Life for young people in Uganda is not easy. Most are affected by poverty in varying degrees and this can change the way they approach problems or projects. Many are impacted by crime and are sometimes forced into it though their circumstances or lack of provision for them at home or by the state. Many are thinking to themselves whether they will become part of corruption or whether they will stand up against corruption. The youth in Uganda and Africa are the future and George Ayitte was very clear when he said that he believed that the youth were Cheetahs, who would “brook no corruption”. Most of Africa would like to see an end to corruption, yet those youth who would see a greater Uganda can sometimes be difficult to find. And even when they are found, they may have had too little exposure to technology or international affairs, that their opinions are, as yet, undeveloped. The voice of rural young people is even less represented, when it is clear that it is these young people are the ones that will an end to extreme poverty in Africa.
The Butterfly Project has been running since 2009 and has been training up young people to have the confidence to stand up for what they believe in. Members have been trained in modern technology and how to think and problem-solve. Others have been nurtured through being given new skills or an ability to present themselves and their views. In 2010, some were chosen to represent youth in Kampala in a variety of subjects from HIV/AIDS to positive living, as part of a special project supported by IrishAid.Until now, those working in Uganda have had little opportunity to research the impact that funded projects would have on children prior to implementation, or even had an opportunity to research why projects have failed or why cultures are creating barriers to change in Uganda, from the perspective of children. From May 2012, the Chrysalis Community Panel will be able to offer these services to anyone interested in selling products to youth or who somehow provide a benefit of some kind to young people.
The panel is made up of specially-chosen young people, that are used to liaising with adults on an equivalent level and who have the confidence to speak their minds. All members have been trained in ICT and have experienced some of what can be offered in modern Uganda. They have been trained in vision development and some have their own village development plan which they have been working on. Most have their own social projects, which they are implementing alongside school and these could ICT training, dance and drama and many others. Take a look at what some of the Panel Members are thinking and saying:
Chrysalis has around 24 panel members, around half living in rural and remote rural areas and the remainder have grown up living in disadvantaged slum districts. Those requesting a panel can have a blend or specifically request urban or rural groups.
While there is a charge to hiring this specialist panel, money earned will go towards the education of the young people, not just at school, but at the Chrysalis Centre for Children’s Empowerment in Kireka, Kampala. The youngest members on the panel are 13 years old and the oldest is 19, though the vast majority are in the 14-16 age group. Also, most members are attending Senior School.
The panel members can participate in workshops, questionnaire research, new product development workshops, strategy development and vision workshops. Members could trial a product and feed back or simply give independent ideas on proposed grant funding. The members have experience working with a number of international organisations and individuals and have been involved in a range of research activity already to date.
Chrysalis Limited will also recruit new members of the panel over time.
There is more information about the Chrysalis Youth Panel here.