Lira City Council has in collaboration with Plan International
Uganda launched a project worth Shillings 7.9Bn aimed at changing the mindset of
people to develop a safe and inclusive city. The project that will be implemented in Kampala and Lira seeks to ensure that the cities are ever safe for adolescents
and the youth especially girls through building their knowledge and skills to
be able to influence decision-making and ensuring that they have access to
sexual and reproductive health services.
It will also create opportunities for decent jobs for young
people and build the capacity of the young people's movement to make sure they
become formidable civil society organizations. Casiano Kansime, the Urban program manager for Plan
International Uganda explained that Lira City was chosen because it has not got
many development challenges.
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According to Kansime, the project will work with the youths between
18 to 30 years from the most vulnerable groups such as drug and sex addicts and
street children among others.
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He is, however, worried that high expectations from community
members, and resistance may affect the implementation of the project.
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Morris Chris Ongom, the Chairperson of Lira City Development Forum who
doubles as Chief Executive Officer at GLOFORD, an NGO which will be implementing the project in Lira City, says that many times youths
have been left to work alone and in most cases end up wasting their lives. Ongom believes that with this new project, young people
stand a chance of having a better life and becoming a productive group.
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Haggard Oluma, the male youth councilor in Lira City Council
supported the idea of dialoguing with the youths, saying for development to be
achieved, youths should be at the forefront of such a program. “For any project for young people to be successful, the
youth themselves should be at the forefront for them to feel and believe that
the project is theirs," he said.
Martin Odur, the president of Lira City Ghetto youth; a group
of young people living on the streets of Lira City is excited about this
project, saying the government had ignored the Ghetto youths on the ground that they
are bad people. But this, he says will be a great opportunity for them to showcase their potential and show to the world what they are capable of doing for
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Lawrence Egole, the Lira Resident City Commissioner who
blamed the ghetto youths for crimes within the City called upon them to embrace
this project because they have the energy to spur development. Adding that Lira
should be a safe City for everybody including drunkards who fall asleep at the
“We want a Lira City
where somebody gets drunk, falls by the roadside, sleeps there, and wakes up
in the morning to find his 20,000/- still inside his pocket. We can have this
if our own children can accept this project as what will help them reform," Egole said.
The Safe and Inclusive Cities project is being funded by the
Ministry of Foreign affairs of Denmark through Plan International Uganda. Other
countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe are also implementing the same