Uganda has the youngest population in the world, with those under the age of 30 making
up approximately 78% of the population. Though making up an overwhelming majority, the
youth have yet to be fully included in decision-making processes. They continue to be
politically and economically marginalized, and are often co-opted by politicians due to
the high degree of commercialization of Ugandan politics. Students are less likely to
register and vote if they feel they lack adequate knowledge about the voting process or
policies and positions of candidates, or the connection between issues they care about
These challenges have contributed to the waning of youth political participation over the years. In the run-up to the national elections, SGD-Uganda undertakes several activities that enhance youth participation in the electoral process and support the efforts of other civil society organizations that are working for free and fair elections.
Over the past elections, SGD-Uganda with support from the donor agencies i.e. National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD) conducts an inclusive and interactive physical and multi-media “Youth’ Voter Engagements” that aim at increasing youth access to information about civic life and opportunities for participation. These forums focus on increasing civic knowledge and skills, and changing attitudes, including by presenting positive examples of youth participation in electoral process. The multi-media initiatives utilized include a weekly TV programme, call-in radio broadcasts, public service announcements on voter education, online and mobile phone communications, Website, Facebook, Tweeter, WhatsApp etc.
SGD Uganda since 2011 national elections, has been targeting young people, principally students of voting age to engage them on issues like discussing an aspiring candidate’s profile, what an issue-based and non-issue-based political campaign is?, to help them make informed decisions during the polls, technical know-how of the voting process, what comprises an accountable, transparent, and participatory electoral process. This initiative has enlightened them to actively and meaningfully get involved in the elections.
The organization has distributed over 1000,000 “Right to Vote” Toolkits that provides valuable information on voter registration, ID, the electoral calendar, and opportunities for civic engagement. SGD-Uganda engages the public, principally the student community in an interactive “Why Vote” Debates, especially targeting young Ugandans of the voting age and these engagements reinforce voter education messages and highlight issues related to human rights, democracy, and good governance. In addition, since 2011, SGD-Uganda with accreditation from the Electoral Commission has been mobilizing a team of young people, including its own staff, to monitor and observe the General Election and election for youth MPs.