Truly Ugandan Youths are more vulnerable with covid-19. Uganda has the youngest youth population in the world, with 77% of its total population being under 30 years of age. However, 83% of this population is unemployed. This rate is even higher for those who have formal degrees and particularly live in urban areas. This is due to the disconnection between the degree achieved and the vocational skills needed for the jobs that are in demand for workers.
Very Few have managed to start very small businesses in Uganda, given that 5.8% of Ugandan Youth are self-employed.
As Uganda grapples with the second wave of the deadly Covid-19, the youth remain in a more precarious position in sustaining their livelihoods and their families. Given that even the employed youth, 90.9 % of them work in the informal employment/sector.
Previously when World Health Organization announced the outbreak of the pandemic, young people were already feeling the pinch of the increasing cost of living and lowly staggering paying jobs.
It is important to note that many youths specifically those in Uganda, have been hit harder by the second wave of the virus that has seen the Ugandan government impose new lockdowns to curb the further spread.
Much as lockdowns present an opportunity to limit community spread, the population continues to struggle to stay alive and also meet the costs of living in a critically closed economy.
Although young people are seen as the future of Uganda’s workforce and economic transition envisaged in the 2030 goal of a middle-income status economy, the government has overlooked the youth especially when it comes to relief provision.
The disadvantage is that ignoring the plight of the vulnerable youth could further cripple their transition into a productive labor market.
Role of youth
Additionally, the decent-work agenda laid out in the UN General Assembly in September 2015, which particularly aimed at achieving a fair globalization and also poverty reduction by having productive employment. Has further continued to exist as a dream.
Government through the prime ministers’ office promised to support vulnerable people with cash through mobile money during this second wave. The proposal seems to be well thought and vital in saving vulnerable citizens.
The country faced the second lockdown on 18th June and the government promised 100,000 Ugx (25$) to support the vulnerable. This has not been received up to now due to bureaucracies in the government systems. In addition, a cluster of questions remains unanswered. Among which is “what happens to the vulnerable youth that is not listed among the beneficiaries?”
Ugandan Youths are more vulnerable with covid-19, given the 2nd lockdown
With people locked up at home with no food, desperate families have resorted to offering their children for marriage. The youth especially young women have resorted to walking out of homes to fighting police on the streets.
Many businesses will remain shut while a few operating will register low returns. With this, Uganda’s economy is headed towards a total recession if nothing is done. The government needs a more robust counter approach to harmonize the effect of two lockdowns in less than two years.
Research has pointed that the impact of the pandemic on the youth will be long-term. This is simply because many have been disconnected from work and school.
A very small fraction of the employed youth is moving back to operate online. One would wonder how they will learn the necessary skills needed to thrive in the workplace and meaningful careers.
And also develop meaningful, rewarding, and successful careers, if their only experiences are happening from the living rooms?
With a large section unemployed, the majority remain stranded dying of hunger and other diseases, rather than Covid.
As the world races with producing and developing effective vaccines, policymakers charged with the responsibility of responding to the pandemic’s economic crisis need to address the young adults’ predicament.
In the short term, we are reaching out to desperate families in slums as we distribute the little food.
Feel free to share what you have with desperate families especially youth. Donate
We are further creating a fund to provide business startup capital and revolving funds through group savings, targeting the youth.
The fact remains that many youths are in desperate need of support to mitigate the recession induced by the pandemic.
Absent policy action to provide immediate relief and reinvestment in the young people will set back their economic future. Together we can have the youth survive in this time and beyond since Ugandan Youths are more vulnerable with covid-19. Comment with your suggestions and opinions.