveraged, Uganda can achieve sustainable growth and development. Any development oriented actor ought to pay attention to this enormous opportunity.
This was the clerical call that was made at the 9th Annual Youth Festival (#ANYF23), under the governance and leadership village, during a session “Youth and Community Philanthropy” convened by Open Space Centre in partnership with UNNGOF.
The session that featured a panel of youth philanthropists from diverse backgrounds, offered space for youths to showcase their place and contribution in the community philanthropy arena. A hackathon was organized - the youths were assigned a community challenge and asked to propose solutions to it. This 15-minutes exercise clearly brought out how youths present an incredible opportunity/potential in terms of their time, ideas, talents, voices and gifts that communities need to intentionally tap into in order to foster community development.
Youth groups are many, diverse and dynamic, therefore, they are the present and future of community philanthropy. Both state and non-state actors ought to stop dealing with them passively but rather as key stakeholders in any discourse regarding the future of this country.