Story by Namatovu Doris Isabel, Fundraising and Communications Officer, AFFCAD.
On Friday 20th May 2022, all roads led to Action for Fundamental Change and Development (AFFCAD). 300 Youth from Bwaise slum whose businesses were greatly affected by COVID-19 were awarded with certificates, and 200 received business toolkits to enable their businesses to thrive following a training on entrepreneurship and employability. Additionally, 63 teachers and religious trained in business enterprise development were awarded with cash for starting business enterprises.
Youth unemployment is still one of Uganda’s biggest challenges standing at 2.5% of the 13% of unemployed Ugandans according to the Market Profile Uganda 2022/2023 by the Danish Trade Union Development Agency. Self-employment of young people through starting their own small businesses gives them an opportunity to work their way out of poverty. Many small businesses started by the youth were greatly affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 hence the need to support these youth small businesses to thrive.
While speaking at the award ceremony, Ms. Prudence Atukwatse, the Executive Director of AFFCAD encouraged youth to create their own jobs and utilize the skills acquired to make their lives better, “I encourage youth to attain a hands-on skill and create their own jobs for a better future.” She also thanked the European Union, the Aga Khan Foundation, the Segal Family Foundation and the African Coalition for Social Impact for funding partnership.
The function was attended by several dignitaries including the Ambassador of the United States of America to Uganda, Ms. Natalie E. Brown, the Honorary Consulate of Switzerland Romina Wilke Köhler, Mr. Brian George the US Embassy Public Affairs Officer, Mr. Nicholas Gonze from the European Union, Ms. Taaka Janepher from GIZ Uganda, Ms. Olga D. Namukuza the Program Manager of the Aga Khan Foundation;, Dr. Joyce Tamale the CEO of Capital Solutions Limited who gave a motivational speech, officials from Kampala Capital City Authority of Kawempe Division, and representatives from the Africa Coalition for Social Impact among others.
Mr. Nicholas Gonze, a representative from the European Union in Uganda applauded AFFCAD and the AFFCAD Business and Vocational Institute (ABVI) for equipping youth with various skills. He reaffirmed the European Union’s commitment towards promoting youth empowerment, sustainable economic growth and development. He called upon other development partners to invest more resources in programs that promote resilience and sustainable economic growth.
Saudah Lumala, one of the youth beneficiaries from Kawaala Road in Bwaise, had this to say just after being awarded, “I am thankful to AFFCAD and her partners for enabling us young entrepreneurs to acquire knowledge and skills to better our businesses.”
Ms. Prudence Atukwatse revealed that AFFCAD was planning to train more 200 youth in business since the Youth Entrepreneurship and Employability Plus (YEES+) project would run until September, 2022. She encouraged the awardees to professionalise by enrolling for vocational training at the AFFCAD Business and Vocational Institute.