With over 78% of the country’s total population below the age of 30 years, Uganda is the world’s second youngest population after the 83% of Niger. It is the most youthful country in East Africa, with most youth in Kampala, Uganda’s capital.
The Youth in Kampala are individuals between the age of 18 and 35 years and its totally undeniable that the country’s growth is highly staked at the success of these young people. The youth population in Uganda features both the skilled or educated and the unskilled.
Some of the youth live in rural areas, and with these ones, life is a bit okay because they might have some small plots of land from their parents or relatives for farming. The major challenge is with the youth in Kampala with its high costs of living.
Unfortunately, several youth are migrating to Kampala, thinking that life in the city is way much better. Ignorantly, they start their own journeys to daily hustles of the city.
With the continued political conflicts, illiteracy and other problems that the country is still struggling with, hopelessness, desperation and disempowerment have become the major challenges of a Ugandan youth, particularly the urban youths.
Unemployment, restlessness and criminality are almost becoming the order of the youth in Kampala. Probably because of the increasing troubles of the country that make it very hard for a youth to get a job or attain education.
The youth in Kampala fill up the city very early in the morning to start placing their bets on various games. Just to test their luck at the end of the matches. Unfortunately several youth in Kampala have lost their business capital, tuition and pocket money in this. So a person who betted with his capital is left jobless.
Having betted his only 5000 Uganda shillings that he had, he now continues to his work place, maybe a salon, cloths shop, restaurants, arcades, petrol stations, phone repair shops or even a bus/taxi park. Remember that at the end of the day, if he is lucky, he will win some amount, but if not, he will have to walk back home. That is the life of a youth in Kampala, living on probability.
Those going to salons, suffer the challenge of having to stand by the roadside to call customers. Several girls stand outside grand corner plaza in Kampala central calling women, “sister saloon?” It’s a common phrase that these ladies use to ask girls passing by whether they want salon services, a day without a customer, is a wasted day without any pay.
Boys working in cloths shops, especially those both outside and inside park Enkadde Mall, still in Kampala central have to nearly force girls passing by to buy their clothes. Having to pull every passing girl’s hand, to drag her to their shop and buy something, ignorantly, they chase away the would be clients.
The ones in restaurants, especially girls, face all sorts of insults from men. The worst kind of disrespect that any girl would ever get is that which the girls that work in Kampala restaurants get. Having to walk miles of distance through five buildings, just to take only one plate of food so as to earn 500 Ugshs. Only to reach there, and she is abused why she delayed. Men touching her body the way they want, and just because she wants to keep the customer, she is entitled to just tolerate.
Besides those, there is also this category of the youth in Kampala, the ones who carry luggage. This is the most touching group, watching a young boy of about 20 years, carrying a baggage of about 200 kilograms, when he can barely walk and with red eyes, probably because the heavy weight that the load exerts on him. All this hustle, just for 2000 Ugshs. What kind of suffering would be more than that to a normal youth?
It is because of these difficulties that the youth in Kampala go through to put something in their pockets that is pushing them to resort to robbery, spamming and other sorts of criminality. Some frustrated youth in Kampala even resort to drug abuse, because it makes them forget about their hustles at least for a moment.
However, it’s not too late, we can still do something for these young energetic souls. Maybe all they need is guidance and awareness. Just to teach them how to be job creators, save their little money and empower them.
You can join the campaign to empower the youth in Kampala, help them live purposeful lives.