‘Lugambo’ or gossip was a term the President is thought to have used while suggesting a tax on social media platforms like Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook among others.
Of course, the suggestion got a beating on social media but some people would agree that the President probably had a point. That said, much as many people use social media applications to circulate gossip, there is also a good number of Ugandans that use these platforms to do good or simply lookout for opportunities.
And this is the story of Savio Mark Lule ‘Badangayo’; just last week, he was named as one of the fellows for the 2018 Facebook Leadership Community Program, an opportunity he only learnt about from a workmate and later applied.
“Our communications coordinator Annette saw the opportunity on Facebook as a random feed and shared it with us,” he says adding this was not the first time they were trying out an application, considering a fact that social media is global tool of exposure they too have used to market their ventures.
Lule is one of the founders of The Youth Hub Uganda that offers skilling and empowers underprivileged youths through arts to reduce on cases of drug abuse and criminality amongst the youths in communities.
According to Lule, art is a very wide aspect; “When I talk about art, I talk about sports, fashion, music, drama, visual art, entrepreneurship, agriculture and a lot more,” he says, adding that everything in life has art in it. This is why they believe every young person has a different art hence the need to utilise it.
With the Youth Hub, Lule and the team have in the past embodied art forms like dance, rap and visual art. They have managed to foster talent and while at it give free counselling services.
“We exploit all the kinds of arts but still we not only focus on art but also skilling the youth,” he says.
A rapper himself, Lule, whose nickname Badangayo is more pronounced today says he uses hip hop as a form of expression and also an instrument of peace; “It provides an emotional release in a time of conflict and stress. I also believe it can as well be used to enable restive Ugandan youths to develop tolerance and collaboration.”
Lule went to Top Care for kindergarten, Kireka Parents Primary and later joined Kyambogo College for O’ level and Lubiri SS for A’ Level.
He joined Makerere University where he graduated in 2016 with Bachelors in Mental Health and Community Psychology.
He believes that some of the skills from school have enabled him easily work with people that need to be encouraged and empowered, it is the self-belief of ‘Nothing can fail’ that those around him started calling him Badangayo, coined from a Luganda dialect ‘Mudangayo’.
“The Badangayo came in as nickname that later became prominent since most of the people I grew up with used to undermine their potential so every time I motivated them to carry on bigger tasks I would be like ‘Mudangayo’.”
While growing up, Lule says that he lived in many underprivileged communities where he learnt that no one was willing to take him serious.
“This drove most of the young people I grew up with into criminality, drug and substance abuse and many made lots of uninformed decisions.”
Since he had attained formal education, he stood out as an example in the community and became a leader fighting to see the community survive.
In 2010, the Youth Hub Uganda was started, though it was in 2016 that it was fully registered as an NGO. Initially, Lule says that the organisation started with six members. At the moment, they have a team of 12 staff and 16 volunteers.
The Youth Hub has most of its activities in the communities of Kireka Kasokoso, Banda Kasenyi B1, Acholi Quarters, Kisenyi, Katanga and Buwambo among others.
When he applied for the Facebook Community Leadership Program, Lule says he did not think they would be selected, however, after he did the first interview, he came out positive.
“We applied the usual way we always apply for other opportunities but when I had the first interview with them from Facebook, I knew we would be selected,” he says.
Since being selected as a fellow, Lule believes The Youth Hub will benefit in many ways; “We’re going to go through a series of mentorship and training so I believe my personal skills as a community builder are going to be upgraded which I will later use to empower my fellow members at The Youth Hub and later impact the generation,” he says, adding that they are also looking forward to embarking on their dream of setting up a community library and vocational resource centre.
Lule will later this year be joining other fellows at the Facebook headquarters in San Francisco.
The Facebook Community Leadership Program was announced by Facebook in February and noted that they would invest millions of dollars in grants going directly to people creating and leading communities.