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Former Warriors Want Startup Capital After Vocational Training :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Former Warriors Want Startup Capital After Vocational Training

Emmanuel Kere from Karenga district who trained in welding and metal fabrication told URN that he grew up in cattle raids and changing his mind to believe that there are alternatives to making money was not easy.
Karimojong graduates in the vocational skill at Karamoja Zonal industrial Hub

Audio 5

Former warriors have requested the government for startup capital to help them launch their own projects after graduating with various skills from the Karamoja zonal industrial hub. On Friday, 178 youths from nine districts in Karamoja sub-region graduated from Karamoja zonal industrial hub after completing six months of training on vocational skills including tailoring, welding, metal fabrication, carpentry, joinery, and hairdressing.

Emmanuel Kere from Karenga district who trained in welding and metal fabrication told URN that he grew up in cattle raids and changing his mind to believe that there are alternatives to making money was not easy. Kere said the vocational skills were a magic bullet to change his mindset but the biggest barrier is the starting capital to enable him to buy his own equipment for the project.

‘’Leaving a warrior hood life was not easy for me, even when I was through with my course here I used to get a lot of temptation of going back to the bush but I endured until now I’m a changed man,’’ Kere reiterated. He appealed to the government to provide them with starting capital to enable them to implement what they have learned to help them transform the community.

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Sharon Hellen Akiteng from Moroto municipality who obtained a certificate in tailoring and garment cutting said that the skills she has learned will help her to create job opportunities for herself and make money that will support the family.

Akiteng said if the government could consider giving them equipment for a startup, it would help to attract other warriors who are still skeptical about the project. ‘’Our lives have already changed, but for the warriors to believe that skilling is the way to go, then they have to see from us who have started but only if we are supported at least with something small just to motivate us," Akiteng said.

She said the project will turn into a laughing stock should they fail to transform after skilling because there is no capital for starting.

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Joseph Lorika, a student of Carpentry and joinery from Moroto district said they are going to be the change agents in the community so that their brothers who are still trapped in the bushes can learn from them. He noted that although they have given them certificates for skilling, there is a possibility of the knowledge disappearing if not put into practice.

Lorika says cattle are no longer there that they could sell to buy tools for work.

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Paul Lotee Komol, the Kotido LC V chairperson, said that as a district they have long been lobbying for the skilling program for the reformed warriors in order to change their mindset. Komol said skilling reformed warriors will help to shape them to be good members of the community who promote peace. Komol also urged the government to increase the number of students admitted from 20 per district to at least 100 so that the programs can spread rapidly.

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Raymond Kamugisha, the Director of the presidential project and industrial hub revealed that this is the first graduation for the Karamoja sub-region. He explained that the reformed warriors who underwent the skilling program have transformed and are ready to serve the country.

Kamugisha said they have managed to change the zone that used to be a crossing point for armed warriors to a skilling center where the warriors can be skilled and transformed. He said that students who have obtained level one certificates can still come back and upgrade to level two and beyond.

Denis Okori, the Napak Resident District Commissioner, said there are people in Karamoja who have never been to school and now being certified through skills is a game changer to the young generation in the region. Okori is optimistic that the youth who attained vocational skills can never get stranded in life because they use their own skills at hand to make money. He said the skilling program is going to give the country the much-needed human resource that is going to answer the strategic social economic transformation that is being looked at by the president.

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Jane Barekye, the Statehouse Comptroller who was the chief guest at the function noted that the president thought it wise to introduce the skilling program that will help to rehabilitate the youth and change their mindset by enrolling them into various vocational training. 

Barekye urged the local leaders to continue sensitizing the communities to embrace the program and urged those who graduated to lead by example to transform society. ''Go and encourage those former warriors to join the initiative so that they could be part of Uganda's socio-economic transformation agenda,'' Barekye said.

Karamoja Industrial Hub in Napak district is one of the 21 Zonal industrial hubs constructed in all the sub-regions across the country by the Statehouse under the presidential initiative on skilling.