Civic Space Initiative

SGD Uganda considered the notion that young people, especially school going in high schools are disengaged from the formal political process and are not actively involved in the democratic institutions like the political parties structure and process and this limited involvement likely affects student participation as many players have not leveraged young people as capable players in the electoral democratic process. The challenges that limit students’ engagements in politics include limited platforms/opportunities to participate and many students in high schools are ignorant and lack knowledge about how to participate in the electoral process and not constructively exercising their civic power. However, the biggest noted barrier limiting students’ participation is their negative view of the politicians, with many feeling that they do not address issues that matter to them, viewing them untrustworthy, self-interested, and unrepresentative of the young people. The absence of democratic players reaching out to young people with accessible literature, promotional materials, leaflets, manuals and IEC materials and informational further affects their participation in the democratic life.

Promoting youth civic engagement is important because youth civic engagement leads to youth engagement, increases greater civic participation later in life. However, youth today are less likely than those in earlier generations to exhibit many important characteristics of citizenship, whereas many actors have worked to engage youth in positive opportunities for civic participation which is important for healthy youth development and for the health and performance of democracy. In spite of these efforts, according to a research study. “Theory of Change of Uganda’s Electoral Democracy, many young people are disengaged from the political process, young people are not part of political party process. Furthermore, the study found that many young people between ages of 18 to 30 do not understand the principals of citizenship lack the knowledge necessary for effective engagement and have a limited appreciation of democracy as a wider concept.

In order to encourage youth political participation, SGD Uganda partners with the development partners and civil society to promote civic engagement in schools, universities and among the out-of-school youth. SGD Uganda has engaged the young people, principally the student community in the following activities, to strengthen their civic engagement:

  • National service and Volunteer Program

  • Community Organizing and Social Actions (Active citizenship)

  • Civic Debates / competition

  • Students Annual Fairs

  • Students’ Mock parliament

  • High school and University Guild Elections

  • Documentary Shows

  • Democracy Walks and Community Caravans

  • Civic and Voter Education.

  • Education Seminars