MADI-OKOLLO. A total of 160 young people from the five districts of Arua, Madi-Okollo, Nebbi, Pakwach and Zombo have been empowered with crucial vocational skills to create new sources of livelihoods following three months of intense training in agriculture and agribusiness-related areas.
The training in courses that included beekeeping, vegetable farming, poultry and piggery, was fully sponsored by Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) Youth Skilling Programme supported by the European Union. The programme targets to train a total of 1,300 youths selected from 41 districts in Northern Uganda.
At an award ceremony where certificates of completion were issued by the Franciscan Brothers ADRAA Agriculture College on January 20, 2023, the Minister of State for Northern Uganda Rehabilitation, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny, said: “Substantial progress and gains are being made to prioritize skilling of the youth across the country. I encourage you to apply the knowledge and skills acquired to start your own business. Indeed, with today’s graduation, we all consider you as an “agent of transformation”.
The Head of the European Union Delegation to Uganda, Ambassador Jan Sadek, stated: “The European Union is delighted to work with OPM to implement such an important programme. Offering opportunities to young Ugandans to gain crucial skills in the agriculture sector will have a direct impact on their employability, income and livelihoods. I trust that they will become role models for other young people who will benefit from their acquired knowledge.”
The Office of the Prime Minister awarded grant contracts to eight Technical Vocational Education Training Institutes (TVETs) last year to train a total of 1,300 youths selected from 41 districts in Northern Uganda in agriculture and agribusiness under the DINU Youth Skilling Programme.
The programme aims to empower youths in the targeted districts to create and start income-generating businesses in the agricultural sector.
According to the DINU National Programme Coordinator, Ms. Pamela Kabahesi, the contracted TVETs include ADRAA Agricultural College, Amelo Technical Institute, Lokopio Technical Institute, Amugu Agro Technical Institute, Ave Maria Vocational Training and Youth Development Centre, Kotido Technical Institute, Nakapiripirit Technical Institute, and Northern Uganda Youth Development Centre.
“With an intake of 160 youths to be trained from November 2022 to May 2023, each TVET was awarded a grant contract of approximately 50,000 EUR or Shs220 million to conduct the skills development and training programmes in key areas such as: horticulture, crop & animal husbandry, beekeeping, agro-input supply management, tree nursery operation and carpentry,” she said in a message delivered by the DINU Gulu Regional Programme Coordinator, Ms. Beatrice Arach.
She explained that the short-term vocational training programmes also include an apprenticeship and delivery of a set of start-up kits for the trained youth, enabling them to practice the acquired skills and to set-up and create small businesses.
The Principal of Franciscan Brothers ADRAA Agriculture College, Br. Charles Lagu, said the learners were selected following a rigorous selection criteria and that each of the five targeted districts was allocated 32 slots for qualifying students.
He hailed OPM and the EU for empowering the youth with skills and knowledge relevant to improve their livelihoods, saying the development will make them food and income secure.
“We always hear cases of some young people being exported as slaves. However, we are happy that the DINU Youth Skilling Programme has helped to save many youths from being prey to human traffickers and slavery,” he said.