YOU OWE YOUR COUNTRY- Lessons from YALI RLC Summit

By: Cerinah Nalwoga

The YALI RLC regional summit in Uganda was held two weeks ago, thank God my request to attend was approved. I was excited to be part of these young change-makers but I did not know what to expect. I arrived at the venue much earlier than anyone else, and as my job is  ‘business Development’ I started talking to the youth around to learn more about what they do, how they do it and their plans for the future.

I am writing this piece is so that you too can share in what I  learned at the summit regarding jobs, start-ups, and entrepreneurship.

I come from Uganda, a country with a high percentage of youth between 15 and 35 years.The literacy levels in the urban areas are high though that does not rule out the low levels of literacy in the rural areas. In a summit like YALE RLC, you can only find literate and urban youth. Uganda’s high unemployment levels have awakened the youth to entrepreneurship.This comes in to help curb the unemployment levels.The youth have ideas, however so many do not know how to develop the ideas and make them work.

One speaker mentioned that the youth ought to stop expecting the government to give them jobs, however they should provide jobs for others.She mentioned that the youth owe the country a lot. The country has educated you, fed you, given you infrastructure and bettered your health by the provision of better health facilities, now its time for you to give back to the country.

As a youth, you should not depend on the government for jobs otherwise  you are going to be frustrated. There are no jobs in our country for the young people, the majority of the jobs are for the elderly. As the old adage goes, the old broom sweeps better as it knows all corners.But does this mean we should not wake up and do anything for the current situation?No!Look at all sectors in the country and fix your self somewhere, if you studied Agriculture, fix your self in the agricultural sector and find out what the problems are in the sector and how can you solve them?

Professor Maggie Kigozi, who was one of the speakers of the evening advised the youth to learn to share information.If you learn something, share it with a colleague. Perhaps this is the very reason why I have written this article. Do not be only a taker, be a giver.Most youth want to learn from others but do not want to teach others. If you are the taker, time will come when people will avoid you.be willing to share information. If you know how to use a certain device, teach a friend how, if you learn anything, teach it to others. By this you empower others.

Prof Maggie also mentioned that ‘if you are working for public service, do not use your common sense but follow the rules set before you’many people who apply their common sence in public service end up messing up things, so in public service common sence is not common. Intuitionally , I would say, in any start up, Common sense is the key.if one is going to sustain business from a start up to a scale up, you need common sense.I work with a Start up called Milima technologies Uganda in which our core services are website

I work with a Startup called Milima technologies Uganda in which our core services are website development, software development, network design and deployment and cyber security. Previously we were buying hosting space for our clients from one of the hosting companies, but recently I advised the team to buy a reseller account and decided to buy space so we could host for our clients. Now, this saved us a lot of money and hey, we will be earning some profits from our reseller accounts..we used our common sence and information sharing.I have all this financial knowledge, if I do not share it with my collegues, it does not only affect me but affect us  as a company.

Victor Ochen was one of the speakers, Victor won the Noblepeace prize in the nation.He runs an organization in the northern region, a region which is under rehabilitation after 26 years of war.Victor is an ambassador for peace.Victor says he applied for YALI RLC but failed to go through, however that did not stop him from achieving his goals.Victor advised the youth to be ambassadors for peace if they want the country to improve economically. Allow me to summarise victors statements ,’’  without relationship you can never make a change’ literally meaning, we need to network with as many people as you can, share your ideas with them.you never know who of them will make mention of your idea in their conversation, and this is the beginning of change in a community.

“Recognise other people so that you will be recognized” again this is eye opening, Many youth are helped by different people to make their ideas work, but they never recognize the people who make their idea big ideas. Think about those people who have made all efforts to have your ideas work and  recognize them, by so doing some one will recognize you for all your efforts and before long you will be the next big thing.

Joan mugenzi, a public speaker, a mentor and motivational speaker advised the youth to find their passions before they embarked on any entrepreneurial activity.I challenge you to find your passion.Do something you love and then start making money out of your passion. Once you find your passion, practice it and make sure you better your self at it.speak to people about what you are passionate about.Make sure you use your social media platforms to promote your self and soon you will be earning money out of your passion.Turn yourself into a brand and make sure the brand you are sells.

Finally as I conclude in a paragraph or two, I would like you to answer these questions.1)have you completed school? 2)whats your passion? 3) are you employed or looking for employment 4)what are you doing to become a better you?

Let me answer like this may be this will help you answer as well.

I am Cerinah, I finished my first diploma in textile engineering but now pursuing a certification in Chartered Accounting.I love to understand finance and its management that’s why I do ACCA, I offer financial advise to start up companies and I get paid for it. I am not looking for employment. My passion is writing.I always seek out opportunities to write so I can become a better.My desire is to see my start up firm scaling up.I read books, do a lot of research online to get knowledge in business development and writing so I can become a better business developer.

Remember the country owes you a lot, start helping your country to be economically better, you have all the abilities.dont wait for government, get up!

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