Moses Otim Augustine, Noble Youth Foundation Uganda (NOYU)

Movement Matters #16 with Moses Otim Augustine, Noble Youth Foundation Uganda (NOYU)

Meet Moses Otim Augustine, a dedicated and unwavering advocate for the youth of Uganda. As the founder and Executive Director of Noble Youth Foundation (NOYU) Uganda, Moses has committed himself to creating a community where young people can thrive. His relentless pursuit of hope, knowledge, and positive impact has made him a steadfast voice for the youth in Uganda. Through his work with NOYU, Moses is making a significant difference in the lives of young people, and his dedication serves as an inspiration to others. His vision and passion for empowering youth are truly commendable, and his efforts are contributing to a brighter future for Uganda’s next generation.

Sera Bulbul: As we begin, can you give us some information about your background and how you got to where you are?

Moses Otim Augustine: From a very humble background, my life has been marked by challenges and a deep desire to make a positive impact. Orphaned at the age of 10, I have witnessed the struggles faced by people across the globe. This experience has shaped my aspiration to connect with young individuals, guiding them toward a more meaningful existence.

From an early age, I committed myself to caring for my community and found solace in the church, which instilled strong moral values within me. My varied pursuits have all been driven by a singular goal—to effect positive change in my surroundings. One such endeavor involved forming a drama group, a platform through which I sought to transform spaces through the art of acting.

In 2001, I seized an opportunity to join a local radio station, using this platform to address critical issues affecting young people, such as teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, and the importance of respecting one’s parents. Even today, I remain dedicated to this cause, recognized as a respected voice and influential figure among the youth.

In 2011, I established the Community Ambassadors for Restoration, an organization focused on relationship counseling. While I had already been addressing this on the radio, I was driven to expand our reach. Through collaboration with three other organizations, we secured a grant to directly engage with groups, continuing to transform spaces through our dramatic initiatives.

An opportunity arose in 2013 when I learned of a youth-led initiative aiming to establish an umbrella network. Leveraging the prominence, I had gained, I was elected as the chairman of the Lango Youth Development Network (LAYDNET). In 2023, we rebranded as the Noble Youth Foundation Uganda, signifying our ambition to extend our impact beyond Lango to the entire country.

My journey has been defined by resilience, compassion, and an unwavering commitment to effecting positive change. Through various endeavors, I have sought to uplift and guide those around me, embodying the spirit of transformation and progress.

Sera: Can you share more about the focuses of NOYU?

Moses: For the past decade, our organization has dedicated its efforts to four key thematic areas:

1. Health and well-being: Sexual and reproductive health (SRHR) is a crucial topic that we address when speaking to young people. It encompasses mental health campaigns, SGBV, family planning, and advocating against HIV. In addition, we organize informational and advocacy campaigns about Malaria, which is one of the leading causes of death in Africa. These efforts are essential in promoting the well-being and safety of individuals in our communities.

2. Poverty campaigns: In our efforts to promote productive agriculture, nutrition, good feeding, and food security, we have implemented advocacy campaigns with a focus on what we call SWAP (save with a purpose). Through these campaigns, we aim to raise awareness and encourage individuals to make informed choices that benefit both themselves and their communities. By working together, we can create a positive impact on the agricultural sector and improve overall food security. We hope that through these efforts, we can contribute to a healthier and more sustainable future for all.

3. Education: In our organization, we do not have the means to provide grants for sponsoring children’s education. However, we strongly encourage and support them to pursue their education by attending school. Our focus is on empowering youth to live independent and self-sufficient lives. We believe in providing them with the tools and resources to be able to achieve their goals and aspirations. While we may not have the financial means to support them directly, we are committed to guiding and mentoring them towards a brighter future. Our ultimate goal is to help them develop the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive and succeed on their own.

4. Climate change and adaptation: In our area, we are fortunate to have shea trees that produce oil, providing us with valuable resources. However, our region is experiencing increasingly hot temperatures due to climate change. As a result, we are campaigning to restore our environment to improve our quality of life. We must take action to address the impact of climate change and work towards creating a more sustainable and habitable environment for future generations.


Moses with war survivors after handing over livestock to the group

Sera: You’ve really been a champion of youth in Uganda. Could you share more about your understanding of youth development and inclusion?

Moses: Throughout my tenure, I have been deeply entrenched in this sphere, having even contested in the previous election to represent my constituency in parliament. This extensive experience has endowed me with a profound understanding of the intricacies and challenges within this domain.

The Youth Predicament in Uganda: Uganda, with a population of 46 million, is predominantly composed of young people, with 70% falling within the 12-35 age bracket. Despite their numerical superiority, the youth in our country face significant marginalization. Many struggle with poverty, unemployment, and dependence on the older population, who control the majority of resources and decision-making power.

