By Chris Mugasha for New Vision
Over 121 youth from different higher institutions of learning and farms have been trained in practical agriculture skills.
Out of the graduates, 77 were trained as crop managers, while 44 got trained as plant doctors. Ninety four were females and 27 males.
The trainees graduated on Friday at IBO mixed farm in Bwizibwera Rwanyamahembe sub- county in Mbarara district, where the three months training was conducted from.
The training was funded by Association of Volunteers in International Service (AVSI) under the Skilling the Youth for Employment in Agri-business (SKY) project.
Among the topics they covered include symptom identification, how to confront disease breakouts among others.
“We have acquired the practical skills which we do not get from our institutions of learning,” said Asiimwe Mujuni, who graduated as a plant doctor.
“We are now able to advise farmers on how to break the cycle of certain diseases through crop rotation,” Mujuni added.
He said many farmers are using pesticides wrongly, an issue he attributed to lack of technical advice.
“Instead of the pesticides killing the pests, they (pesticides) end up damaging the crops,” Mujuni said.
Julius Turyahebwa, the (AVSI) team leader for the SKY project, said the institutions which are offering technical courses such as agriculture do not have the facilities to equip the youth better to become effective in the field.
By Paul Dennis for ugchristiannews.com
The number of orphans and otherwise parentless minors (aged between four and 17 years) in settlement centres including that of Palabek Ogili, Palabek Kal and Palabek Gem, all in Lamwo District, northern Uganda reached 2,000, an officer at the Association of Volunteers International Services (AVSI) told journalists recently.
Christian Communications Centre (CCC), a local non-governmental organisation has earmarked Shs350m to support children with special needs in the settlements above.
The organisation’s spokesman and project coordinator, Dr Francis Ogweng, told press a survey they did a week ago indicated that thousands of refugee children suffer without anyone to cater for their wellbeing or provide the required necessities in life.
“A shipment of eight containers is already on the way and we are just waiting for clearance from the OPM,” he explained, adding that solar lamps, beddings, cups, soap, clothing are among the items to be distributed.
According to UNICEF and UNHCR, the trauma, physical upheaval, fear and stress experienced by so many of these children account for just part of toll the crisis is exacting.
“That is why we are moving in to support them,” Dr Ogweng said.
Sources report that initially, these children were being given to foster parents to take care of them, but some parents have instead abandoned them.
“We are also in touch with some people back home in South Sudan who could be having information about these children,” Palabek Refugee Settlement commander, Mr David Wangwe said.
Elsewhere, the Palabek Ogili Sub-countychairperson, Mr Christopher Omal, told sources on Wednesday that the issue of unaccompanied children needs to be addressed immediately since they are now stealing food stuffs from the community farmlands.
UNHCR reported in May that inside South Sudan, more than 1,000 children have been killed or injured since fresh conflict erupted in 2013, while an estimated 1.14 million children have been internally displaced.
By Stephen Otage for www.allafrica.com
The United States Embassy in Kampala wants the government of Uganda to develop programs tailored towards addressing challenges faced by adolescent girls beyond providing free sanitary pads to them.
Mr. Mark Meassick, a director at the US Mission said Uganda needs to critically think about the plight of adolescent girls because they comprise the majority of the population; they have the highest HIV infection rates and they are the ones producing the highest number of children without any planning.
"Provide tailored attention to their needs. Help them to overcome all these obstacles because they deserve a chance like all Ugandans. In special circumstances, we should give a special package of chances," he said while passing out formerly vulnerable girls who have been empowered to fend for themselves without waiting for handouts.
Mr. John Makoha, the AVSI country representative said they are celebrating the success of the SCORE Project which did not give out handouts to girls but empowered about 30,000 lasses to increase their social security.
He said the beneficiaries can now start income generating projects which would enable them send their children to school and have stable families.
By Charlie Wood for www.csmonitor.com
What would you do with a modest paycheck that showed up monthly, regardless of employment: Retire early? Change careers? Open that business you’ve always dreamed about?
