Across all spheres, democracy is hardly told minus inclusivity. Arguably, when leadership falls short of the latter, it has lacked the most cardinal principle of governance. Whilst inclusivity is engaging all, little or no spaces/platforms are created to foster such, eventually, implementation is not effective, national problem-solving mechanisms don’t get yielding and challenges continue persisting.
For a country with over 78% of its population being youths, Uganda is burdened by the duty to listen to diversity in age, culture, religion, and mindset as not listening is nearly suppressing hence listening becoming nothing but a necessity for any qualitative leadership or governance. In response to the need, Global Platforms Uganda has since 2019 initiated and hosted the Democracy Festival where young people sit with a cross-section of duty bearers and reflect on trends, positives, and deficits regarding governance of the country and quality of public services.
In so doing, young people can amongst themselves and before duty bearer’s/stake holders discuss political ideologies and differences in a constructive manner, share social challenges coupled with the would-be remedies and as well, deliberate on economic empowerment that has been a breaking back and an unanswered prayer for young people across the Nation.
The democracy festival, among its objectives is to be a collective stage for amplifying voices of young people who over time have been trained in leadership, feminism, artivism humanitarian leadership and much more. Also, to be a platform for leaders to offer accountability on gender responsive public services. To support movement building among young people as a strategy for effecting social change including being a platform for various social movements/youths organizing to synergize their efforts in building strong democracy.
The necessity for such a platform has never been matched like in such times characterized by the adverse effects of COVID-19 including worsening the poverty situations, widening of the gender inequality gap, exposure of people to uncontrolled human rights violations and decreasing the reach and quality of public services.
With such a platform where voices of young people are heard and guided, where cries could be turned into productive movements, where young citizens could be inspired into greater advocates for social justice, where youths could be empowered with economic knowledge and much more, the democracy festival lives to be a standout in the Nation regarding address of issues relating to young people. Follow the #GPUgDemocracy for more details
BARYAMUJRA MAHAD; The writer is passionate about social justice