Decentralization and youth participation in local government in Uganda

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Kampala International University, College of Humanities and social Science
This study was conducted to assess the Influence of Decentralization onYouth Participation in Local Governments in Uganda. The study was guided by the four objectives:To assess forms of youth participation under decentralization in Local Government, establishing platforms for youth participation under decentralization in Local Government, establishing factors affecting youth participation under decentralization in Local Government and; to assess the influence of decentralization structure on youth participation in Uganda. The study was anchored on Harts ladder model of participation, institutional theory and theory of collective action. The study also adopted descriptive research design and mixed method approach with concurrent triangulation method of data collection. The study was based on a target population of 411,145 with a sample population of 384 respondents for quantitative data; and 50 participants for qualitative data. Purposive sampling and stratified random sampling techniques were used in the selection of participants. Quantitative results were analysed with the help of Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS), while qualitative data were subjected to thematic content analysis.Using cronbach alpha, the study established high reliability of the instrument; where Decentralization had a coefficient of 0.802; while youth participation had a coefficient of 0.833. Mugenda and Mugenda (2003) showed that a coefficient of 0.80 or more implies a high degree of reliability.The findings show that the youth have utilized the structures of the Local Government Council, and Women Councils as platforms for participation. The regression coefficient (R2= 0.285) indicates that a unit change in decentralization structure would bring about 25.85% change in youth participation. R2 is 0.2588 meaning that about 26 percent of variance in youth participation can be provided by decentralization structure.The remaining 74% is explained by factors such as: gender based discrimination, exclusion of Youth with Disabilities, poor access to information, inadequate level of education. The contribution of this thesis to theory is that it expands the existing body of knowledge on youth participation in the governance process. Findings indicated that local government s and political party youth leagues were the least popular platforms for youth participation with 10% and 5% frequency rate respectively.This trend reveals that attention should be given to local governments since they are the fulcrum upon which decentration, the core of local governments at all levels revolves. The study also revealed that although inadequate financial resources (freq 28,percentage freq 7%) are one of the key factors affecting youth participation in decision-making, they are secondary to gender discrimination(freq 94,percentage freq 24%), poor information flow(freq 219,percentage freq 33%);and dysfunctional local government and s(freq 85,percentage freq 22%). The study recommends that youth participation in the governance process should be enhanced through increased awareness creation and capacity building targeting both the youth leaders and duty bearers, reforms in the structures responsible for youth participation at the Local Government level, reforms in the legal, policy regulatory and institutional framework, provision of adequate funding to the youth programs and structures, promotion of multi-sectoral approach to youth programming, promotion of public private partnerships , improved access to relevant information and quality education and promotion of affirmative action.
A dissertation submitted to the college of humanities and social sciences of Kampala international university in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the award of a degree of doctor in development studies.
Decentralization, Youth participation, Local government, Uganda