On a steady road to youth leadership in Uganda
by Brenda Komurubuga, Project Coordinator, Action for Community Development
Action for Community Development (ACODEV) through the Strengthening Youth Involvement in Democratization Process, an Influencing project supported by Voice, organised a series of impactful radio talk shows aimed at raising awareness about youth political participation in Fort Portal City. Hosted by the Voice of Toro (VOT) radio station, these talk shows provided a platform for rightsholders and duty bearers to engage in constructive dialogue on issues surrounding youth political participation and the different methods used to analyse it.
It is crucial to note that youth participation is not homogeneous. While some young people are enthusiastic and willing to participate, others may lack the necessary knowledge and efficacy. A key factor in increasing youth awareness and actual participation is to ensure that decisions that affect them are made with their input and involvement, and that they are empowered to organise social actions themselves. Through the radio show platforms, thr youth were given a voice to express their opinions on democratisation and civic engagement, contributing to a more inclusive and representative political landscape.
During one of the talk shows, Daniel Tusiime, a 24-year-old student at Mpanga Senior Secondary School and a rightsholder from the Nyabukara ward, listened attentively and participated in a call-in session. Through this experience, he discovered a deep passion for becoming a leader and, specifically, a Youth Councilor. He contacted ACODEV and learned that his ward was looking for a representative for those facing gender-based violence (GBV). As a survivor of GBV, he decided to step up and take on the role, determined to make a difference.
In January of 2023, Daniel took the first step towards becoming an agent of change by becoming an active youth in his community. He participated in community debates and dialogues with duty bearers and fearlessly raised awareness on the challenges faced by youth, looking to engage in politics particularly in a society where politics has been largely monetised. The youth struggle to seek election without significant financial backing and a high profile. His passionate advocacy for change earned him invitations to participate in subsequent radio programs, where he discussed the vital roles of media in promoting minority participation in democratisation processes. With ACODEV’s support and encouragement, Daniel quickly became a confident and aspiring leader, empowering him to speak with assurance to a gathering of young people and hold leaders accountable for their actions.
With support from ACODEV, Daniel was able to interact with youth city leadership councils and discuss vital issues related to youth engagement, while also learning how to become a better leader in a safe and supportive environment. Daniel’s unshakable determination to run for office in the 2026 elections remains steadfast. Society’s attempts to discourage him by suggesting he should first deal with his family problems before leading others have failed to dissuade him, and he continues to passionately pursue his political aspirations. Moreover, in addition to his studies, Daniel engages with community radio stations to discuss his manifesto and encourage the youth, especially those from stigmatised diversity groups, to pursue their political dreams. Daniel is admired by fellow youth and leaders in his community for his courage and determination to succeed at leadership.
“Daniel has shown the beauty of empowering us as rightsholders from Nyabukara and at the end of the day, we have seen that his power has not diminished in the process. I trust that he is going to be a great leader come 2026.”
– Timothy Ahebwa, Youth from Nyabukara Ward
“Daniel has seen the best in us as fellow students and he has pushed us to be better people. I believe that’s what good leadership is all about.” – Asiimwe Rebecca, Student at Mpanga Senior Secondary School
Daniel is confident and poised to make a positive impact in his community as a leader. He is currently contesting for the position of youth councilor for Kabarole District, with many sub-counties endorsing his candidacy. To demonstrate his commitment to his campaign, he has even printed T-shirts for his supporters, particularly those from Nyabukara. Together with ACODEV, Daniel was able to overcome numerous obstacles and pursue his dreams, and he is now well-positioned to achieve his goal of becoming a representative for youth in his community.