This question lies at the heart of the growingly popular but contentious topic of Universal Basic Income (UBI), which proposes replacing often inefficient social welfare programs with a guaranteed paycheck for all, enough to afford at least the basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing. It's a counter-intuitive income model that challenges assumptions about effective compassion and induced laziness, but amid fears of an automated future, more economists are starting to take a hard look.
This summer, Switzerland overwhelmingly rejected a UBI referendum, with almost 80 percent voting against it. “If you pay people to do nothing, they will do nothing,” Charles Wyplosz, an economics professor at the Geneva Graduate Institute, told AFP.
But is that necessarily the case? Some economists say a mounting body of evidence regarding a poverty-fighting tool called “cash transfers” may suggest otherwise.
Cash transfers are just what they sound like: a gift of capital, often from an NGO to members of a population living in poverty. Narrow in scope, they generally target groups of a few hundred to a thousand individuals with sums that fall between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars. Some are one-time lump sums, and others recur monthly for a time.
Proponents argue that cash transfers are effective for precisely the same reasons cash birthday gifts can be disappointing: they require almost no effort and often end up getting used on what the recipient needs, rather than what they desire. In these respects cash transfers resemble UBI with its flexibility and low overhead costs, although much more focused on helping people escape from poverty, rather than, say, surviving automation.
The Association of Volunteers in International Service (AVSI) Foundation gave a one-time transfer of $150, accompanied by four days of business skills training, to 15 of the poorest women in 120 Ugandan villages. Half of the 1,800 women received the cash transfer and training a year-and-a-half after the others. Comparing the group that received the money early with the one that received it later, research and poverty organization Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) concluded that the program had a “transformative” economic effect, with monthly income almost doubling, consumption increasing by a third, and savings tripling.
By Joshua Kato, www.newvision.co.ug, Uganda
Agriculture must be trained to the youth as a vocation if food security is to be enhanced across the country. “If Uganda is to cement food security, youth must be given a reason to engage in agriculture,” Hans Peter van der Woude, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
He was launching a dormitory that will house youth being trained in agriculture at Agromax recently. He pointed out that if young people are trained into embracing agriculture as a business, then the future of agriculture will be bright.
The dormitory was constructed in conjunction with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, AVSI and the SKY programme. According to Samuele Otim Rizzo, Chief of Party, SKY, the programme identifies gaps in agribusiness entities and then builds their capacity to deliver marketable skills to the youth.
By Faridhah Kulabako, newvision.co.ug, Uganda
Uganda needs to empower the youth to fully participate in the coffee value chain to increase productivity and meet the 20 million bag target by 2020, a stakeholder has said.
Joseph Nkandu, the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (Nucafe) executive director, said while the Government seeks to boost coffee exports from three million to 20 million bags annually by 2020, this will not be possible without empowering the youth to tap into the coffee sub-sector.
“We need to exploit the energies and innovativeness of the youth to boost coffee production to the 20 million bag target by 2020. Producing 20 million bags of coffee means that you have created over 10 million jobs for other unemployed youth,” Nkandu said on the sidelines of the Gayaza High School farm camp recently.
There is a new coffee Bill in offing that seeks to preserve the quality and boost coffee production from three million bags, where it has stagnated for about 20 years.
Currently, coffee buying and selling is governed under the Coffee Regulation 1994 and Coffee Development Authority (CDA) statute 1991.
Uganda exported 3.56 million bags of coffee, worth sh1.17 trillion ($352m) in the 2015/16 financial year running from July 2015 to June 2016, according to data from CDA, down from 3.44million bags the previous year, estimated at sh1.36 trillion ($409m).
Nkandu added that there is also need to change the negative attitude the youth have towards agriculture and encourage them to pursue it as a profession.
The farm camp was organised by Gayaza High School in partnership with Nucafe, Food and Agricultural Organisation and AVSI, a non-governmental organisation, to skill students from 35 schools across the country in how to run sustainable agribusiness enterprises.
Organised under the theme: “Skilling the youth for agribusiness and selfreliance”, the camp sought to change the mindset of the youth in schools about agriculture through exposure to agribusiness and training them in scientific approaches to agribusiness.
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