By E K Benj
Updated at 21:10 GMT Sunday 2nd May 21
Grace Ssubi, 27 a resident of Ggita, Gayaza in Wakiso has made significant of the concluded United Nations Women in Leadership Mentoring Youth Workshop organised under a Theme: “Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World” at the residence of H.E. Rosa Malango, the UN Resident Coordinator and Designated Official for Security on 23 April 2021 in Kololo. This was to wrap up events of 2021 International Women’s Day which was celebrated on 08th March.
Speaker after speaker carefully selected high profile women in leadership inspired the young women who were joined by members of the Youth Coalition for SDGs.
These included Dr. Barbara Buyondo, Chief Executive Officer, Uganda Women’s Entrepreneur’s Association Limited (UWEAL) & Founder, CEO Victorious Schools, Dr. Albert Byamugisha, Head of the SDG Secretariat, Ms. Manuela P. Mulondo, CEO & Founder, The Cradle, Uganda Communications Comission – UCC boss Eng Irene Kaggwa Ssewankambo, UNDP Team Leader, Rule of Law & Democracy Ms Annet Mpabulungi Wakabi, Hon Victoria Ssekitoleko, Vice Chair of the Private Sector Foundation (PSF) and former Agriculture Minister, Ms Adekemi Ndieli UN Women Uganda Deputy Country Representative, Hollywood Ugandan Actress Engineer Nana Hill Kagga Macpherson, Ms Pheona Nabaasa Wall President Uganda Law Society, Ms Shane G Musanase Treasurer Uganda Law Society among others.
The Women Leaders Mentoring Youth was organised by the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment with support from UN Women and UNDP.
The morning session was conducted by Donald Rukanga and Maurine Tukahirwa, members of the Youth Coalition for SDGs who were the MCs.
The afternoon panel of discussion which was live on NBS TV for 3 hours was moderated by renown journalist Mildred Tuhaise.
View more images here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2048990731909504&type=3
In her remarks, Ms Malango and on behalf of the UN Family in Uganda welcomed the Women Leaders Mentoring Youth, which was conceived by the Youth Coalition as one of the activities to mark Women’s Month.
She noted that the United Nations encourages and empowers youth through youth-led organisations to participate as key players in translating the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda into local, national and regional policy. Far from being mere beneficiaries of the SDGs, youth continue being active architects in implementation, follow-up and review of the SDGs.
It is against this background that in United Nations System in Uganda in partnership with the Government formed the Youth Coalition of SDGs. The initiative is composed of over 30 youth-led organizations and companies countrywide supporting Governments’ programmes to towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The Youth Coalition was formed during preparation for the UN Day and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Awareness Month held in October 2019. Youth-led organisations which were all actively involved in contributing to achieving SDGs were brought together under the auspices of the National SDG Secretariat within the Office of the Prime Minister.
“Since then, I have mentored members of Youth Coalition for SDGs by ensuring that representatives from the coalition were involved in key activities of the UN system in Uganda including online consultations in the preparation of the UN Emergency Appeal for response to COVID-19 and its impacts in Uganda in March and April 2020, preparation on the National Voluntary Report on Progress towards the achievement of the SDGs from April to June 2020 and preparation of the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2021 – 2025.” Rosa said. “I also ensure that whenever I go on a field mission, the youth are part of my delegation and participate alongside me in radio and television talk shows to rally youth to contribute to achieving the SDGs.”
The youth partner with other youth entities in the regions to show-case their work and contribution to SDGs and they participate in media activities including radio and television talk shows to rally youth to contribute to the achievement the SDGs as enshrined in the National Development Plan III and Uganda’s Vision 2040. The coalition also participated in #Peace1stUganda campaign to promote peace in Uganda before, during and after the elections; this included developing content and supporting dissemination as well as undertaking workshops, online debates, concerts and art exhibitions to reduce hate messaging and nurture a national conversation around peace.
