In rural Uganda there is a generation of young women and men who are the first in their family to go to school. Most do not have jobs.

Oluka Robert at his home in Ocelekur Village in Kalaki District. He holds a Bachelor of Development Studies degree from Ndejje University. Since joining our mentoring programme and since loosing his livelihood due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, he has returned back to his ancestral village, where he is establishing a money-lending social enterprise. There are no banks in Kalaki District, nor in the neighbouring Kaberamaido District. The banks nearest to his village are in Soroti District; over 40 kms away, but may take over two hours to get there due to the poor road network and insufficient public transport. Read more on Robert’s Money Lending Business.

Many also participate in local institutions: churches, courts, committees. What changes are poorer, educated, often unemployed youth bringing to these institutions?

Okello Jimmy Ezra at a roving market at Amugu Trading Center doing his business of selling shoes. He holds a Bachelor of Management Science degree from Kyambogo University and he is a beneficiary of our mentoring programme. His ancestral village is Atwar in Nambweso Sub-County in Ayabi County in Kwania District; but he currently resides with his sister in Lira City. He is a double orphan, both his parents passed away.

What ways does their participation reconfigure gender issues? What concepts and categories do youth use to understand what they are doing?

Opolo James at his ICT shop at Lumumba in Lira City. He holds a Bachelor of ICT degree from Gulu University and he is a beneficiary of our mentoring programme. His ancestral village is Abukot Cell in Amolatar Town Council in Kioga County in Amolatar District; but he currently resides in Lira City. Read more about the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic positively impacted Opolo’s ICT business.

Available  research on education focuses on learning outcomes and economic impact, or on spread of modern attitudes among male urban youth. Much less is known about changes youth are bringing to rural communities.

Acio Sharon Enon at her retail shop at Ireda Shamba Village in Lira District; which village she resides. However, her ancestral village is Olaya in Akalo Sub-County in Kole County in Kole District. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from Kampala International University and she is a beneficiary of our mentoring programme.

Our research programme is designed with and by young people, and in partnership with a Ugandan community organisation.

Adoch Dorah Komakech at her hair salon at Uhuru Bar in Lira City. Whereas, she lives in Kakoge A in Ojwina Division in Lira City, her ancestral village is Bobi Central in Kitugum-Matidi Sub-County in Cwaa East County in Kitgum District. She holds a Diploma in Law from the Law Development Centre, Kampala and is a beneficiary of our mentoring programme.

Through an interdisciplinary approach that brings the voices of young people centre stage, we examine participation in local institutions to challenge understandings of  youth, education and unemployment.

Alum Vicky at her home in Ireda Shamba Village in Lira District. However, her ancestral village is Amolatar Acon in Amolatar District. She describes herself as a “business person dealing in second hand clothes.” She has a space in the Lira City Bus Park, from whence she trades. She holds a Bachelor in Development Studies degree from Kampala International University and she is a beneficiary of our mentoring programme.

Other than image captions, the text herein above is the abstract for our research project: “Challenging categories: educated unemployed youth as institutional innovators in rural Uganda.”

Gumkit Ann Parlaker at her shoe shop at Uhuru Bar in Lira City. Whereas, she lives in Kakoge A in Ojwina Division in Lira City, her ancestral village is Bobi Central in Kitugum-Matidi Sub-County in Cwaa East County in Kitgum District. She is a student at Lira University, pursuing studies (on the weekend programme) for the award of a Bachelor in Public Administration and Management degree. She is a beneficiary of our mentoring programme and is also our Volunteer Administrative Assistant based at our Lira Learning Centre.

Funded by the British Academy, our challenging categories research project will start in April 2021 and will be implemented through to December 2022, if all goes well. It was initially planned for April 2020 to December 2021, but our plans were disrupted by the breakout and rapid spread worldwide of the highly infectious and deadly coronavirus COVID-19.

The Principal Investigator for our challenging categories research project is Dr. Ben Jones, of the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom. We expect him to arrive in Uganda this month, March 2021. He will spend long stretches of time in Teso and Lango conducting field research; training young innovators under our mentorship; and coordinating the project research team.

Under the mentorship and supervision of our Managing Director, Ms. Norah Owaraga, eight young innovators, unemployed university graduates from disadvantaged communities of the Greater Northern Uganda, who are beneficiaries of our project: “Mentoring young adults into innovators against poverty,” will be selected and they will be part of our challenging categories project research team.

Ms. Norah Owaraga, CPAR Uganda Managing Director and Mr. Philip Luswata, Consultant at Amugu Trading Centre in Lira District, conducting field visits.

The images herein are of young innovators that may be selected to be a part of our challenging categories research team. All the images in this post were taken by Mr. Emmanuel Owaraga, who is part of the team of Mr. Philip Luswata, the Consultant with whom we are entering into partnership to provide additional support and mentoring of our young innovators. Read more on why our partnership with Mr. Luswata.

“The sky is the limit on this one. It is really inspiring to learn how these young people choose focus ahead of ego, even with their great University degrees, to make sure that they unearth success from wherever it is.”

Mr. Philip Luswata observed, following field visits with beneficiaries of our mentoring programme that he and his team carried out together with our Managing Director.

9 thoughts on “Challenging categories: educated unemployed youth as institutional innovators in rural Uganda

  1. It was a great honour having CPAR team visiting the young adult innovators in their respective business places. When the team came to my ICT shop in Lumumba, Lira city, the community around were wondering what was happening, they saw huge cameras, new faces, movements and actions taking place inside the shop and outside making me to respond to many questions after the exercise from the commit. But I simply told them those are team of experts making follow-ups on us whom they trained in business management!

    From home, my parents were happy as some seedlings were purchased and they earned some money that morning. They were happy for me as I made them proud as people in neighborhood saw camera interviews live from home and others were saying they use to see only on TV but it was live/physically that day.

    The field visit also made me realized that CPAR has long term plans for changing the communities in Northern Uganda and Uganda at large, but it’s just a matter of time. I urge my fellow beneficiaries to work hard as we shouldn’t wait to be employed by others but rather focus much on strengthening the small businesses we have started to expand and we recruit people in nearby future, in that context we shall be offering job opportunities to members of our communities as well giving them services hence economic empowerment and reduction in poverty shall be realize.

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  2. Its really a great pleasure to be apart of the innovators team,I almost gave up but when I got introduced to CPAR ,I became more courageous after attending atraining on the cashflow it made me learn a lot n also helped me improve on my savings, money discipline and recordings in my business,whereas for the field visit I gained a lot of confidence and communication skills and also interpersonal skills,all thanks to CPAR’S field team,am looking forward to more of those field visits and hopefully working together as a team for the betterment of our community most esp the disadvantaged unemployed educated youth

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “I would love to be do something for my community ” was my dream but did not know exactly what it was
    CPAR UG LTD has done it for me by helping me achieve that dream of being an inspiration to members of my community . The experience during the field visit at my shop and home in kakoge by CPAR UG LTD was amazingly beautiful. I feel blessed to be part of this life changing journey and hoping for the best .

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Am really humbled to be part of the Young Adults being mentored by Cpar Uganda Ltd, Appreciation to the Management Team that came to visit me at my shoes business at AMUGU Trading Center.
    It made me feel like am doing what is of great value both to me and my community at large because some of my friends who are also unemployed graduates update are inspired with what am doing and they’re yet to start their own businessess too.

    Liked by 2 people

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