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Gulu City Halts Funding 17 Youth Groups Over Low Recovery Rate

Santo Otto Anywar, the Gulu City Welfare Officer and the Focal Point Person for Youth Livelihood Project say that of the 459 Million Shillings that was disbursed, only 143 million shillings was recovered.
See the Future Youth Group keeing Broilers before suspending operation

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Funding of 17 new youth groups under the youth livelihood program in Gulu City has been halted after the authorities failed to recover funds disbursed to 58 different groups six years ago.

Santo Otto Anywar, the Gulu City Welfare Officer and the Focal Point Person for Youth Livelihood Project say that of the 459 Million Shillings that was disbursed, only 143 million shillings was recovered.

He explained that many of the group leaders have migrated from Gulu to other places and couldn’t be traced while some of the groups split.

However, 80 percent of the enterprises were on agribusinesses which include piggery, poultry keeping, dairy farming with few on carpentry, joinery and bricks molding.

Otto further explained that funding for new groups requires over 100 Million Shillings which excludes operational and monitoring funds approved by the Council for this financial year.

//Cue in: “It’s a revolving…  Cue out: “…So others also.//”

Kenneth Ocen, the Chairperson of See the Future Poultry Youth Group in Kanyagoga Ward which received 10.2 million shillings says that they have only managed to pay back 320,000 shillings.

Ocen explained that the lockdown has drastically affected their business adding that their potential customers were the night clubs and other hangout places still under lockdown. He noted that at the first lockdown period in the Country, the group already had 600 chicks for sale but lost the market when clubs and other hangout places were closed.

“We were forced to sell them on credit to people and put the business on halt and we are yet to resume with the target to other markets” Ocen added.

Toni Ojok of Gulu High School Boda- Boda Youth group, one of the new groups yet to receive money says they had planned to buy three motorcycles to lend to members who still do not have their own and had set a target to complete repayment within a year.   

However, Lillian Aber, the Former National Youth Chairperson and the Woman MP-elect for Kitgum District says the government needs to revisit its support of poverty eradication to group members.

“We would rather support individuals who are serious than supporting the many in groups whose results on the ground we can’t see” Aber added.

Eric Ocan Stover, the Gulu District Youth Chairperson has attributed the failure of the youth livelihood project in the region to the lack of inclusion of the youth in decision making at the initial planning.   

The youthlivelihood is a government initiative targeting the poor and unemployed youth in the country which was rolled out in 2014/2015 as a revolving fund to improve on livelihoods of the young people.

However, since its inception, the government had disbursed over 913 Million Shillings to youths in the eight Districts of the Acholi Sub Region according to the 2021 report by Operation Wealth Creation.