Youth minister urges girls to be self-reliant

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By Shamim Saad

The Youth and Children Affairs state minister Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, has launched a $100,000 (about 368.5m) vulnerable girls’ apprenticeship programme which will help them find work or start small businesses. Sixty vulnerable young women in and around Kampala will benefit from the programme. While launching the programme at the Holiday Express Hotel in Kampala recently, Nakiwala cautioned young girls to stop thinking they will rely on men for upkeep, saying it comes at a cost.

She noted that many girls spend most of their time on social media chatting with men which diverts them from productive work. “Change your mind set and stop relying on men’s money and work hard. Those men you date on social media will use and dump you and at the end it is you who faces the consequences of single motherhood,” Nakiwala said.

She also called for serious and urgent interventions to empower young girls to know they can stand on their own and meaningfully contribute to the country’s economic development. “It is important to understand that empowering them right from when they are young through education, teaching them about their rights and how to defend themselves through the right avenues, contributes to an empowered girl which benefi ts all in future,” she noted.

The one year programme implemented by TechnoServe is funded by Citi foundation a non-profi t organisation owned by Citibank. The managing director of Citibank Uganda, Sarah Arapta, pledged more support towards young girls in the country. She said they will engage at least 10,000 volunteers to mentor, coach and act as role models to the young people they support in that programme.

“We must prioritise providing these talented young people with the skills, training and experience needed to thrive in the 21st Century. As the world becomes more urban, global and digital, cities can no longer overlook the importance of investing in youth, through Citi’s pathways to progress initiative we are committed to do just that,” Arapta said.

Arapta also added that following the success of second phase, that saw 83% of participants find paid employment or became selfemployed, they were encouraged to continue with phase three. The country manager of TechnoServe, Meralyn Mungereza, thanked Citibank supporting the apprenticeship. “I urge you to take this training seriously because there are many girls out there who would wish to be here, but do not have access. Use this opportunity wisely to acquire skill that will impact your life,” she told the participants.

 

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