25 Apr 2016

The completed facility

“We have made it”; remarked, the leader of Lira sub county youth parliament. The journey was tough when GLOFORD started the Youth in Governance and Leadership-YoGAL project in Lira Sub County. The young people had a lot questions and problems than solutions. They raised these issues before leaders with all manners of tone.

Some leaders started feeling trapped but it was working. GLOFORD moderated all engagements and ensured that the youth remained respectable, contributory, dialogous and factual on youth and community service delivery issues affecting Lira Sub County and GLOFORD won favour from leaders and youth alike.

Among other issues pursued by the youth was the delayed completion of the HC III maternity ward which had been contracted out almost 5 years ago. The ward which to the youth was critical to the healthy well-being of their spouses, sisters and mothers took about 5 years for it to be completed and now was the time to ensure its completion and functionality.

When Lira sub county youth parliament started working on this issue, the structure was roofed but the wall and floor wasn’t done, placenta pit was not yet started, a number of other finishes were not done and there was a land wrangle between the sub county and community.

During the different Youth parliament sessions convened at the health center with community members and the sub-county officials, the issues revolved around land and unwillingness of the community to accept compensation being offered by the sub county yet Sub County had limited budget too. The sub county leaders and youth parliament continually engaged the community members for almost 3 months.

The sub county leaders made pledges and continued talking with land owners. The youth didn’t give up but ensured constant follow up with the sub-county officials through meetings and organized dialogues with sub county as well as during Adhoc district youth parliament sessions with leaders at that level. The youth didn’t enervate but took their voice to the district level engagements facilitated by GLOFORD. As the youth engaged the district leaders during these district level dialogues, this issue was key to the youth from Lira Sub County.

During these district level dialogues and meetings with the sub county leadership, youth leaders and youth parliaments from across the 6 project sub counties and divisions, Lira sub county maternity ward was ably discussed and recommendations made. The leaders agreed to ensure that the land owners are engaged, convinced to accept the offer of compensation so that the ward is completed and made functional before December 2015. The meetings tasked the sub county leaders to resolve this impasse with land owners and report back in the next biannual youth parliament session.

To this date, the maternity ward is fully constructed and finishes done. It has been handed over to the community and ready already in use and the placenta pit is finished.

An engagement between the Youth parliament and the health Centre authorities established youth friendly services (YFS) at the Health Centre. The HC staff have allocated a room for this YFS, staff and 1 day in a month dedicated to youth as a means of increasing access to SRH services by young people.

The Youth Parliament members have also worked with the HC to take services to underserved and long distant communities.

The success thus far has made the Youth parliament, community members and sub-county leaders corporative, happy and appreciative for the good work done by the youth parliament. They now view the youth not only as beneficiaries but leaders and partners in development. Although, facilitation at local government level remains a challenge, continuous engagements with leaders at sub county and service points like HCs have enabled the youth to appreciate and underpin the importance of working with leaders and communities to create change.

The Sub County leaders and the communities now acknowledge and appreciate the contributions the youth parliament is making to active community development processes. The local leaders have appreciated the manner in which youth now identify youth and community issues and discuss them with leadership in non-confrontational manner using various strategies (meetings with leaders at office, Youth Parliament Days, Dialogue meetings).