In the political arena, while young candidates may attract widespread support, they often struggle to secure victory due to the monetarization of politics. Furthermore, even educated youth encounter difficulty in finding employment, as nepotism and tribalism often dictate hiring practices. The exorbitant cost of education also contributes to high dropout rates.

Lamentably, youth lack a platform to voice their concerns and mobilize for change. Access to social media is restricted especially Facebook in my country, and avenues for effecting change are limited. Nevertheless, a few individuals are striving to inspire hope and demonstrate that reliance on the government or external support is not the sole path to progress.

The plight of Uganda’s youth underscores the urgent need for inclusive policies and opportunities and avenues for meaningful participation in decision-making processes. Only through addressing these challenges can the potential of our nation’s youth be fully realized.

Sera: What inspires you, Moses?

Moses: Young people need hope, as they have their whole lives ahead of them and need to be prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. It is important to provide them with knowledge and empower them so that they can in turn empower the next generation. By giving them the tools to succeed, we can break the cycle of poverty and create a community that is not held back by fear. It is crucial to invest in the youth and provide them with the know-how to live their lives to the fullest.

Sera: Moses, I wonder if you could share when you reflect on your life and work, what are you most proud of?

Moses: Throughout my journey, I hesitate to label myself as highly successful. However, I take pride in the fact that I have been able to make a difference in the lives of others. I have had the opportunity to intervene in the life of a young boy who was on the brink of suicide, and through our conversations, he was able to find hope and purpose. Witnessing him now thriving and running his own business fills me with immense satisfaction, as I believe that every life saved is invaluable.

Moreover, my radio shows have provided a platform for individuals to share their stories and seek solace. The ability to offer support and save lives through this medium has been one of my greatest accomplishments. I prioritize the impact I have on others over material possessions, and I strive to bring a smile to someone’s face each day.

Additionally, my work with war survivors has been a significant focus of mine. Through my organization, we have extended support to women who have endured abduction and abandonment in their communities. Providing them with resources such as livestock and grains, and facilitating support groups, has been a source of great fulfillment for me over the past decade.


Moses and staff handover VSLA kits and startups to the war survivors in the Otuke District

In summary, while I may not consider myself immensely successful in conventional terms, the ability to save lives and make a positive impact on others is what drives me. My ultimate goal is to bring joy and hope to those around me, and I am committed to continuing my efforts in this regard.

Sera: Thank you so much, Moses. Let’s now shift our conversation to talking about MCLD. How did you learn about the Movement and what inspired you about it?

Moses: In 2022, my introduction to MCLD came about while exploring various opportunities online. A friend directed me to a link, sparking my curiosity and leading me to subscribe to the mailing list and participate in meetings. It wasn’t until last year when a meeting was announced, that I committed to actively engaging in the community. On that day, I had the privilege of sharing my experiences with others, an experience for which I am truly grateful. I eagerly anticipate further involvement and contribution in the future.

Sera: In this short time, has the Movement impacted your understanding of community-led development at all?

Moses: Joining the MCLD has had a significant impact on my perspective. Hearing about the innovations and developments in Sierra Leone, Kenya, and other parts of the world has been truly inspiring. It has expanded my thinking and idea generation and has provided me with a valuable network of like-minded individuals. I am hopeful that this collaboration will continue to thrive.

We need to remember the power of giving hope to others. A simple message of encouragement can make a world of difference to someone who may be feeling rejected or unworthy. By supporting each other, regardless of our individual circumstances, we can bring about transformative change. Let us always be willing to lend a helping hand to those in need.

More on Moses:


Moses and the school children that NOYU supports

Moses Otim Augustine is a passionate advocate for youth empowerment and community development in Uganda. Born and raised in the war-torn zone of Northern Uganda, Moses experienced firsthand the challenges faced by vulnerable communities, particularly children and young people. Despite these adversities, Moses was determined to impact his community positively.

With a background in media and communication, Moses began his journey as a radio broadcaster at a local radio station, where he used his platform to address critical issues affecting young people, such as teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, and the importance of education. Over the years, he became a respected voice and influential figure among the youth in his region.

In 2011, Moses founded the Community Ambassadors for Restoration, an organization focused on providing relationship counseling and support to vulnerable individuals and families. Through his leadership, the organization expanded its reach and impact, ultimately leading to the establishment of the Lango Youth Development Network in 2013 a decade later rebranded as Noble Youth Foundation Uganda (NOYU).

As the Executive Director of NOYU, Moses has dedicated over a decade to serving the youth of Uganda, focusing on areas such as health and well-being, poverty alleviation, education, and climate change adaptation. Under his leadership, NOYU has implemented various initiatives aimed at empowering young people, promoting social justice, and creating a brighter future for all.

Moses’s tireless efforts and unwavering commitment to community development have earned him recognition and respect both locally and internationally. He continues to be a beacon of hope and inspiration for youth across Uganda, embodying the spirit of resilience, compassion, and positive change.