The orientation workshop for the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) commenced on Thursday, running from October 19th to October 21st, 2023. The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Mrs. Janet Museveni, launched this initiative to nurture emerging leaders. The event took place at the Esella Hotel in Kira Municipality, Wakiso district, in collaboration with Makerere University leadership and the students’ guild.
The ELP aims to expose participants to program content, enabling them to become participants or implementers in the future. The program attracted around 185 individuals, comprising 60 lecturers and 125 student leaders. ELP is designed as a life skills program, intending to instill a character mindset change with the goal of influencing the nation’s present and future.
A task force, established by the First Lady, includes Life Ministry Uganda and the Global Leadership Summit in Uganda. This collaborative effort with Makerere University is intended to implement the program. Mrs. Museveni, during her inauguration of the Makerere University Council on February 2, 2023, encouraged council members to join her in initiating a national anti-corruption and HIV/AIDS campaign, beginning with Makerere University.
The ELP, born from the SAFE Campaign (an abbreviation for Skills, Awareness, Faith, and Empowerment), features innovative lifestyle and communication interventions. These interventions aim to enhance knowledge, motivation, risk perceptions, skills, norms, and a supportive environment for morality and integrity. The program strives to improve education and economic development outputs while promoting community engagement to address issues like corruption, HIV/AIDS, and substance and Internet abuse.
Betty Byanyima, the Executive Director of the Global Leadership Summit in Uganda, explained the program’s focus on fostering values such as stewardship, integrity, and servant leadership. The initiative also targets problems like alcohol abuse, drug addiction, and academic misconduct, which negatively impact the youth’s education.
Reports indicate that addictions among young people contribute significantly to the rising rates of mental health deterioration and even suicide. Furthermore, the program addresses financial aspects to combat corruption, misuse of resources, and academic malpractices among university students.
Bishop Joshua Lwere, the former overseer of the Association of Pentecostals and Evangelicals in Uganda, praised the First Lady’s commitment to instilling morals in young people. He emphasized the need for holistic education, encompassing academics, character and morals, skills, and community responsibility.
Prof. Henry Mwanaki Alinaitwe, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of finance and administration at Makerere University, expressed support for the campaign, highlighting that education is not just about academics but also includes addressing issues like HIV, corruption, alcohol, and drug abuse.
Robert Maseruka, the guild president of Makerere University, stated that shaping the mindset of emerging leaders would significantly influence the country’s politics and help eliminate corruption and indiscipline.