European Union Ambassador visits Kampala Slums project, reiterates support for youth


February 15, 2019

 

The Head of the European Union Delegation to Uganda, Ambassador Attilio Pacifici, has reiterated the EU’s commitment to support Uganda get the most out of its youthful population. Speaking in Bwaise, a slum area of Kampala, the ambassador said Uganda’s combination of the youngest population in the world and a high unemployment rate raised the risk of challenges such as radicalization and violent extremism.

He was speaking at the AFFCAD Business and Vocational Institute, which is supported by the project Strengthening Social Cohesion and Stability in Slum Populations (SSCoS), funded by the European Union Trust Fund for Africa.

The SSCoS project aims to tackle the root causes of radicalization and violent extremism in informal settlements. It is implemented in four city slums by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, working with partners such as the non-governmental organization AFFCAD (Action for Fundamental Change and Development), YARID, KCCA, KiBO Foundation and Uganda Police Force.

The ambassador’s maiden visit to SSCoS also featured a representative of the deputy premier of Buganda traditional kingdom; IOM Uganda Chief of Mission Ali Abdi; Deputy Director of Counter Terrorism Police David Wasswa; the local division mayor and town clerk, as well as AFFCAD officials and project beneficiaries. The visitors inspected an exhibition of products produced by beneficiaries of tailoring, cookery, leather design, electrical installations and cosmetology training. Later, they took a walk through the slums to appreciate the realities of slum life.

About the project attracting the interest of the influential Buganda kingdom, Ambassador Pacifici said: “Social marginalization and violent extremism are our common enemies. They steal youths' minds and bodies, damage families, communities and entire societies, depriving all of us of resources crucial to our advancement.”

For his part, the representative of Buganda kingdom, Anthony Wamala, said the kingdom was ready to partner with the European Union to advance the cause of preventing radicalization.
The ambassador listed various initiatives specifically on youth skilling and employment that the EU has supported in Uganda since 2012, amounting to more than 17.3 million euros.

According to Counter Terrorism Police Director David Wasswa, by integrating socio-economic support for business start-ups, the SSCoS project model has boosted the Force’s own efforts to get communities to reject radicalization. Not only does the project encourage people to “get off the streets”, it gives them a viable alternative, for example small business start-up capital.

IOM Uganda Chief of Mission thanked the European Union for supporting the project and challenged those present to support the project beneficiaries, for instance by employing them and buying their products. One of the project beneficiaries of graphic design now produces business cards for IOM.