Understanding the context of the Youth Forward initiative in Uganda

Working and discussion papers
August 2016
Alexandra Lowe, Lukasz Marc, Warren Nyamugasira, Phionah Sanyu, Fletcher Tembo, with Anne Buffardi and Peace Nganwa

The context in which a programme operates can influence implementation efforts and outcomes. Using an Overseas Development Institute political economy analysis framework, this working paper explores the context of the Youth Forward initiative in Uganda. It first establishes the underlying cultural, political, economic and geographical factors, which still bear influence on Uganda today, and then identifies key stakeholder groups with influence on the initiative’s progress, to locate entry points for Youth Forward to influence and shape local dynamics.

Youth Forward focuses on economically disadvantaged young people, aged 15-24, living in Ghana and Uganda who are low income (living on less than $2 a day), out of school, unemployed or underemployed and moving through a transition point in their life.

Uganda has made remarkable economic progress in the past 25 years, but the consequences of its history of conflict, internal displacement, high population growth and unequal development are still felt today. Young people are at a particular disadvantage due to Uganda’s rapid population growth, which has resulted in high unemployment rates and prevents young people from acquiring skills and experience. This is made more difficult by low levels of development of industry and services, as well as the unique post-conflict environment of northern Uganda.