Focus Youth Forum is Ugandan Based Social Enterprise Fighting Poverty and Unemployment
Can you take us through a brief history of your organization?
Focus Youth Forum (FYF) is a registered organization in Uganda. It was initiated by Bernard Keikara Mugume. The idea of forming the organization came up in 2014 but took off in February 2016.
Statistics 1 indicate that the population of Uganda is standing at 40 million people, and 77% of this population is youth below 35 years of age. 90% of the youth earns below half a dollar a week or almost nothing at all. This has led to high crime rates, drug abuse, early marriage, school dropouts, child labor, child neglect, increase in a number of street kids, the rise of HIV/AIDS in the youth, and premature death in young people.
FYF started to address the challenges highlighted above by building young people’s capacity through mindset change training and social entrepreneurship. The aim is to empower those who are disadvantaged, disabled, most at risk, orphaned and street kids. These capacity building activities are carried out in different styles. We carried out regular youth meetups for those in urban areas. We also did community outreach every month where we would do hands-on training.
What are the main goals of your organization?
FYF has several objectives/goals which include;
- To motivate, mentor, train and equip youth in aspects of change and personal development skills.
- To fight poverty and unemployment in the youth and the most disadvantaged.
- To represent the interests and perspectives of all youth in Uganda accurately and equally.
- To collaborate with national and international organizations to address the challenges affecting young people.
- To provide a platform for youth to voice their ideas, concerns, and
- To carry out events/seminars/forums to raise funds and contributions where appropriate to finance projects/programs of the organization.
- To empower young people to effectively use their skills and preferences in order to improve their social and economic status.
- To empower the youth to set up enterprises, employ cutting-edge resources related to community youth development in their work and help them involve both local and international interns and volunteers in their work.
What are your organization’s main achievements?
Since its inception, FYF has recorded numerous achievements which are as follows:
- We have trained around 150 youths with different skills and they have started their own small businesses which include handicrafts, groceries, small financial companies, consultancies, mini industries, commercial agriculture, and innovation technology apps.
- We have started our own commercial maize production, which started with one acre of land in 2017, and now it grows on ten acres. The proceeds are reinvested with the aim of upscaling and setting up a milling factory for value addition.
- We have helped in changing the mindset of the communities by equipping them with financial literacy skills. We have formed a community called Savings Credit and Cooperative SACCO which so far has 200 members and they are doing savings regularly.
- The organization has traversed in different parts of the country and trained 500,000 youth regarding mindset change, healthy living and economic transformation. The organization has also created different platforms on Facebook, Whatsapp, and Twitter which are engaging over 5 million youth on different topics related to personal development and social welfare.
- The organization has five non-financial and partnerships for mentors, and advisors locall
How does your organization contribute to global health?
FYF has contributed to global health by promoting and sharing its work online via Facebook and Twitter, writing articles on what global health is, and engaging with different volunteers of global health to share experiences. Members of FYF have shared information about global health work and advocacy in promoting good health in the community.
Who is part of your organization?
FYF is composed of positive minded people/youth who believe in themselves, are dedicated and focused, are described as change makers, and believe in problem-solving. It is run by five full-time members and has an advisory board which advises the executive on actions to be taken. There is also a backup team of 20 members, that volunteers with us for the community and other outreach programs.
People who would like to be part of the organization under membership subscribe annually and are kept in a register for opportunities and trainings.
How do you engage with students and young professionals from global health?
Currently, we have not had an opportunity to engage with them, however, it is an experience we would love to have and engage with the student and young global health professionals depending on global health programs. Nevertheless, we offer both local and international internship and volunteering opportunities.
What projects are you currently involved in?
Right now we are engaged in the following projects:
- Country Capacity Building training program on social enterprise, mindset change, and youth health.
- Environmental conservation program where we plant trees in communities and encourage schools and households to plant trees as well.
- Maize commercial production which aims to encourage young people to enter into agriculture for commercial purposes and food security. This is a demonstration farm for young people and for commercial purposes.
- Fundraising campaign through which we aim to raise $30,000 to acquire a minibus vehicle for country-wide youth capacity building as means of transport for the training team. We would love this to be achieved by end of the year 2018, and we invite everyone to support the fundraising campaign.
How can people get more involved with your organization?
We are calling upon international support in the form of partnerships, donations, grants, seed capital and investors who are passionate to empower youth in their skills and talents to help fight poverty and unemployment while promoting good health for social transformation to come onboard and work with FYF. We are open to collaborating with individuals, organizations, companies, governments, universities, hospitals and others to make a positive change among the youth and community in Uganda.
For those who want to be members, we have foreign memberships of individuals, companies, and governments which are a means to support the work of FYF to achieve her targeted goals/objectives in transforming youth livelihood.
Founder of FYF
FYF was initiated by Bernard Keikara Mugume, who is well-trained in leadership skills by different international organizations like YALI-EA, World Peace Initiative, Deloitte, and others. He has over 6 years of experience in relationship management and sales team leadership from banking institutions. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Quantitative Economics from Makerere National University, with exposure in statistics, research, and policymaking. He is also the author of The Success Mindset (second edition).
Name: Bernard Keikara Mugume
FYF would like to communicate to the world that we have internship and volunteering opportunities which everyone is free to apply anytime and be taken up as per terms and conditions. Should anyone feel to apply, just request for the application.
We are located at Plot 2270, Block 11. US Embassy Drive Nsambya, Kampala, you can visit us whenever you are in Uganda.
- Uganda Bureau of Statistics (2018). Population and Censuses. Available at: <https://www.ubos.org/>. [Accessed 2 July 2018].