Malango emphasises that the youth are not just silent observers of the political processes but are critical players. However, for them to meaningfully participate in the political process they need to embrace the values that hold us as a society. Integrity, transparency, unity and empathy are critical values enshrined in our African traditional values, Obutubulamu, the UN charter, the Uganda Constitution among other instruments that regulate human interactions.Youth have a role to play in promoting good citizenship by being law abiding and respecting the rule of law, appreciating that while the law grants them freedoms, the freedoms come with responsibilities. Youths have a role to place in all the 17 SDGs and in Uganda
The coalition currently has 5 thematic groups: Human Capital Development; Climate Action and Environmental Conservation; Sports for Development; Gender Equality and Women Empowerment; and Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Every year, the month of March is dedicated to women across the world. It is a month to recognize how far we have come towards gender equality (SDG 5), and also how far we have left to go. While there has been notable progress, women still face significant cultural, socio-economic and political challenges. Women and girls are taking the lead in many fields but many more are still held back by so-called cultural norms and societal expectations, in their families and communities, at school and in the workplace. Women are encouraged to fight back, but how can they, without the right tools? Malango asked.
The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded these issues in profound ways; amplifying the daily inequalities they face. In Uganda, like elsewhere in the world, gender-based violence became the “shadow pandemic”. Cases of Gender-based Violence (GBV) and Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) shot up drastically. The economic challenges of the pandemic have been faced by women who are at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic, but at the same time bearing the brunt of its consequences – dealing with loss of lives, jobs and still needing to somehow hold the centre, as things fall apart. With new challenges where older ones were still present, the big question is how these young women can still be part of the quest to achieve an equal future, as well as what young men need to know and how they can play an equally important role in this.
“Not only is there a need to address the already existent challenges, there is also a requirement to get a new lens on the new dimensions that COVID-19 has set in.” She said.
Young women and men, the growing crop of Uganda’s leaders, need to see how best to steer the conversation on Gender Equality to a path that ensures that it will be achieved. According to the Youth Coalition, this is best done as an inter-generational and inter-gender discourse where the youth can hear from those who were in the arena before them and also have the country’s leaders listen to their own views.
It is against this background that the coalition organised this mentoring session by Women in Leadership, Business and Science to cover a broad spectrum of the SDGs, but with a special focus on youth empowerment, women in leadership and ending Violence Against Women and Girls. The objective of the session was to highlight issues and experiences affecting women and girls, especially in a COVID-19 world and discuss the role of women’s access to leadership in securing a more equal COVID-19 world and to provide an opportunity for mentorship of young women and men to lead community and national development processes, including through Gender Equality. The expected outcome was a clear statement from the youth on their experiences, perceptions on Gender Equality, Violence Against Women and Girls, and commitments on actions.
What Grace Ssubi is saying.
Speaking to HICGI News Agency, Grace Ssubi has said It was indeed an opportunity to be part of the delegation that represented Heal The Planet Global Organisation in Special Consultative Status with UN for the young women mentorship program.
Ms Ssubi says;
In the fight to advocate for women’s rights and equal opportunities, one should remember that you are your biggest barrier. There are certain things you do that trigger people to treat you a certain way so stop thinking that men treat you differently from their fellow men.
*You can’t allow someone to determine your future because of what they say, do to you or think about you so step up.
*Don’t wait for men to empower you. Work hard, empower yourself and the man who loves you will find you where you are.
* Women should stop being self- censored .The commonest example of this is when women are advised to apply for jobs that are advertised, they look at the job description and tend to hold back if they don’t meet one requirement.
On the other hand, when men realize that even when they meet only one requirement, they build on that and it becomes their strong point.
*Have self acceptance. It will help you discover what you can do best. Be sure of who you are.
*Being challenged is okay. To win it, struggle without a fight.
* Know what you want and stick to it.
* If you want something good to happen to you, be prepared. Things don’t come by luck; equip yourself. Read hard, make research, sacrifice your sleep, get out of your comfort zone. It takes hard work, confidence and courage.
*Work hard and don’t expect to be given. Don’t ask for money, look for knowledge and skills and money will come by itself. Every successful individual has a tough story. Things don’t come on a silver plate.
*Don’t cherish your beauty. Beauty alone without hard work and brains is meaningless.
*If you must shout to be heard, do it. Fight for your rights.
*Know your brand.
What’s your calling?
*Leverage knowledge and skills.
*Want something to do, dream it, do it.
*Dare to dream and have a plan for your life.
*As you rise, rise with others.
*Create a network.
* Don’t be committed to work alone. Find time for your family, otherwise you will fall apart.
*Pregnancy is not sickness. You should not use pregnancy as a defence mechanism to dodge work.
* Life should have a meaningful for you. Have your own values and stick to them.
*Even when the storm comes, keep going.
* Parents should invest equally in all children.
*Have confidence. What ever men can do, you can do and can do better.
*Call on God to help you make a right decision.