The US Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and Uganda’s Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development, has released a new study to inform its programming on youth-centered activities and policies. The YouthMap Uganda report, Navigating Challenges, Charting Hope, was launched at a conference on Adolescent and Youth Development held today in Kampala. The event was jointly hosted by the Research and Evaluation Unit of BRAC-Uganda, Improving Institutions for Growth of the University of Oxford, London School of Economics, and IYF. This is the second in a series of YouthMap assessments that IYF is conducting in eight countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The first report, on Senegal, was released in November 2011.

The meeting in Kampala brought together practitioners, researchers, and policy-makers, as well as young people from youth-led organizations in Uganda. Young people who played key roles in the YouthMap assessment as research assistants and peer review committee members also participated in the conference and shared their views, ideas and recommendations.

In April 2011, USAID funded IYF, FHI 360 and the Centre for Basic Research to conduct the YouthMap Uganda study, covering urban, rural, and peri-urban areas in twelve districts. More than 1,000 young people and 180 public, private, civil society and donor stakeholders participated in the study. YouthMap took a holistic approach to assessing the circumstances of Ugandan youth, detailing their challenges, hopes, and aspirations. The findings highlight the vulnerability of young Ugandans, especially those affected by conflict, HIV/AIDS, disabilities, or exposure to drugs and alcohol abuse. Despite these challenges, many young people spoke of their high energy, resilience, and strong desire to study, find work, and contribute to peace and development in their communities.

According to Commissioner Kyateka F. Mondo from Uganda’s Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, “The YouthMap assessment supported by USAID is particularly important because it captures the perspectives and voices of youth around the country on key issues related to education, employment, health and citizenship—which will help inform our future policies and initiatives impacting youth. There is no doubt,” he said, “that the assessment report is indeed one of our greatest achievements for the year 2011.”

Noting that more than 78 percent of Uganda’s population is under the age of 30, IYF President and CEO Bill Reese underscored the value of having the country’s young people engaged in helping to identify both the opportunities and challenges they face. “We are pleased to have had very active youth participation throughout the YouthMap assessment, and are grateful to the hundreds of young people who shared their time and insights with us,” he said. “This is the kind of information that is needed to ensure that Uganda’s youth have a real chance to achieve their dreams and chart their own futures.”

YouthMap is a four-year project designed to assess youth circumstances as well as support promising programs and practices in positive youth development in Sub-Saharan Africa. YouthMap is a project of Youth:Work, a five-year employability program implemented by IYF and funded by USAID through its Office of Urban Programs.

Read the YouthMap Uganda report, Navigating Challenges, Charting Hope.

Find information on IYF’s youth development programs in Sub-Saharan Africa.