Uganda Police and Makerere tour youth Enterprises in Kampala: CAES to provide technical expertise in a campaign to combat crime and unemployment among the youth
Uganda has a youthful population of about 60% most of them are unemployed and as such unable to afford basic needs like food, shelter, clothing and medical care. As the biblical saying goes, ‘An idle mind is a devils workshop’, the high crime rate in the country is partly attributed to unemployed youth who engage in crime as a last resort for survival.
To partly address the problem of youth unemployment and high crime rates, Uganda Police has launched a campaign to rehabilitate former youth criminals to lead a more useful life. This initiative is spearheaded by the Inspector General of Police Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura, who has taken community policing to another level by providing start-up capital to the youth to start small businesses.
On Thursday August 23, 2012, representatives of Uganda Police and Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) toured youth projects being piloted in Kampala district in areas of Kawempe, Nansana, Namungona and Kisenyi.
Ag Deputy Principal CAES Prof. Frank Kansiime and Head Department Agricultural Bio systems engineering Dr. William Kyamuhangire represented Makerere University while Capt. Peter Musherure the Project Coordinator Uganda Police and the DPC Kawempe Division Bakaleke Siraje toured on behalf of Uganda Police.
Dr. William Kyamuhangire, Prof. Frank Kansiime and DPC Kawempe speaking at the youth poultry project
The youth projects largely manned by converts from capital offenses like murder, robbery and drug addiction are being funded by Government of Uganda in collaboration with the Office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) as a strategy to combat crime and youth unemployment.
Project coordinator Uganda Police Capt. Peter Musherura said, Uganda police through the policy of Community policing embarked on identifying causes of crime in society and one of them was unemployed youth.
Poultry project belonging to the youth in Kawempe
“Youth were asked to submit their proposals and most of them were interested in agricultural related activities. The Youth at Kawempe were interested in Poultry and were supported financially to a tune of 10 million shillings but as time went on, they continued supporting them with feeds.” He said.
Among the beneficiaries is the Kawempe Youth Development Association currently involved in poultry keeping of over 3000 birds. The group got start up capital of 10million shillings from the Office of the IGP.
“We are involved in many projects like garbage collection and recycling, street cleaning, poultry. Many youths have been arrested and imprisoned but we have discovered that their problem is lack of what to do” Hassan Magoba - Chairperson Kawempe Youth Development Group said.
One of the youth feeding broiler chicken
The District Police Commander Kawempe Division said, the youth group has helped him and the entire police force to fight crime by taking a step ahead to recruit other youths engaged in criminal offenses and keeping them busy in poultry keeping.
“This is impressive and marvellous’ I thank the President and Inspector General of Police for this intervention. I call for more support to enable the group put up modern structures rates” Siraje Bakaleke, DPC Kawempe Police Station said.
Uganda police is partnering with Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Science (CAES) for technical assistance. The goal of the partnership is to increase the performance of youth enterprises, ensure higher returns to investments and guarantee self sufficiency.
Ag. Deputy Principal Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Prof. Frank Kansiime described the project as viable and successful and appreciated the members as energetic and highly interested in their project.
He observed that the group needed guidance to take right procedures in terms of feed mixing, vaccination, record keeping. He pledged the university commitment to support the project saying the university
“The University partnership with Uganda Police is part of our responsibility to take the university to the communities to offer outreach services. The university would like to discuss with the group to understand what they have been practicing and provide extension workers to give technical advice and services.” he said.
Capt. Peter Musherura (L) touring youth projects
In Namungona the youth under the umbrella group named ‘Lions Peoples Association’ are engaged in Welding, boda boda business and have acquired a laundry machine to provide laundry services. Most of the youth in this group were formally offenders involved in capital offenses like brutal murder, armed robbery, drug taking and trafficking and money forgery.
They are now reformed and working with police to identify youths involved in criminal acts, recruiting them in associations to do business and preaching the gospel of crime prevention.
Welding and Laundry projects in Namungona
In Nansana, the project has taken a gender balanced approach at Kyadondo Community Development Institute. The institute provides a number of training programs for both skilled and unskilled female youth upon which certificates are awarded on completion. The youth are trained in bridal dressing, fitting and make up, hair dressing and cosmetology, weaving and textiles fabrication, computer applications, adult education and basic literacy.
Youth engaged in salon and art work in Nansana
This initiative is the first of its kind in a pilot phase to address the root cause of high crime rates committed by the youth to make them more productive and useful citizens through joint efforts.