This is the fourth blog in our Q&A series featuring young people who volunteer for Restless Development by Douglas Imaralu, Partnerships and Communications Fellow at our US Hub. In this blog, Douglas had a quick chat with Patrick Moding, who fondly recollects his volunteer days in Lookorok, Nakapelimoru, Kotido district, Uganda.
Sometimes, validation is all young people need to realize their full potential. Someone or something that invests in them to be their best self. For Moding Patrick who lives in Kotido district, Uganda, that validation came in the form of volunteering for Restless Development Uganda.
“I wanted to help my community and youth groups,” Patrick recalls. “I had some knowledge which I believed could help bring about change in the lifestyle of young people….majority of men were cattle rustlers…women were focused on agriculture but they didn’t have skills and knowledge to manage their agricultural activities.”
After working as a volunteer, Patrick enrolled at a local university in August 2016.According to him, “I gained a lot of skills and knowledge that made me progress in my studies and life through implementation of activities related to sustainable livelihood.”
What excited you most about your volunteer work with Restless Development?
“Helping the youth with tools and equipment for passing knowledge and skills to other youth groups. [Also] implementing promises they offer to the group…”
How do you feel about youth leading development? How do you pass on what you’ve learned?
“It is good and okay because it is mostly youth who can bring about development since they’re energetic and development happens as a result of creativity, innovation, and inventiveness… I have also been passing on what I gained to young people through various methods such as brainstorming, stories or storytelling, roleplays in form of drama, questionnaires through asking questions, and later giving feedback after each and every person tries to answer.”
What groups did you work with? How do you measure the change in communities and the lives of young people?
“I managed and supervised agricultural activities with the Nakwalet and Kalokodonyang youth groups. Through gaining more from the agricultural activity they did, other youths and the community are very proud and happy to the extent that they also feel like to benefit from the sustainable livelihood program. As I speak, my two youth groups (Nakwalet and Kalokodonyang) harvested or generated 15 bags of sorghum and sold it for a decent amount of money.”
How do you engage community leaders?
“Through inviting them to youth groups with the aim of making them guide and encourage the growth and development of the group as a result of giving a piece of advice. Through reporting any challenge which all members have failed to solve in case it’s an official issue.
Through inviting them to come and witness what the youth groups have gained and generated from the activities they have been doing.”
How can young people be engaged effectively? What are their most pressing needs?
“By visiting them directly so you can see the challenges they face, implementing promises made – no matter how small or big, and constant interaction with community members, leaders, and youth groups.
Support in form of funding, knowledge, and skills for sustainable livelihoods, and training programs. Also, if I had a chance, I will strengthen the group through seeking more funds from other NGOs, agricultural practices will be maintained, and laziness will be prohibited by removing dormant group members.”
An example of our young volunteer’s impact:
So far, Patrick’s Kalokodonyang group has raised three million shillings from their village savings and loans association. They shared amongst themselves this in January 2017. They also started saving money afresh. And through their hard work, they have been linked to the Ugandan government who provided 7 million shillings under the Youth Livelihood Program (YLP) to boost their income generating activities and another 1 million shillings from Restless Development to support each youth group.
In February 2017, during a sensitization meeting with the Nakapelimoru sub-county in Kotido district, Patrick’s group disclosed a profit of 1.4 million shillings. Amazing!