About 400 young people are expected to benefit from services to be offered at the newly refurbished Apala One Stop Youth Center in Alebtong, north of Uganda. Working in collaboration with the Government, COMESA Secretariat and partners namely Save the Children, Horn of Africa Youth Network and Epuka Ugaidi launched the Center located in Moroto County about 450km from Kampala on Thursday 21 December 2023.
It has been equipped with ten high tech computers, one printer and a 55-inch television set. Renovation works included replacing roofing sheets and providing furniture at a combined cost of USD$80,000. Through the partners, more than 3, 000 books have been mobilized and stocked in the information center.
Speaking at the launch in Alebtong, Uganda’s Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development Hon. Betty Amongi commended COMESA and partners for the gesture which she said would greatly help the young people in the community.
She said her government would work with the local leaders to ensure that the renovated facility is supported and expanded to ensure that it offers more services to the young people in Alebtong and surrounding areas.
“The launch we are witnessing today is very important and will go a long way in keeping our young people engaged in various developmental skills which will help them become productive and contribute positively to society,” said Hon. Amongi. She was represented by the National Youth Council Chairperson of Uganda Mr Jacob Eyeru.
Prior to the launch, the youth leadership from the county participated in a three-day training in governance and center management, procurement operations and strategy, communications, community engagement and social sustainability among other topics.
The Ugandan government, regional partners and the local community all agreed that the establishment of the Apala One-Stop Youth Hub signified a pivotal milestone, providing youth with a tangible space for active engagement in peace-building efforts.
COMESA Secretariat was represented by the incoming Head of the Governance, Peace and Security Unit Dr Oita Etyang who reiterated the organisation’s commitment to working with young people.
“I would like to assure you that this is not the end of our support. As COMESA, we are committed to see this center thrive so that it can be replicated in other countries to save young people,” He added “beyond collective impact, this hub fosters community, empowerment, skill-building, mentorship and leadership development and it will lay the groundwork for a resilient future,”
Save the Children Thematic Head -for Children Affected by Armed Conflict in Eastern and Southern Africa Programme Mr Anthony Njoroge called on the young people and community at large to guard the facility jealously and put it to good use.
Kevin Waigwa – the Director at Epuka Ugaidi a youth-based civil-society Organisation encouraged the young people to focus on building a better future for themselves by utilizing the new facility and gaining the needed skills.
The launch event was attended by a diverse audience which included civic leaders, local youth, district policymakers, community representatives and the general public.
The Apala One-Stop Youth Hub’s launch heralds a new era of youth empowerment, promising a brighter, more harmonious future for Uganda.
A few months back, the partners working with the National Youth Council of Uganda conducted training for the youth in Apala on Silencing the Guns Campaign.