One of the challenges this country has is the disparity in terms of available jobs against the number of youths and this has created a lot of unemployment or underemployment among the young people. The youth in my area may have the creativity to innovate but lack the confidence to start, pushing them in other unsolicited behaviors like drug abuse, bad sexual activities that some get addicted to which further leads them away from a right path they should have taken had if they had the right guidance and motivation – highlights ; a local leader (LC5) of Iganga District where the Iganga Youth Day event takes place annually.

From his perspective as a leader he acknowledged that the event has been a big contributor to uplifting the confidence of the youths staying in Iganga as it brings different young people across the country to share inspiration, ideas and network with the ones they met in Iganga. Despite the fact that while many of them lack the capital to start their own initiatives, they have picked confidence, good networks and basic skills through the various learning experiences and entrepreneurial interactions incorporated within the activities that happen on Iganga Youth Day. Mr. Kayemba also appreciated Hangout Foundation for the efforts and all the investments they have incurred in making the event happen annually for the past 3 years since 2016.

I give a plus to the organizers of the event who have continuously put in efforts to bring Iganga Youth Day to my community and emphasized the sharing of start-up success stories, preaching the message of self-belief and confidence has played a big role in making the young people I lead to have hope that they can also be successful in whatever they believe in doing.

He then informed us that earlier on, very many young people would just redundantly refuse to do anything beneficial to their communities. They never had any motivation to collectively do a social cause for the good of those in their particular society and when the first Iganga Youth Day happened, very many youths were mobilized to participate in Iganga town cleaning. The exercise put together local leaders like Mr. Patrick the LC5 of the area, company owners, media personalities and young people that showed up for the event. He also mentioned that not only was it fun, it also opened the eyes and confidence of the young people in Iganga to start such activities that contribute to the good of the community. At the moment, so many youth groups have come into existence as a result of Iganga Youth day and they are continuously on the look out to be impactful in the area. “As a leader, I count that as an accomplishment for ever allowing to be part of Iganga Youth day and continuously allowing the event to be in an area I lead,” concludes Mr. Patrick.

We later informed him that this year 2019; we are looking towards creating sustainability in the impact we are creating by working towards doing long-term projects that equip young people with practical and soft skills through capacity building especially in the area of Leadership, Entrepreneurship and personal development. Upon hearing this, Mr. Kayemba Patrick pledged out of being very impressed with the idea to always be of support as much as he can.

Building your connections will provide you with an invaluable opportunity to best prepare for your career goals. It is important to remember that networking is a mutually beneficial process. You never know when your skills and resources can prove to be beneficial to others in your network.

From all my past Youth Day event engagements I boldly rate the event’s impact 10 on scale of 1-10. The event is and continues to grow as a networking opportunity for youth from all around the country, stresses Angelus Muhindo; a volunteer of Busoga Information Centre Network in Jinja.

He also adds that Iganga Youth Day serves as a time to show case how youths are working hard to create positive impact in their various communities.

After attending the Iganga Youth Day events since 2016, Sarah Mukoda enthusiastically informs us that she would continue showing up at the event for the years to come and also recommend her friends to join her simply because of the great networking platform and great opportunities the event creates.

Iganga Youth Day not only exposed me to a different youthful celebration experience with people from all over the country, it also opened a number of opportunities for me. From the various NGOs like 256 Youth Platform, Uganda Village Project among others that attended the event, I was lucky to have gotten two volunteer placements in those organizations and up to date; am grateful to the work experience I attained. Sara narrates.

She also adds that one of her friend she invited on Iganga Youth Day 2017 secured a job through a connection she made from the event.

In her last remarks she points out, “I continue to urge all the youth in and out of Iganga to come and make use of the opportunities and networks Iganga Youth Day unbridles.”

Iganga Youth Day is such a fulfilling event to the young people in Iganga Community; highlights Mutesi Josephine; Miss Earth Uganda.  She also adds that the events incorporate a sense of togetherness and socialization through the interaction and fun activities that are usually done as a celebration.

The different social causes like the charity walks, town cleaning and hospital donations that are part of the activities of the event continue to stand out for her in such a way that builds a culture doing good in one’s community and becomes part of you. The session where different youth leaders and local leaders come together to share ideas opened her mind on how she perceives different aspects of life and widened her knowledge on a number of things.

“Through Iganga Youth Day; I have made new friends, met new people, made meaningful interactions and have continued to get new ideas from the networks I got from the event. Remember; our Network is your Net worth,” remarks Miss Earth, Josephine Mutesi.

Kismat Ismail is one of the many young people whose face lightens up at the mention of Iganga Youth Day. To him, the event is a great platform for networking and taking out insights from different youth leaders who share lessons from their various journeys of starting/leading youth-led initiatives.

Ismail leads a community initiative; Nva Busoga Foundation, a charity working in Busoga region. The initiative mobilizes different young people to make donations of pads and clothes and other livelihood necessities to unprivileged rural communities in the region.

When asked how Hangout Foundation’s Iganga Youth Day event has impacted him, Kismat replied;

I value Iganga Youth Day because I have met so many differently skilled young people that have advised, supported and walked with me the journey of growing my community initiative at the event. I am encouraging all my friends not to miss the event this year so that just like me, they can also connect to the meaningful network of young people Iganga Youth Day creates annually.