On Wednesday May 24 2023 , the National Youth Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs ) Skills Development and building Workshop took place in Jinja. The famed Innovation Village along Main Street was the Venue for the workshop. A number of youths across Eastern Uganda converged for the prestigious event.
The SDGs Skilling Workshop is among a series of workshops that are being held across the Country. This is in preparation for the Uganda Annual SDGs Conference 2023 ( UASDGC23 ) . The Annual conference will take place in Kampala from 22-23 June 2023.
How the SDGs Skilling Workshops came About
As stated above, the workshops are a pre-amble to the UASDGC23 . The UASDGC23 was developed in 2022 to provide a platform for multi-sector participation in the review and validation of Uganda’s actions for accelerated delivery on SDGs and the Agenda 2063.
As a result, four workshops are bound to be held across Uganda’s four geographical regions. The first workshop took place in Western Uganda at Mbarara City on May 17 , 2023 . This was followed by the most recent one in Eastern Uganda in Jinja City at Innovation Village on May 24 , 2023.
Next , on May 31 all roads will lead to Mubende in Central Uganda for the third workshop. The Northern region will have the last of the Workshops that will be held in Lira City on June 7 , 2023.
What Transpired at the SDGs Workshop
To begin with , the Workshop began on a wrong note. By 8:15 AM when arrival and registration was bound to be nearing conclusion , most participants had not yet turned up.
Consequently, Mr Musinguzi Laban Joshua , the President of Youth Coalition for SGDs Uganda, acting as the moderator of the workshop made a joke about it . He said that perhaps setting 7:00 – 8:30 AM as arrival and registration time must have been a terrible idea.This made Mr . Omuya Noah , the Eastern Region Coordinator of Youth Coalition for SGDs Uganda to laugh uncomfortably as the host of the workshop. Most of Mr Omuya’s youths had come late a bit .
Giving welcoming remarks as the host , Mr Omuya encouraged youths to take part in the acceleration of SDGs in Uganda.He also called upon the Government to recognise the efforts of the youths who are voluntarily implementing SDGs even without the notice of government or other development partners.
Putting that aside, the workshop went on really well. The first Facilitator, Mr Bannet Asingura , talked about grant writing. A number of youths in the house confessed to the fact that that they have faced failure several times when they try to write grant proposals.
SDGs and Rel Life Experience
Later on , Dr . Bahikire Daraus came in to tackle topics pertaining unemployment and HIV/AIDs . He also talked about mental health. These vital topics were geared at sharing not only how they are related to SDGs but also real life experience that youths face.
Esaara Microfinance and Dependable Foundation Uganda, founder and Managing Director , Hope Mukundane, the only female Facilitator handled the topic of Financial literacy and entrepreneurship. She talked about why it’s vital to register one’s business and also ensure budgeting for everything .
Lastly, Mr Pascal Byarugaba , the SDG Secretariat from the Office of the Prime Minister came in to giving the closing remarks. Mr. Byarugaba said that he was aware that the youths needed money . Money to solve problems in their communities as well as fight poverty and unemployment.
In response to this expectation, Mr. Byarugaba informed the youths of the possibility of 3-4 youths with good innovative ideas/start-ups to be given some positive consideration and support.
Briefing from Bank of Uganda
Despite closing remarks being made , Mr . Musinguzi Laban Joshua requested youths to stay for a few more minutes. Mr. Alex Lwanja, the Deputy Director Agricultural Credit Facility division in Bank of Uganda had vital information to share about Agriculture Credit Fund ( ACF ) and Small Business Recovery Fund ( SBRF ) .
Speaking about the ACF , Mr Lwanja said this fund was set aside to give affordable credit to farmers and buyers of farm produce. However, certain regions in the country are not well informed about this.
As if not enough, even commercial Banks partnering with Bank of Uganda to run this project hide information from the people. The banks push forward their own loans of agriculture which in reality are asking much interest from the loans.
On the other hand, the SBRF is for each and every business person as long as they have collateral security. It should be noted that collateral does not have to be only land title as some people have been made to believe.
In conclusion, Mr Lwanja gave the youths this toll free number – 0800 144044 to call in case any commercial bank is attempting to deny them services regarding the ACF and SBRF.