3 min read
11 May

In a world where young voices often struggle to be heard, the Arua CSO Hub has become a beacon of hope for youth empowerment and civic engagement, as well as a bee hive of a center, giving hope to the shrinking youth civic space in Arua City and West Nile as well as Uganda and the world at large.

As the hub gears up for the launch of Phase Two of the Open Civic Space for Youth project, an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation fills the air as the long-awaited Youth Open Civic Project gets official commencement as of Tuesday, May 9, 2023, at the Youth CSO Hub located on Plot 19, Anyafio, Awudele Road. The inception meeting held at the Arua CSO Hub was a momentous occasion, bringing together enthusiastic young change-makers, dedicated mentors, and passionate advocates. The meeting served as a platform to not only introduce the upcoming project but also evaluate and gather feedback on the achievements and impact of Phase One. 

One of the key highlights of the inception meeting was a dedicated session focused on reviewing and evaluating Phase One of the Open Youth Civic Space project, where participants shared their experiences, lessons learned, and success stories that emerged during the project's initial phase. 

Leaders from the Various CBOs at the Inception Meeting

The vibrant exchange of ideas and stories highlighted the tremendous impact the initiative had on empowering youth to become active participants in their communities. The feedback and evaluation session proved to be invaluable as it provided an opportunity to learn from the experiences of the youth participants. Their insights and suggestions will shape the implementation of Phase Two, ensuring an even more effective and impactful project that addresses the specific needs and aspirations of the young people involved.

This incredible project would not be possible without the generous support of Dream Town and CISU as the funders. Their unwavering commitment to empowering youth and fostering open civic spaces has paved the way for the Arua CSO Hub to flourish. The financial and strategic support provided by Dream Town and CISU has enabled the hub to create a nurturing environment where young individuals can grow, learn, and advocate for positive change.

As Phase Two of the Open Civic Space for Youth project takes flight, the Arua CSO Hub is poised to further amplify the voices of young people and create avenues for their active participation in decision-making processes. The project will continue to provide mentorship, capacity-building opportunities, and platforms for youth-led initiatives that tackle pressing social issues such as safe spaces for CSOs and resources, among other needs.

Smiling faces from the participants

The journey ahead is filled with optimism and possibilities. The Arua CSO Hub, alongside its partners, is determined to create a more inclusive society where youth voices are heard, valued, and acted upon. The Open Civic Space for Youth project is a testament to the transformative power of empowering young individuals to become catalysts for change.Stay tuned for more updates on Phase Two of the Open Civic Space for Youth project and witness the incredible impact it will have on the lives of young people in Arua.

Special Mention and Credits: Dream Town for their generous funding support and CISU for their strategic partnership and guidance. Together, let's build a future where youth voices shape our world for the better.

Dream Town is a visionary nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming communities and empowering individuals to achieve their dreams. With a mission to create sustainable and inclusive environments, Dream Town works tirelessly to foster social and economic development through innovative programs and initiatives. 

whereas Civil Society in Development (CISU) is a dynamic organization dedicated to empowering civil society actors and promoting sustainable development globally. With a vision of a just and inclusive world, CISU works to strengthen civil society organizations (CSOs) by providing them with financial support, capacity building, and advocacy opportunities. Through collaborative partnerships, CISU fosters dialogue and knowledge sharing, amplifying the voices of CSOs and their communities. By championing human rights, social justice, and environmental sustainability, CISU plays a vital role in creating positive change and enabling CSOs to drive impactful development initiatives. Together, we strive for a more equitable and empowered civil society worldwide.

Members in Group Based Activity Evaluating Phase One

In Uganda, the Open Civic Space for Youth Project Phase Two is jointly implemented in a consortium by the Network for Active Citizens (NAC) and the Civil Society Strengthening Network (CSSN). 

The Network for Active Citizens (NAC) is a vibrant organization dedicated to empowering individuals and communities to become active agents of change. NAC serves as a catalyst for civic engagement and social impact, fostering a network of passionate individuals and organizations. Through innovative programs, capacity building, and collaborative initiatives, NAC supports and amplifies the voices of active citizens who are working towards positive societal transformation. By promoting inclusivity, social justice, and sustainable development, NAC strives to build resilient communities and create a world where every citizen has the opportunity to contribute to the betterment of society. Together, we are driving change and building a brighter future. 

whereas the Civil Society Strengthening Network (CSSN) is a dynamic organization committed to empowering civil society actors and enhancing their capacities for sustainable impact. CSSN works tirelessly to foster collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and learning among civil society organizations (CSOs) to strengthen their effectiveness in creating positive social change. Through capacity-building programs, networking events, and strategic partnerships, CSSN enables CSOs to address pressing social issues, advocate for human rights, and contribute to inclusive development. By promoting transparency, accountability, and good governance within the civil society sector, CSSN plays a vital role in building resilient communities and empowering CSOs to make a lasting difference in the lives of the people they serve.

The Open Civic Space for Youth Phase Two comes as a follow-up and continuing project to the Open Civic Space Project 2021–2022, where 30 locally based CBO organizations benefitted from the funding. As of the end of the first phase, the project had attracted 38 local CBOs hailing from Arua City and other admirable districts like Yumbe, Terego, and Maracha, where such safe spaces like the CSO Hub do not exist.

By: Omar El Bashir, Dailywestnile.info 
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