4-Year Project to Develop a Safe and Inclusive Lira City Launched

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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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 development.

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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 roadside.

“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 project.