Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC) recently embarked on the youth skilling program to help equip young people with different practical skills that can help them survive periods of economic hardship such as the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
The training was done in segments from July to September and the youths showcased their products at the Heritage exhibition function over the weekend at Nommo gallery.
The girls were taught how to make different items like necklaces and earrings using beads, mats, reusable pads and how to prepare the traditional locally made food termed as ‘Luwombo’.
The Heritage officer UNCC Maureen Mutonyi said that the training was done to equip the youths in different skills which can help them in the future.
“We trained them in four different courses and the girls were really excited.
We tried to keep them busy in this period of the pandemic and they have learnt a few skills,” she said
Mutonyi added: “The training had challenges due to the pandemic. Transporting the girls but we managed to work out a way as we observed the standard operating proceedures(SOPs).”
She urged youths not to despise our culture and embrace it because it can help them earn a living.
“Youth should know that our culture is rich, we can love our culture, learn from it and also market it. White color jobs are not the only jobs that one can earn a living from,” she said
Ugandan traditional folk musician, composer and dancer Annet Nandujja who graced the occasion was treated to a samptuous meal which left her singing praises.
“Nowadays our children can barely cook such meals because they are used to take away junk foods yet it is very relevant to teach them how to prepare food the traditional way. I tasted the Luwombo dish and it was very delicious,” she said
Nandujja also urged these institutes and organisations that come up with such educational programs for both the girls and boys to continuously do a follow up even after the kids are done with their courses.
“We need to get sponsors to fund these programs and ensure that the skills these youths acquire don’t go to waste,” she said
Mutonyi added that the skilling is not only for girls as she urged boys to also embrace these skilling programs.
“Even boys can learn how to make pads and sell them to earn a living,” she added
Christine Nabitaka , one of the students, appreciated UNCC for coming up with these programs mostly while they were locked down at home due to the pandemic.
“I thank UNCC for bringing such programs now i can be able to make bead necklaces and sell them during holidays when am not at school,” she said
UNCC Partnered with Teenz Uganda to organize youths from the community and trained a total of 10 kids.
Skilling of the girl child in Uganda is among many other initiatives which the government has put in place to address the problem of unemployment and poverty among youth; especially those who are vulnerable like young mothers and school dropouts that are unable to go for further studies due to various challenges.