Rehema z. namukose
We had the pleasure of meeting Rehema to learn more about her cause and organisation. She is a Ugandan activist helping young people in her community with the Re!gnite Organisation she helped found.
What root cause or issue do you focus on? Who are the people you serve/work with?
Re!gnite Africa is working to address unemployment among young adults in Uganda. The Uganda National Household Survey 2016/2017 indicates that the national unemployment rate is 9.2% and the unemployment rate for youth aged 18-30 is 13.3%. As a complex social, political, and economic issue, many have argued that causes are mainly structural; the economy does not have enough jobs to accommodate the thousands of fresh graduates every year and the education system is not preparing young people enough for the realities of the job market today. Young people receive theoretical knowledge and skills that are inadequate, incompatible and inapplicable with today’s market demands. The impact of the global covid-19 pandemic has left many, particularly youth, unemployed, hopeless and struggling with compounded mental illnesses. Therefore, solutions to this problem should be practical and systemic.
What would your dream reality look like for you in 10-20 years?
Re!gnite Africa Dream reality:
1) A one-stop center that provides both digital and in-person practical trainings for all our trainees and facilitators
2) Regional school-to-work advocacy coalitions, alliances, and or movements that push for agendas that center productive and dignified work and livelihoods for young people, especially vulnerable young women without work.
3) Financially stable with well remunerated staff that provide apprenticeship to young professionals while building a movement of youth leaders conscious of unemployment as a social issue that perpetuates hopelessness and frustration, in turn worsening causes such as poverty, inequality, and corruption among people.
What are the key challenges you face in your work? We know this work is hard - what would help to strengthen it?
The biggest challenge Re!gnite Africa faces is financial constraints to scale impact of its work. Securing funding is hard; it is even harder to raise money to do advocacy work on such an issue for a young local organization regardless of how qualified its leader might be. Additionally, lack of/or limited human resources capacity stifles growth and long-term planning
What would strengthen it?
Connection to like-minded individuals or networks for support. Support can be moral, financial, intellectual, or a combination of all for all parties involved. Connections can also facilitate scale of a given cause depending on the vision of a particular organization.
Therefore Re!gnite Africa focuses on:
1) practical programs that address school-to-work transition gaps by providing 21st century knowledge and trainings in soft skills that prepare and connect youth for work.
2) advocacy and leadership programs that focus on coaching and amplifying youth voices on critical issues related to employment, decent work, and labor rights for young adults.
Programs include career positioning programs and university career outreaches, internship programs, youth voices program, and training for young leaders. Beyond just preparing young people for work, and as a response to the pandemic, Re!gnite Africa has had to think outside the box and create immediate short-terms skilling courses in entrepreneurship to help currently jobless youth to create sources of income for themselves and their families, while also continuing with advocacy efforts to raise and center youth voices in conversations and deliberations about inclusive way forward for all.
Annually, RA recruits a talented team of volunteers to work with to push the vision of the organization while also giving young professionals a platform to learn on the job as they go along. They are mostly young people from school who haven’t had any career training or experiences.
Anything you want to add about The Mizizi Project?
I hope that Mizizi can be a platform that not only unites advocates and actors across different geographical platforms but also supports them to build stronger and more impactful movements that push forward different agendas to achieve a more equal, sustainable and just world for all.
What’s your message to like-minded people around the world – what’s your call to action?
Listen to people most affected by an issue you care about and their ideas of change. Yes, your passion is important and your offer to lead others to tackle a given social issue is courageous, but this is not about your ego or your brand. It is about those most oppressed and marginalized by an issue and the collaboration between you and them to figure out the best idea of action
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