Definition of Youth

The national youth policy defines youth as all young persons, female and male, aged 12 to 30 years. In YouthMap: A cross-sectional situational analysis on Youth in Uganda (2011), it notes the draft national youth policy (2011-2016), referring to youth as 15-29.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 18
  • XX
  • Female
  • 18
  • 18
  • XX

  • Homosexual acts illegal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  Penal Code of Uganda

Majority Age


Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 90.50% Male (15-24) %
  • 90.95% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 16.24%Male %
  • 14.53% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • 17.30% Male (13-15) %
  • 15.30% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Uganda has a national youth policy from 2001. A 2011 youth mapping (Vol 1Vol 2) is available.

The Children Act 1997 consolidated the law relating to children, their rights, protections and provisions. The National Employment Policy for Uganda (2011) lists youth employment as a policy priority action area. The Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda (2007-2010) details plans for post-conflict harmonization with specific actions on youth unemployment (through the Northern Ugandan Social Action Fund) and the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS. Regionally, the Commonwealth Youth Programme has been active in Northern Uganda and the African Youth Forum was hosted in Uganda in 2010 in partnership with UNICEF and the African Union Commission. The national development plan (2010/11 – 2014/15) details a number of initiatives relating to youth.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Minister for Youth and Children is head of the Department of Youth and Children Affairs as part of the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development (MGLSD). The aim of the department is to, “ensure care, protection and empowerment of children and youths,” with a focus on policy, legislation, programmes, stakeholder coordination, participation, service provider training and responding to the “concerns of children and youth.” At the district level, youth issues are managed within the portfolio of the Community Development Officer (CDO).

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The National Youth Council (NYC) is an autonomous body established by the National Youth Council Act 1993 and seeks to be “the leading organization in empowerment of Youths” and acts as an umbrella organisation for young people and youth organisations in Uganda and seeks to “organize, mobilize and engage Youth in development activities.” Participants of the YouthMap Uganda: A Cross-Sector Situational Analysis on Youth in Uganda (2011) highlighted a, “distrust of the NYC by youth because of its association with government.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
UGX 26.3 million
USD 10,413.29
The national development plan (2010/11-2014/15) details expenditure to “provide Entrepreneurial, Employable and Adolescent Life Skills to the Youth Outside School and Provide them with Start Up Kits.” According to the World Bank, Uganda spent 15.09% of its government expenditure and 3.28% of its GDP on education provision in 2012.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank

Additional Background

The YouthMap Uganda: A Cross-Sector Situational Analysis on Youth in Uganda (2011), notes the demographic challenge for Uganda:

Uganda has the world’s youngest population with over 78 percent of its population below the age of 30. With just under eight million youth aged 15-30, the country also has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although Uganda is making strides economically, it faces significant challenges in meeting its young people’s needs today and their challenges tomorrow as its population continues to grow at a rate of 3.2 percent annually.

The report found that poverty, gender-based inequities and location-based disparities were recurring themes from their mapping exercise. Despite this, attitudes of youth remained positive:

...many youth spoke of their high energy, resilience, and a strong desire to receive education, find work, and contribute to peace and development in their communities. Development efforts should acknowledge their significant potential and seek to create substantive roles for youth to engage in peace- building and civic activities, allowing them to build confidence, leadership skills, and empowerment.