The National Youth Council amidst blame games: A question of expectations!

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By Samuel Ogwal

Established on 1 November 1993, the National Youth Council (NYC) is the national coordinating agency for youth affairs in Uganda. It also facilitates international youth projects and activities. The council’s mission is to connect with Ugandan youths so that they are able to bring about positive change within their respective communities.

Since its establishment, the National Youth Council has been changing leadership every 5 years in line with the NYC Act cap 319 through a democratic and elective process. This same youth council structure provides a great opportunity for the youth to participate in the decision-making process at all levels.

As a way of enhancing youth participation in governance, NYC encourages the youth to actively engage the public through Civil Society Organizations. NYC has been responsible for encouraging the formation of several youth organizations in Uganda in line with it’s Mandate. It’s also required by the NYC act cap 319 to be responsible for ensuring coordination and communication between and among the youth NGOs.

In the world of leadership where the traits of accountability and personal responsibility are so highly regarded, I have one question? What’s with all the finger-pointing? One of my pet peeves is coming across youthful leaders of Uganda who think they’re always right, and that any problem or challenge that arises must clearly be the fault of someone else.

Leadership isn’t about blaming others, but realizing any blame levied should rest solely upon the leader. The best leaders will only point the finger at one person and that is non other than THEMSELVES. The truth of the matter is no victories are won by participating in the blame game.

Fellow youth leaders of Uganda should be very clear about their own expectations in NYC so as to protect their days off from the start and to keep it from getting interrupted by work. It’s always better to have the expectations clear, so you can decide if you’re willing to agree or not.

Fellow youth leaders, it’s important to note these leadership self assessment questions; What are the limits, the boundaries of your authority and autonomy? What are things you can decide for yourself and when do you need someone else’s permission? What meetings are you required to attend and how much time will this cost you? Are you expected to attend all youth events? Make sure you’re clear about this, because this can add up time wise. Maybe you could agree on attending all youth services but other events just once you’re invited. What do you expect from those who lead you? Be clear about how often you’d like to meet, what your expectations are concerning coaching and leadership in general and other expectations you have of your National leaders. What decisions would you like to be involved in?

In my experience, unclear expectations are a major source of conflict within National youth council, especially between youth leaders and the resourceful authority figures, but also between volunteers and youth workers. When both parties have different opinions on what’s expected of the youth leader, things can go south real fast. The frustrating thing for most youth leaders is that they don’t understand what’s causing the friction, because they don’t realize their own expectations don’t match with what others expect of them.

It is crucial when you start somewhere as youth leader, whether as volunteer or paid, that you ask specifically what is expected of you. Managing expectations from both sides can prevent a lot of problems and it will help you to make better, more informed decisions.

Youth leadership is the practice of teens exercising authority over themselves and others. Youth leadership has been elaborated upon as a theory of youth development in which young people gain skills and knowledge necessary to lead civic engagement, education reform and community organizing activities.

To remind fellow youth leaders allover the country, the role of we the youth is simply to renew, refresh and maintain. Youth have a role to renew and refresh the current status of our society including leadership, innovations, skills among others. As youth leaders we’re expected to advance the current technology, education, politics, peace of the country.

A sensitive youth leader will have so much to offer through being someone teenagers can approach without feeling judged or threatened. Youth leadership opportunities allow youth to grow in a positive environment that promotes personal growth. Leadership is also part of experiential learning.

As for the NYC Executive members, we’re determined to organize the youth of Uganda in a unified body, engage them in activities that are of benefit to them and the nation, not forgetting to protect the youth of Uganda against any kind of manipulation.

For God and my Country

The author is the Secretary for Finance-NYC

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