Africa's population for 2021 is estimated to be about 1.374.5 billion of whom about 70% are under 35 years. This is the challenge and opportunity for Africa. According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Uganda's youth population (18 - 30) is about 8 million. Different sources estimate that 9 to 13.5 and youth unemployment rate in 2015 was 16.4%. According to the Palladium Group, "Uganda's national unemployment rate is 9.2%, while the unemployment rate for youth aged 18-30 is 13.3%......the unemployment statistics for Uganda are misleading. In reality, Ugandans, and especially young Ugandans, are highly likely to be underemployed, in precarious and non-rewarding work, or in jobs that cannot offer decent incomes. 83.5% of the Ugandan population aged between 15-29 work in informal jobs, and that figure is 10% higher for young women than men
Desperation and destitution is driving youth to crime, drugs, and militias that fuel the increasing vicious spiral of violence and instability in many African countries. It is not lack of opportunity, or just lack of jobs (though also recognised as a major challenge), but blindness to opportunity, a focus on white collar jobs produced by the education systems, and near absence of high-level competence in artisan work.
To address the youth unemployment challenge, a program of Rotary called Rotary Vijana Poa was started in Rotary year 2015/16 in Rotary District 9211 of Uganda and Tanzania. The Rotary Vijana Poa ("Youth are Cool") programme was piloted throughout Rotary District 9211 during 2016/17 as an initiative of then District Governor Robert Waggwa Nsibirwa. The Vijana Poa program is an initiative to support the young people (Vijana) so that they can have a proper attitude that will help them to get employed or develop their entrepreneurial skills to earn a living. Its approach is to provide school-to-work transition for graduates; to generate common sense enterprises for uneducated youth and school dropouts; and to establish youth mentoring and coaching village for equipping youth with employable and entrepreneurship skills.
Vision of the Initiative is: Every youth running a sustainable enterprise or being gainfully employed and the
Mission: To create opportunities where youth start, grow and sustain their enterprises, while enabling those seeking employment to become professional and productive
Problem statement (Relevance):
Youth unemployment in Uganda has been increasing for the past 10 years; the press has on several occasions reported cases of youth unemployment. In a special report in the Saturday Monitor, (August 21,2010) it was noted that almost 400.0000 students graduate from tertiary institutions every year only to compete for 18,000 government jobs created in the same period. However, during the launching of the World Development Report (2007) the deputy prime minister of Uganda, Hon. Henry Kajura also highlighted the seriousness of youth unemployment in Uganda. He said the labor force was growing at a rate of 3.4 per cent per annum "resulting in 390,000 new job seekers and yet about 8,120 jobs are available each year."
Mr. Kajura said Uganda's national unemployment rate stood at 3.2 percent while that of the youth stood at a whopping 22.3 percent. This may have been even higher considering that he was quoting statistics of 2003.The cases of unemployment among the keep increasing day by day hence the need to intervene in the challenges of un-employment among the youth.
The Republic of Uganda has one of the fastest growing populations in the world. The high population growth rate as well as the high fertility rate led to today's situation where more than 50 % of the population is below the age of 18. As a consequence of this high population growth, youth unemployment has risen sharply over the last number of years. But the high growth rate of the Ugandan population is not the only possible reason for the in-creased number of youth being unemployed. General poverty, an outdated education system and corruption are only some of the reasons that are often mentioned in connection with youth unemployment in Africa, and more specifically in Uganda
The Rotary Vijana Poa program is meant to introduce key interventions to initiated projects and internships to create employment, investing in training the youth and fund their enterprises: start common-sense enterprises, offer internships to youths and ensure that they can making a living, and be self-employed.
Objective of the project
The overall objective is to have Rotarians and Rotaractors in the District 9213 and their local, regional, and international networks, to bring together the combined strength of multiple thought, implementation, and funding partners to address this challenge through common sense approaches, and in so doing, start impacting the educational and skilling paradigms of Africa in a way that will trigger sustainable and violence-free development.
The specific objectives are;
i) Each participating club to support 10 unemployed youth [both educated and uneducated] to come alive to the immense opportunities around them from which they can engage to eke a living
ii) Each participating club to support 2 educated unemployed youth to transit from a "classroom" environment into the working world so that they can be recruited and retained by employers
iii) To provide a platform once a year bringing together alumni of RVP initiative and unemployed youth to get inspired on how to use common-sense approach to eke a living
iv) To create a pool of Master trainers of the coaching and mentorship circular on Mindset Change and Enterprise Development among volunteer Rotarians, Rotaractors and partners.