The “Youth Engaged Program II” was launched on 30th September 2015 at Kawempe Youth Centre run by CEDA International. The event attracted over 128 youth and 235 invited guests including government representatives, representatives from youth and women organizations, banks, media and private companies. Among the dignitaries in attendance were Mr. Fagil Mandy from the Education Sector and Ms. Nabukenya Deborah Mercy-the Resident District Counselor Kawempe Division, Julia Kirya, Advisor Financial Literacy & Consumer Protection, Agricultural and Rural Finance Programme at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Assistant Representative from United Nations Population Fund-UNFPA.

The ceremony was presided over by Owek. Hajji Muhammod Sekimpi, the 2nd Deputy Katikiro of the Buganda Kingdom. In his speech, the Guest of Honour congratulated the youth upon being selected for the program and urged them commit their efforts in order to get skills that will transform their lives and communities. He specifically requested them to stay focused, know who they are, believe in themselves and change the image people have about young Muslims.

Key highlights of the event were the two testimonies from the past beneficiaries. Abdul-Basit Mulinde shared how the training and mentorship equipped him with skills that have enabled him to confidently run for a leadership position as the Local Council Counselor for Kawempe East in the forthcoming elections in March 2016. Prossy Nakirya shared how she had translated the vocational skilled in Art and Crafts into a Jewelry business that has enabled her to save enough money to back to school to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree at Kampala International University. She has also “paid it forward” by training 10 single mothers in her community in Jinja; these women have also started their own businesses.

The Youth Engaged Program” that caters for the growing number of unemployed Muslim youth aged 18-30 years in Kawempe Division. This is an area that has densely populated slums that harbor youth who are unemployed and unskilled. The centre provides the young people with a sense of community and purpose in setting up economic incentives that are a strong motivator for participation in violence.

Funded by the Solidarity Fund of Islamic Corporation for Development of the Private Sector (ICD), the program aims at equipping 300 Youth (200 male/100 Female with leadership, employment and entrepreneurship skills that will enable them to positively transform their lives and at the same time positively impact their communities socially, economically and politically.

Each cohort of youth will go through four months of intensive technical and Vocational skills development in the areas of tailoring and fashion designing, art and crafts, baking and cooking, hair and beauty, urban agriculture, videography and photography. Such skills will enable the youth to gain critical practical life skills that easily translate into income generating activities that are sustainable in their communities. The youth will also be equipped with communication skills, community dialogue skills, business planning, employment skills, financial literacy and computer skills. During the program, the Mentors will guide the youth through an innovative curriculum in personal and principled community Leadership and Mentoring that include applying theoretical and practical skills to design and start social enterprises in their communities. At completion of the program the youth will be empowered to become economically independent, socially responsible and politically active. The mentored youth will be connected to experienced positive role models for practical work experience, apprenticeship and Business Incubation.

The fresh, bold and innovative project in human capital development will equip young Muslims with 21st Century Skills to enable them transform their thinking, take charge of their lives, lead change and make positive social impact in their communities. It will increase their employability, employ themselves, employ other youth and become positive role models for other youth in their communities.