This year’s Young Achievers Awards will go down history lane as one of the best and well organised awards ceremonies in the country. The colourful gala event this time round organised by Reach A Hand Uganda, were held on Saturday August 12th at Kampala Serena Hotels’ Victoria Hall.
The much hyped and publicised event kicked off as early as 6pm as communicated with a pompous cocktail mini event. The guests comprising mostly the youth were dazzling in their red-carpet evening wear did not disappoint as most kept time and walked the red-carpet filled with glitz and glamour in classy outfits dressed to impress as they had photo opportunities.
The Young Achievers Award (YAA) which was founded in 2009 was created as a platform to showcase Uganda’s best talent as an encouragement in their quest to create economic opportunity, attain financial independence and improve their leadership abilities to ultimately play meaningful roles in managing the affairs of society. This year’s edition attracted over 300 entries from across the country that were vetted and selected by a special panel of judges.
The awards returned bigger and better for the 5th edition after a 4-year break as the mantle was officially handed over to Reach A Hand Uganda a youth initiative geared towards empowering young in socio-economic aspects to give it a more ‘youthful face’
It was founded by two idea-driven youths Awel Uwihanganye and Ivan Kyambadde to inspire the youth and recognise, reward and celebrate outstanding youth in Uganda. These include Social Entrepreneurship, business, Innovation and ICT, Farming and Agro- Processing, Sports Personality, Music, Media and Journalism, Fashion, Film and Photography, Overall Achiever of the Year as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award and Heroes/Heroine Award.
Humphrey Nabimanya a recipient in 2011 is the founder and team leader of Reach a Hand Uganda (RAHU) a youth who is now driving the awards to the next level said focused organization, under whose auspices the Awards are, said the platform is relevant at a time when young people in Uganda are busy innovating to solve the problem of unemployment and that they constantly need a push forward as the energy levels are still high.
Saturday awards gala coincided with International Youth Day where there was celebration of excellence and innovation blended in an aura of color and fashion as well as exhibition of culture and music that kept energy flowing.
So after close to a 2-hour session of networking where guests, finalists and organisers easily mixed and mingled, the attendees were ushered into the main Victoria hall for the awards ceremony to kick off mixed with some electrifying performances and inspiring messages from winners and partners.
After singer Allan Toniks had opened up proceedings with a traditional performance of ‘Itaano, the nights hosts; comedian Ronnie McVex and actress Kemiyondo a past winner, then took the crowd to a journey of light jokes and playful competitions that kept the hall warmed up as more guests thronged in.
Zilla Mary Arach co-founder of the Lacel Technologies who won the category of Farming and agro-processing also emerged as the overall winner while the likes of Brian Ahumuza of Abryanz (Creative – Fashion entrepreneur), Video producer Sasha Vybz of Savvy Films (Creative arts – film), Jacob Kiplimo (Sports) and Milege Afro-Jazz band (Creative –music) were some of the notable winners.
The special awards category winners included; Hon. Amelia Kyambadde The Young Achievers Star Hall of Fame who has demonstrated exceptional commitment and sacrifice in supporting the Young Achievers Awards Program, Prof. Peter Mugyenyi who heads the Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) The Heroes Award for demonstrating excellence in fighting HIV/Aids in Uganda and beyond. Ali Mufuruki, a renowned Tanzanian businessman and founder of the Infotech Investment Group LTD received the Lifetime Achievement Award for building an advocate for youth empowerment across the East African Region.
President Yoweri K. Museveni who is also past recipient in the Life time category said in a message read for him by Aggrey Bagiire, State Minister for Transport, that he is extremely happy and proud for the awards and will give government support in promoting youth activities.
“It is important for Uganda’s youths to appreciate the unique place Uganda finds itself in within the global economic system because Uganda is one of the richest countries in the world. I am supportive of the Young Achievers Awards initiative and the encouragement it gives young people to create their own opportunities and for contributing to the betterment of our country,” He said.
In a video recording played on big screens, the presidents also warned the youth against living reckless lifestyles and desist from drinking and wasting their lives in careless activities of risky pleasure where the risk of AIDS is still a big threat.
Minister Amelia Kyambadde during her acceptance speech promised all the winners Shs. 500,000 each as a form of appreciation and token to encourage them and the other youth to work even harder.
In her closing remarks, Progress Chisenga the Vodafone Uganda Marketing Manager louded the events orgainers and promised full support as the lead sponsor and partner.
“It is a great privilege and joy for us at Vodafone Uganda through our youth livelihoods project JJUMP by Vodafone that seeks to use the power of the internet to promote youth empowerment through e-learning, to be part of this year’s edition of the Young Achievers Awards.” She said.
Musicians Naava Grey and Geosteady added more fun ad inspiration by performing their collaboration titled ‘Champion’ that inspires self-belief and encourages youth to dream big. Other performance came from Nutty Neithan and Mun G.‘
THE FUL LIST OF YAA 2017 WINNERS
*Farming and agro-processing; Zilla Mary Arach, co-founder of the Lacel Technologies
*Social entrepreneurship; Muhammed Kisirisa, Executive Director of Action for fundamental change and development -Media and Excellence; Ronald Wandera, founder ugextra.com
*Innovation & ICT; Gerald Otim, Chief Operations Officer & co-founder of Ensibuko
*Creative arts (arts, music, fashion, film, and photography– Milege Afrojazz Band
*Fashion; Brian Ahumuza of Abryanz Collection
*Business; Ricky Rapa Thompson, co-founder, SafeBoda
*Sports personality– Jacob Kiplimo, athlete
*Hero Award; Professor Peter Mugyenyi, medical doctor, researcher and promoter of accessible and equitable medical care, and chancellor of Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)
*Lifetime Achievement Award; Ali Mafuruki, chairman, CEO Inftech Investment Group Ltd
*StarHall of Fame Award– Amelia Kyambadde, for being instrumental in shaping the future of the Young Achievers Awards (YAA).
Overall Young Achievers Awards; Zilla Mary Arach, co-founder of the Lacel Technologies.