Features and Opinions

How young people can tap into Covid-19 “misfortune”

By Milly B Babalanda

The heavy cloud of the Coronavirus and Covid-19, the disease it causes, still hangs over our heads threatening our existence three months since it became our new reality. Life has been disorganised, jobs killed, bonds broken and the end is not in sight yet but we are hopeful.

Special concern is for Mzee’s Bazzukulu; they had never seen this extraordinary situation where they suddenly, cannot go to school or their favourite place of worship, cannot socialize with peers, cannot travel to see relatives or and seeing parents deprived of sources of livelihoods, and witnessing a world on tenterhooks. The older generations have seen before in form of war and instability in the past before NRM established mass sanity and normalcy.

But the world is cyclical; what has been will be again, in the same or different mode. However, life has been here for long and must go on until man has mastered the forces that impact earth and subdued them for humanity’s benefit.

In the midst of this struggle, Bazzukulu should look on the brighter side of the situation. Crisis is the engine of innovation. Amidst the lockdown which has put a lot of spare time in the hands of those not involved in frontline work against the disease, young people can easily stray into risky behavior which would shoot us at the heart with bad consequences yet having defeated Covid-19 as I see we shall soon do.

Bazzukulu should use the time; first for the school goers, to continue reading and revising through their notes to better understand what they were taught prior to the lockdown. Those with access to internet, use it and social media to do research and to interact with fellow learners! Ask parents to help you access learning materials now available in and on various media platforms. They say that many Bazzukulu have a poor reading culture but now is the time to make that newspaper your friend; use that TV/radio set to as your class instead of passing time on movies and music with no particular benefit to your future!

Research more on Covid-19 and other killer diseases to beef up what you hear adults discuss. You never know you could be the next innovator who discovers a groundbreaking cure.

On the side of how to beat the economic crunch occasioned by slowed down income-generating activity, this is the best time to leverage on innovative potential of youths (beside the general population).

Youths are vital to the rolling out recovery programmes post-Covid-19. Young people’s creative minds and energy should come handy. Limitations on physical interaction due to social distancing rules have necessitated rapid recourse to digital and online resources in search of opportunities and marketing anything from goods and services to ideas. Luckily, our excellent President Yoweri Museveni found it wise to keep certain sectors of the economy running “normally” so as to keep at least one lung of the financial system functioning. Agriculture is in full operation and food is on high demand.

Bazzukulu should love the hoe and after reaping, use the internet to market their produce. Agriculture and the digital revolution are here to stay, whether there is Covid or not. I have seen young people breaking out in short span of time by identifying which services or goods are needed most during the lockdown, like masks and sanitisers. They have gone on to make them and while others lament about loss of the opportunities they are accustomed to, the innovators have learnt to move with times and make the Covid-19 misfortune their turning point in life. Vulnerability should have its limits! Let’s use the pandemic as a catalyst for economic revival and creation of jobs for those who need them.

A fresh budget, reading a record Shs45trillion was last week issued by the Minister of Finance, providing huge funding pools for youths and Ugandans at large including the Myooga. This is a victory on its own!

Scientists long declared that young people are less susceptible to acquiring and suffering from Covid-19. This means that the disease is not here to annihilate the future but Bazzukulu should continue to observe safety guidelines by wearing masks, washing hands regularly and avoiding crowded places. This will increase their survival rate. Life will go on, but what lessons shall the leaders of the future have derived to ensure a brighter existence ahead?

The NRM Government is still fully in charge and shouldering the burden of seeing the country through the difficult patch of time. Due to limitations on gatherings of large numbers of people, political activity has subsided giving way to serenity where our collective concern is how to emerge out of this alive and wiser. NRM has done well so far because of having a comprehensive plan which can readily take care of any emerging crises including the totally unseen ones like Covid-19. Apart from disruptions that everyone has experienced the main structure of Government is still intact and serving the people. 2021 is near. It will be up to Ugandans to decide how to reward the effort.

The author is a Personal Assistant to the National Chairman, NRM, and Senior Presidential Advisor (Political Affairs)

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