“If I am young and wrong, then you are right [to look down on my youthful ignorance.] But if I am young and right, what does my age matter?” Antigone Aesculus
When I walked through the gates of Esella Country Hotel, marching up the stairs to the conference room that Saturday Morning, I was not short on what to expect. At the welcome Dinner, the previous evening, whilst introducing us to the Youth for Policy Fellowship, we were assured that our policy research was not to be done for the sake of knowledge accumulation; but for practical transformation of actual policies in Uganda.
Enter the classes. The key highlights for me were from Mr. Emmanuel Kitamirike and Mr. Mohammed Moki.
Mr. Emmanuel Kitamirike, Executive Director of Public Policy Institute introduced us to the meaning and practice of contemporary public policy. We learnt that the competition for scarce resources and the unlimited public needs requires that a central authority is given mandate to determine (through public policy) the priorities for resource allocation. By discovering this, we were able to appreciate why research is essential in helping government determine which are the most pressing needs in society and allocate resources accordingly.
Mr. Mohammed Moki, Commissioner Department of Public Policy Development and Capacity Building Cabinet Secretariat, highlighted avenues through which we can have structured engagements with Government to influence Public Policy. It was exciting to know that government is open to alternative policy proposals, if and when they are made in structured engagements through the available avenues.
At the end of the 2-day training, I realized that whereas we (the young people) believe that we must be heard when we speak about Public Policy, the reality is that we are not entitled to being heard.
However, through the available avenues, we could force the hand of those who determine these policies to hear us when we speak, if only we researched a little more.
Written by Zakaria Tiberindwa, Youth4Policy fellow 2019