AYINET Resilient youths empowered through NSSF Program

There is wide acceptance of the high risk conditions of majority youths in the country, and more particularly among those living in post conflict areas; gambling and drug abuse and ever increasing criminality has fast grown into a norm. This could be attributed to the effects of violent conflict like displacement and trauma as many had already lost their parents and caretakers during the war upon returning home. Many of the youths, and children in these areas are involved in violent conflict, most of it being land disputes.

According Martin Okeng, the chairperson of Bango Bango Moko(BBM), an AYINET supported group, most youth used to spend most of their time in gambling activities like playing cards and drinking alcohol and less engaged in economic activities, so a few of them thought of forming a youth group so as to engage meaningfully in economic activities that would give them an alternative to gambling and idleness. In 2013 AYINET (African Youth Initiative Network) with support from USAID SAFE identified this youth group and equipped them further with peacebuilding, conflict mitigation and leadership skills.

The group went on to grow in number prompting the formation of a second group in the next year to work together. Group Dii Cwiny that was formed later has since worked closely also to promote productive youths engagements in the areas of peacebuilding in the communities through peaceful mediations of warring parties and economic development being involved in crop production and animal husbandry.

The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) is a National Saving Scheme mandated to provide social security services to private sector employees in Uganda. As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility programme, the NSSF undertook a series of community initiatives in fulfilment of its duty to contribute to the well-being of the community. Under the theme, “unlocking youth potential” in the Customer Connect week, The NSSF partnered with AYINET (African Youth Initiative Network) in identifying established youth groups with their needs and activities such that they can be supported and empowered further. Goat rearing in a fully built paddock, Bulls and ox-ploughs were chosen by the identified groups as it would expand their existing productive engagements and enhance productivity moving away from using hand hoes.

In a hand-over ceremony held in April 15, 2016 at Ngetta in Lira district, 30 goats with a fully built paddock, 4 oxen, 2 ox-ploughs and vaccines/treatments to the two youth groups of BBM and Di cwiny respectively at this remarkable occasion. The event was attended by the LC 3 of the parish, Sub county chief of Ngetta, the two youth groups, parents of the youth (elders) and representatives from NSSF and AYINET.

The LC 3 in his speech thanked NSSF for the great work towards the youths and contribution of AYINET who come to work directly with the community saying that if this project was to pass through the government channels it would not have reached the community. As a political leader he promised to be close and ensure this project given stands to benefit many people in the long run.

Mugabi Gerrard, NSSF, who was the Chief Guest of the occasion advised the youths,

“You now have the peace, health, land and goats, You need to work hard to chase poverty.”