PROJECT GOAL: To use the TFSN model to create a Youth led initiative that promotes constructive, transformative engagement on inhibitive, disempowering, socio-economic stereo types of youth for more meaningful, inclusive, sustainable involvement of youth in the development process

The International Foundation for Recovery and Development (IFRAD) Uganda entered into a framework of partnership to implement the Young @ Heart youth advocacy project. The project scope covered 5 districts in Uganda which include; Kampala, Abim, Kotido, Arua and Gulu. IFRAD Uganda in this partnership coordinates local action of the project in the two districts of Gulu and Arua in Acholi and, Abim, Kotido in the West Nile regions. The two project locations were unique and extremely appropriate for implementation of this youth advocacy project mainly because of the following reasons; the Northern part of Uganda has undergone over 25 years of civil war that greatly dehumanized people, robbed them of their voice and ability to engage civically, built a culture of intolerance and malfunctioned systems that made any socio-political accountability extremely hard to derive. Gulu and Arua are particularly dominated by a very young population. Over 80% of the population in these areas is below the ages of 25, which is higher than the national average of 78.2%. Additionally, the cultural construct of the two areas is very patriarchal, which in its very sense sabotages freedoms and platforms of free expression and equal participation of young people in governance and accountability spaces. This project in its every nature was aimed at addressing the key issues that limit meaningful youth participation in local governance, while focusing on identifying these barriers, exploring them deeper using social arts and public expression, developing community action plans aimed at tackling and breaking the barriers as well as building local support (from government and cultural constructs) around developing a more enabling environment for young people to thrive and engage. The project design was made up of four (4) labs/phases of The Future Start5s Now (TFSN) alternative youth programming methodology being piloted by Oxfam Novib in the two (2) countries of Uganda and Vietnam. These labs include; i) the exploration lab, ii) the innovation lab, iii) the campaigning lab, iv) Linking and learning lab. Each of these labs is a unique opportunity that provides various opportunities for young people to identify key advocacy issues, build confidence in the communities around perceived stories of change, as well as build massive community support towards breaking the status quo. Project Information Summary To support youth participation, UYONET as an implementing partner with financial and technical assistance from OXFAM NOVIB in Uganda awarded a contract to IFRAD in April 2015 to implement the ‘Breaking Barriers, Un Leashing Possibilities’, a pilot project for “The Future Starts Now” (TFSN) Model under the Young @ Heart Programme’ for nine (9) months. PROJECT OUTCOME: Creation of Localized knowledge and best practices for the up scaled implementation of the TFSN alternative youth programming methodology PROJECT OBJECTIVES Using the TFSN model, the project seeks to; • Create a space where youth can explore contextual social-economic stereotypes that inhibit youth from raising their voices and fully engaging in their development. • Promote the recognition and respect of innovative efforts by Youth that challenge inhibitive stereotypes through peer to peer celebration and documentation of Youth whose actions are breaking stereo type barriers • Document and share key lessons outcomes and best practices on the maiden phase of the TFSN model for shared learning with key youth in development actors and stakeholders.