Iganga-based +256 Youth Platform has incorporated entrepreneurship in its programs as a way for the youth to earn a living following training under the MTN Youth Skilling Program.
Established in 2013, the non-profit, non-political, and voluntary organization mobilizes, engages, and empowers youth in the Busoga sub-region to address issues facing their local communities such as poverty and gender inequality, through various activities such as hip-hop and rap, boxers, kickboxing, and education support initiatives. Mohamed Mukalu, the director at the 256 said since the completion of the training, the youths organization has been able to change its model of operation.
“Over the years we have been doing charity work but that has since changed following my participation in the MTN Youth Skilling Program. I have passed on the information and knowledge gained during the training to other young people encouraging them to venture into business. So far, a group of kickboxers have now ventured into carpentry as a business,” he said.
Mukalu says he is proud to have participated in the training because it opened his mind to the see opportunities in his surroundings and he has embarked on recruiting his fellow youth to venture into business. He said the MTN Youth Skilling Program helped him to be recognized as a change agent in the Busoga sub-region and has since been added more responsibilities.
“I am now coordinating a youth secretariat for Busoga Muslim Community with more than 2000 mosques. I am training the young people in this region in matters of leadership and business,” Mukalu said.
“We realized that our people needed to indulge in some sort of production for commercial purposes to improve their lives.” He appreciated MTN Uganda for coming up with a youth program that will forever transform the lives of youth. Bruno Oluka, the team leader at Ubunifu Systems that implemented the project, said he believes the skills acquired are very essential for the youth to start and run businesses.
“This has been one of a kind opportunity and I believe the skills acquired should be able to help participants in their lives and that of their communities,” he said. Bryan Mbasa, senior manager at MTN Uganda Foundation said they are proud of the success recorded in the course of implementing the program that has not only empowered the youths but transformed their lives. “The youths constitute the largest percentage of our population and there’s a need to equip them with the necessary skills required in this 21st century to thrive and contribute to this economy,” he said.
MTN Foundation Uganda launched its Youth Empowerment skilling program under the foundation arm of youth empowerment in 2020 benefiting at least 100 out of 1,993 youth who submitted applications in preparation for the evolving digital world in
response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program implemented in partnership with Ubunifu systems, a software development
firm based in Uganda, involved three phases including the International Certificate of Digital Literacy which is recognized in various countries around the world.
The second phase centred on technical skilling which included finance, accounting, human resources, and sales among others, and the final phase covered incubation and pitching. MTN Uganda has over the years committed to integrating the youth into its programs as a measure to empower them economically. The telecom company in 2019 invited the youth to develop applications that use MTN MoMo APIs, to monetize both consumer and business opportunities digitally with winners rewarded.