Youth political dialogues and Young Leaders Forum
In Uganda, young people make up the majority of the population. Behind this numerical advantage lies the potential to influence the political direction and support democratic change in the country. Paradoxically, youth participation in many political organisations is minimal and insignificant due to nepotism and undemocratic structures. The lack of possibilities for participation and limited perspectives often result in political apathy and a retreat into private engagements instead of voluntary public activity that pursues the common good.
To support a more active role of the youth, FES-Uganda in 2008 developed the Young Leaders Training Programme (YLTP) where youths were trained on various aspects of leadership and current political and socio-economic affairs. Many of the graduates are now actively involved in politics and are shaping the direction of their institutions and communities. In 2014 the YLTP was renamed the Young Leaders Forum (YLF) and the curriculum was revamped after evaluating the previous intakes. The reworked YLF offers eight multidisciplinary, mostly thematic and participatory modules that cover areas of politics, constitutionalism and human rights, public administration, economics, social affairs, media and communication. Each year the programme brings together around 25 competitively selected young adults from different backgrounds such as political parties, governmental offices, NGOs, and trade unions. The main objective of the programme is to broaden and deepen the knowledge and skills of young adults in support of their involvement in the political, social or socioeconomic affairs of the country. The aim is to promote capable and responsible leaders who play a significant role in the democratic and socially just transformation of their institutions and their country. In addition, the programme intends to further networking among current participants and YLTP/YLF alumni.
In addition to the YLF, FES from time to time runs and support political youth dialogues and forums for young people to reflect upon and debate political topics. The annual Uganda Press Photo Award (UPPA) offers an opportunity for young (photo) journalists and journalism students to critically and innovatively debate the societal role of the media, improve their skills and showcase their work.