Youth bargain to be heard, but are they responsible enough to call attention to the nation’s challenges, if given a chance to sit at the high table?
It is difficult to remember when Busoga wasn’t the portrait of Uganda’s devastating statistics; in maternal and neonatal mortality, in poverty, teenage pregnancies, education et-cetera. Busoga
Health Forum, in an endeavor to better the statistics laid a strategy on shaping the future of Busoga Region as it took initiative to empower the youths on personal responsibility, one of the cardinal disciplines to the success and development of a nation. Charity begins at home!
This happened on May 22, 2023 at Kaliro High School where the week-long Ekigangu Kya Busoga (loosely translates to Ekisakaate in the context of Buganda) was hosted by Obwa Kyabazinga Bwa Busoga (OBB). This initiative aimed to empower young girls and boys in rural areas, equipping them with essential life skills while nurturing a sense of responsibility into these future citizens and leaders.
In its objective to ensure a healthy people, Busoga Health Forum contributed to increasing awareness at the grassroot level. Dr Paul Waibale, a Board member of the Busoga Health Forum while at the Kigangu, spoke on the need for every individual to be proactive in shaping his/her health. This meant, for every attendee at the Kigangu, to start taking responsibility for their own life.
In his opening remarks to the youngsters, Dr Waibale emphasized education as the key out of poverty, and urged the young girls and boys at the Kigangu to pay attention to their education journey. He said that in the wake of an opportunity to attend class, “it is a choice to be the best and to be successful.”
While we all share the same classroom and education opportunities, it is up to us to determine our paths. Dr Waibale urged participants to be attentive, to seek understanding, and to refuse to settle for mediocrity. The resounding call was clear- they have the power to be the best versions of themselves. The choice to be exceptional lies in their hands, and the time to begin making that choice is now.
Meticulously crafted, the Kigangu presented a diverse range of activities designed to foster personal growth, promote cultural understanding, and instill a strong sense of responsibility. Owek. Dr Joyce Abaliwano Mulebeke, the Minister for Gender and social Development in Obwakyabazinga Bwa Busoga (OBB), mentioned an impressive aspect about this gathering, she said that the Kigangu, which runs about twice every year, aimed at empowering the family unit and that having an integrated program for the family is where this program is headed.
Dr Waibale supported, as the former’s words resonated well with the vision of Busoga Health Forum’s, which is why the Forum and OBB collaborated on this front. “If you don’t have a shared vision, your personal vision won’t be helpful to others,” warned Dr Waibale.
Responsibility of all family members, a crucial aspect of development whereas Busoga’s leadership arms work hard toward the development of the region, many times implementing empowerment initiatives that uphold human rights as a crucial factor for development, it is even more imperative that Busoga as a region pays attention to the aspect of Responsibility. Empowering the family unit must entail responsibility for all family members.
Owek. Dr. Joyce Abaliwano Mulebeke said, “If a girl is empowered and she’s given a cow when she happens to win on a project, she will leave it at home when she goes away to study. Her unempowered father and mother who might not recognize the economic value of the cow to the entire family could sell it off without consent from their daughter and never realize the cow could have benefitted them all.”
This is an example of irresponsibility and a consequence of having only one empowered member of the family.
“We have to see that human rights and responsibility don’t clash. They have to see eye-to-eye. These will build a strong fabric.
We are trying to see that we build strong families in Busoga with the scarce resources we have,” said Owek. Dr. Abaliwano.
This is where the efforts of OBB and Busoga Health Forum complement each other. Busoga Health Forum is using the community growth model to improve health and livelihoods in Busoga. Dr Waibale, addressing the enthusiastic participants who’d gathered together from every corner of Busoga’s communities, spoke on leadership, health, divinity and reminded them not to be confined by societal expectations but to embrace their faith and find solace in a world where freedom abounds. Education, having emerged as the key to overcoming poverty and ignorance, stood as an essential tool for personal and societal transformation.
The young girls and boys at the Kigangu were urged to recognize the immense power that lies within education, as it opens doors to opportunities and shapes minds, “We all have the opportunity in the same class, in the same school, to be what we want to be. Be attentive, understand, and do not settle for average.” he advised.
By increasing awareness at the grassroots level, Busoga Health Forum initiative sparked a transformative journey, empowering youth at the Kigangu to take responsibility for their own lives, livelihoods, and overall well-being. Emphasizing the significance of timely decision-making, Busoga Health Forum has paved the path for a natural selection process where early choices lead to better outcomes.
As it continues its mission to build a healthier society, Busoga Health Forum’s work serves as a reminder that personal responsibility and informed choices are the cornerstones of well-being. The impact of this initiative will extend far beyond the event itself, fueling a spirit of excellence and resilience within the hearts of Busoga’s youths.
The writer (Claire Zerida Balungi) is a staff of Busoga Health Forum and this content is published through a partnership with the Busoga Health Forum.
— This content is published in partnership with Busoga Health Forum