Nakaseke, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The increasing number of youth resorting to the metal scrap business which is now proving lethal, is a sign of desperation by the unemployed, Rev. Fr. Hilary Muheezangango, the Director of Caritas Kasanaensis under Kasana-Luweero Diocesan social development arm has warned.
Fr. Muheezangango says that although the metal scrap dealers are benefiting from the trade, the business has triggered more harm than good.
He cited the deadly explosions in Nakaseke, which claimed one person and left four other nursing injuries. On Thursday last week, police and the army recovered more explosives at a scrap metal workshop in Kapeeka Trading Center, Nakaseke district.
This came hours after a bomb exploded and killed Alfred Mandela on the spot and injured four others. Mandela met his death as he crushed metals he had collected as scrap. The four casualties were workers at the scrap metal workshop belonging to Robert Tumwete.
Mid-October this year, police in Luwero district arrested a 17-year-old boy and a man for stealing 20 water meters. The young vandal told police that James Lubwama, his accomplice, is a scrap dealer who always sends him to steal meters for cash.
Fr. Muheezangango, says that youth unemployment manifests through such activities and tree cutting for Charcoal among others, which has compelled the church to intervene and skill youths to be more enterprising.
He says that Caritas Kasanaensis selected over 100 youths from Luwero and Nakaseke districts to benefit from the youth workshop on climate-smart technologies and value addition. The week-long workshop was held at St. Jerome COVE center in Kapeeka Sub-County in Nakaseke district under the theme “Addressing Unemployment and Climate Change through Climate-Smart Technologies and Value Addition.”
The youth were trained to make fuel-saving stoves, stabilized bricks, Charcoal briquettes, and irrigation farming. Fr. Muheezangango also notes that youth unemployment has had a serious impact on the climate as most of them have over the year’s resorted to cutting trees for Charcoal burning and reclaimed protected areas.
Fr. Muheezangago says that given the fact that the training coincided with the global conference on climate change in Glasgow, Scotland, it sends a message to all people especially the youths that the issue is international.
John Lukomwa is an unemployed youth and resident of Kasaala village in Butuntumula Sub-County in Luwero district. Lukomwa used to make pavers but lost his job due to health-related concerns. As one of the beneficiaries of the youth training, he says that the skills he has gained would help him start his own income-generating business.
George Abel Nkugwa, the Nakaseke District Natural Resources Officer (DNRO), says that the district is constrained to organize training of this kind to skill youths to fight unemployment. It’s against this background that Nkugwa hails the Church’s intervention in addressing the problem, saying it is timely because the area is greatly affected by adverse effects of climate change.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), in 2019, the estimated youth unemployment rate in Uganda was at 2.48 percent.