Youth Livelihood Programme Can Do Better

The YLP is intended to help young youth ages between 18-30 with startup capital or to improve on the cash flow of their already existing businesses

By: Masereka Charles Yoronimu

During the reading of the 2013/14 national budget, mind the government of Uganda introduced a fund dubbed, the Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP) fund, targeting the poor and unemployed youth in all the districts in the country, aged between 18-30 years, to help them with startup capital or to improve on the cash flow of their already existing businesses.

The Programme is implemented under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and is also intended to foster Uganda’s move towards fulfilling the Vision 2040 that desires to see Uganda gain a middle income state status by 2020.

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The YLP has registered some achievements and just like any other government programme, failures too. Several challenges have engulfed it, with several accusations placed against youth leaders, with Ministry and district officials being accused of embezzling the funds or even giving them to their relatives.

The youth on several occasions have refused to pay back the funds for they regard the same as a “gift” from the President for keeping him and the NRM leadership in power.

Other than the above, several other challenges have been encountered in the running and implementation of the programme.

As a youth leader and an Agripreneur, I have observed the operation of the fund and noticed a number of issues that need to be addressed if this programme is to succeed and breed impact to the Youth and Uganda as a whole and among these are;

Attitude change: Attitude is a key driver in life. The youth always have an attitude towards certain aspects of life. On the business point, youth prefer to engage in some business ventures and leave the others untouched. An example is the agriculture sector. Many youth regard it for the poor, uneducated, failures in life and others. Government therefore needs to work towards changing the attitudes of the youth so they can rank all sectors equally.

Mentorship:  Mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. When an influential person talks to a youth, the impact that this interaction leaves in the mind of the youth is everlasting. Getting to share with successful people will inspire many youth to be creative and innovative in the various fields and sectors of the economy.

Exposure: Government ought to invest in getting youth exposed to the realities of life, they need to get first-hand experience of issues, both in the economic and transformational spheres. Visiting successful entrepreneurs will open the eyes of the youth to a real world of investment and business opportunities.

Training: To embark on a journey as hard as entrepreneurship, one needs to be trained on how to travel that journey, how to control expectations, how to meet challenges and how to deal with market changes. Youth also need to be trained on how to manage resources at their disposal in order to avoid waste and loss, financial literacy to instill financial discipline in them, leadership on how to manage their workforce, how to produce and add value to the little that they have so they can earn a lot more from their venture and then customer care, for in entrepreneurship, we believe that the customer is the boss.

The Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP), if well managed can be a savior to millions of Ugandan Youth and will help to transform lives as well as the country.  I know that all hope is not lost.

The writer is the Founder/ Executive Director Youth Agriculturalists Fraternity and YAFRA Green Initiative


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