Thousands of youths have today flocked the nine centers of the Presidential Initiative on Skilling the Girl/Boy Child (PISGBC) to register under the program.
The nine skilling centers are spread across the five divisions of Kampala City namely; Nakawa, Makindye, Kampala Central, Rubaga and Kawempe.
Dr. Hillary Musoke Kisanja, the Private Secretary to H.E the President of Uganda for the Youth, in Agriculture, Value Addition and Export Promotion, revealed that the high number of youths who want to register for the Presidential initiative shows that they have really embraced the program.
“We have so far registered about 5,000 youth in the nine skilling centers and this number might even exceed our expectations,” Dr. Kisanja said earlier today.
He also advised Ugandans not to politicise the skilling program, noting that the President aims at transforming the lives of young people and that the initiative targets enterprises that are focused on import substitution like tailoring, carpentry, among others.
“Our President is trying to form a formidable force of young Ugandans who are going to help him into that war of liberating the economy of Uganda. We are therefore happy with the turn up, the local councils who have recommended these students and the parents who have desisted from politicking and decided to come and join this initiative,” he said.
Dr. Kisanja further noted that so far, thousands of the vulnerable youth have benefited from this program and have testified that it has been a game changer in their lives.
“We skill young people in different vocational fields such as carpentry, embroidery, knitting, electronics , shoe-making, construction and many others. We are to add new skilling programs as requested by the President, for example the ceramics skilling,” he said.
Dr. Kisanja added that the program is strictly for the vulnerable youth in Kampala.
Currently, the program is being implemented in nine (9) centers which include: Wandegeya Market, Mulago Community Hall, Mutundwe-All Saints Church of Uganda and Nakulabye-Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church.
Other centres include Luzira at Luzira Prisons, Subway-Crested Towers roundabout, Wabigalo– Wabigalo Parish Community Hall, Kigoowa-Ntinda, Butikirwa Parish Catholic Church, and Kikoni- Makerere Community Hall.
Dr. Kisanja further appealed to politicians to desist from using the youth in their political games but rather guide them into the right path of developing their country through engaging in productive activities.
“Do not take them into demonstrations, let them come and join different initiatives that are geared at empowering them to see that they become productive, responsible citizens and contribute to the development of Uganda,” he said.
“Unfortunately, there were saboteurs in Wabigalo who were saying that the skilling center had been closed by KCCA. There were some people who were manipulated by self-seekers who wanted to take over the Wabigalo center. This facility belongs to the community, we are therefore in very good cooperation with the parish leaders, and I ask all Ugandans to desist from this false information.”
On the other hand, the Special Presidential Assistant on Education and Skilling who also serves as the Project Head, Dr. Faith Katana Mirembe said that there are many vulnerable youths in Kampala, something which has resulted into escalated immoral acts such as drug abuse and increased crime rates. But she noted that the skilling initiative will help in dealing with such challenges by transforming the lives of the youth.
“These youths are practically skilled to produce a product. What develops a country is to produce either a good or a service. This is what skilling is about and this is what we are aiming at,” she said.
“There is no qualification needed for these students since most of them are street kids and from the ghetto. The only requirement is for them to be between 16 to 35 years of age. We feed these students free of charge, we give them materials to use , everything is catered for by the State House and we also have very excellent instructors.”
APPLICANTS SPEAK OUT
Ms. Berna Namara, expressed her gratitude towards the President for initiating this program which she described as a life changing opportunity to her as she embarks on this journey.
“I am excited to be here. I have just registered for the Embroidery course. As a mother who has struggled financially, I have come here to venture into something that I believe will transform my life. I advise my fellow women that it is not too late to change your story and it is through such programs that make it brighter,” the 31-year-old mother of five said.
Namara, a resident of Namere village, in Mpererwe Parish, Kawempe Division said that it is important that every youth embraces this government skilling program because it doesn’t only empower oneself but greatly impacts the society and country at large.
Mr. Ronald Achidri, a graduate of the presidential Initiative skilling program in 2021 brought with him eight street children to register for different courses.
“Today, I am a proud hairstylist working with Maggie beauty salon on Gayaza Road. Being a former street kid, I was more than motivated to gather my brothers from the streets to come and get skilled. I am who I am today because of this program so I have to ensure that thousands of youths also benefit,” he noted.
Ms. Monica Gloria Ayemirwoth, a Primary Seven drop-out, thanked President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for setting up the program, saying that it will change her life once she gets a chance to enroll.
In 2017, President Museveni initiated the project with an aim of empowering underprivileged youth in Kampala through skilling. Since inception, 35,728 students have enrolled in the project and early this month, 16,797 beneficiaries graduated from the program.
The training is structured as a six- month semester-based program, followed by certification through the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT).