By Watchdog reporter

A project to connect Ugandan youth to jobs and mentorship opportunities has been launched in Kampala. Youth Connekt project was launched by Mr Pius Bigirimana, the permanent secretary in the ministry of Gender, Culture and Social Development at an event attended by youthful innovators and entrepreneurs.

Mr Bigirimana lauded the project and promised to throw government support behind it. Youth Connekt, an idea copied from Rwanda where it has been successful, helps youth get a headway in life by connecting them to opportunities such as meeting potential employers, mentors, and other aspirations.

Mr Bigirimana who has championed the youth livelihood project which he says has benefited more than 140,000 youth and 10,000 projects, told listening young people at Imperial Royale Hotel that the need for interventions to solve challenges facing the youth is paramount.

However, he pointed out that the problem of Uganda was not the big population of youth but the fact that they are not self-reliant. The PS however cautioned young people from producing children irresponsibly.

He called upon birth control mechanisms for future generations while the government tackled the challenges of a young population today.

Ms Rosa Malango, UN resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative said the project was grounded on three pillars namely; staying together, being accountable and thinking big.

In Uganda, Youth Connekt connect young people to their role models, peers, resources, skills, and economic opportunities.

Ms Malango also added that through YouthConnekt, young people will improve their skills set, change their mindset and engage each other to create and take up opportunities.

“Youth have limited opprtunties for practical skills acquisitions and viable employment, and poor access to health and social services,” the UNDP boss observed in her speech, observing that over 78% of Uganda were under 30, which means “initiatives that empower youth to realize their potential” were in high demand.

Youth Connekt is being supported by the Ministry of Gender, UN agencies, Reach a Hand and Outbox. UNDP has partnered with Outbox, a youth innovation hub to develop an online youth innovators platform that will allow youth to share their innovative ideas as well as link them to role models and funding institutions.

Among activities YouthConnekt will be doing include youth hangouts, bootcamps, awards, youth convention and a holiday programs.

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