Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC) recently embarked on a youth skilling program to help equip young people with different practical skills during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown period.
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 local foods such as the Buganda delicacy ‘Luwombo’.
The Heritage officer UNCC, Maureen Mutonyi, said that the training was done to equip the youths with 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 like transporting the girls but we managed to work out a way as we observed the Standard Operating Procedures.”
She urged youths not to despise 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 stressed.
Ugandan traditional folk musician, composer and dancer Annet Nandujja, who graced the occasion, commended the organizers for the job well done especially the skill in preparation of local, cultural dishes.
“Nowadays our children can barely cook such meals because they are used to take away junk foods. 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 further urged 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 participants have completed 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 noted that the skilling is not only for girls as she urged boys to also embrace such skilling programs.
“Even boys can learn how to make pads and sell them to earn a living,” she added.
Nabitaka Christine, one of the students, appreciated UNCC for coming up with these programs mostly while they were in the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.
“I thank UNCC for bringing such programs now I can be able to make bead necklaces and sell them during holidays when I 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.