About LAP

Formerly The Political Leadership Advancement Lab (POLA-LAB) Fellowship.

Leadership Fellowship hosted by the University Forum on Governance (UNIFOG) and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS)

Leadership Advancement Programme

The Leadership Advancement Programme (LAP) is a leadership enhancement initiative of the University Forum on Governance (UNIFOG) supported by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS). It aims at mentoring an effective breed of young and emerging leaders with enhanced ability to address the cotemporary social, political, and economic challenges. The project aspires to build dynamic leadership with a global outlook who can address the revolving governance and development challenges in Uganda. The LAP takes over the UNIFOG and KAS POLA – Lab Fellowship which was implemented in the 2021/2022 as a yearlong leadership training for selected youth leaders in Uganda.

History of LAP

Empowering Youthful Elected Leaders in Uganda through Modular Training and Mentorship

In 2021, UNIFOG in partnership with KAS implemented the first leadership fellowship under the label of POLA – Lab Fellowship for youthful elected leaders from the different parts of the country. The fellowship attracted leaders from different political offices such as Member of Parliament, Local Council V Chairperson and Councillors, Municipal Mayors and Local Council III chairperson. Amidst the COVID 19 Pandemic youthful leaders were able occasionally meet to learn, share experiences and explored leadership and development initiatives in the different parts of the country. The modular leadership training covered a set of critical leadership and developmental topics which were tailed to the governance and development needs in Uganda. The topics included; Institutions and institutional reforms in Uganda, Contemporary Leadership and Sustainable Development, Public policy and advocacy, Civil societies and Civic Space in Uganda, International Relations and Geopolitics, Best practices on Digital Communication and Data Governance.

The UNIFOG and KAS are now set for the second cohort that will run through 2022. The fellowship targets youthful leaders within institutions of higher learning from the different universities around Kampala. A total of 30 student leaders will undergo this rigorous training that will run for one year. This year, the fellowship will also include mentorship talks by senior politician, government technocrats, and private entrepreneurs. Also, the fellows will select and study a development challenge their communities and progressives come up with a policy proposal address the identified challenge.

Areas of Focus

Institutions and Institutional Reforms in Uganda
Leadership and Leadership Function
Public Policy and Advocacy
International Relations and Geopolitics
Civil Society and Civic Space
Gender Equality and inclusive development

Rationale for the Measure

Uganda’s population is predominantly youth with 76.1 per cent aged 30 years and below. Relatedly, youth participation in political processes has been increasing over the years. During the most recent elections – 2021 general elections, several youths came out to participate in electoral processes either as voters, campaigners and or contestants for different political offices where several were voted into offices. In the same elections, Uganda registered the youngest candidate to ever run for the office of the president at just 24 years. Besides, all institutions of higher conduct elections for student leaders every year – a process which is a replica of the national electoral process. The elected student leaders participate in policy making at the different levels in their institution. Moreover, many of the student leaders have ended up serving in national political officers after their school

Youth in Leadership

Besides, numerous students serve in other leadership structures such as the National Youth Council and the National Students’ Association and youth slots in mainstream leadership either representing their institutions or their local communities. This has resulted in an increased number of youths in political officers at the different leadership levels. The participation of youth in leadership, electoral processes and other civic spaces is a positive development that can guarantee long term peace and stability in the country, and thus requires the necessary support to nature them into dependable transformative leaders with respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Current Generation Challenges

The young and emerging leaders have the duty to attend to the leadership failures of the current old generation of leaders. Such failures include poor service delivery in government agencies, high level of corruption, unemployment, ethnic balkanisation among other challenges. And in particular deal with challenges of their generations, for example, although the unemployment rate in Uganda is reported at 9% for the general population, this number is higher among the youth at 13% (NHS 2016/17). While these figures are within the global averages of unemployment among the youth which stands at 14.3%, the high underemployment and limited access to gainful employment especially among the youth has exacerbated the employment question in Uganda. 

Empowering the Next Generation of Leaders

However, the young and emerging leaders are always faced with the challenges of limited or no leadership experience, limited understand of the social economic challenges in the communities exacerbated by the not perfect existing institutional culture and framework which harbours non-performance, corruption, impunity among other negative vices. This in the end makes them less productive in political offices and often assimilated into the actions of the old leadership. The UNIFOG and KAS are now offering young and emerging leaders at institutions of high learning with skills in leadership with an understanding of the contemporary social political and economic problems.

Overall Objectives

The fellowship is aimed at enhancing the leadership capacities of young and emerging student leaders at institutions of higher learning through carefully guided learning, sharing, and developing leadership capabilities. The fellows will develop leadership potentials that will prepare them for more demanding leadership responsibilities in their communities.

Specifically, the fellowship will.

Build leaders

Build a breed of leaders with democratic values and accountable with a clear understanding of the political, social and economic institution in Uganda.

Build partnership

Build sustainable and meaningful partnership amongst the youth and emerging leaders for collective pursuance of national development.

Enhance Problem Interpretaion

Enhance the ability of the fellow to interpret social problem and come up with politically feasible solutions.



The fellowship hosts 30 fellows selected from five universities in Kampala, each university given six slots. The selection process will entail participants responding to the call. In the applications, the candidates will have to identify one major social problem in their community which they shall study and attempt to address during the course of the fellowship. The shirt listed applicants will participate in a selection interface in which the levels of analysis, eloquence and understanding of issues will be determined and form part of the selection criteria.


UNIFOG will draw a blended team of facilitators including in-house personnel with expertise and lived experiences in leadership, democracy and good governance, and development to deliver the sessions. The facilitators will ensure that application of experiences and practices are central to their delivery. This will be done through providing frameworks, explaining underlying principles, using illustrations from the local context and where necessary making comparisons of what happens elsewhere. The delivery mechanism will include an opportunity for participants to visit different parts of the country to facilitate their understanding of the geographical and nationalistic aspects of governance, a guided study of a development challenge in their communities as well as mentorship talks from senior political, business and opinion leaders.


The selected leaders will undergo a vigorous leadership training delivered though lectures, panel discussion, guest presentations, case study analysis, group work and leadership projects aimed at addressing a social challenge within their communities.


Our delivery goal is to ensure that we go beyond awareness and ‘theoretical’ knowledge to skill – the ability to do. Thus, a lot of case studies, exercise, and role-play among other approaches will be employed. The fellowship will, therefore, shift from the conventional methods of training the participants to ‘learning by the participants’ with the trainers becoming more of a learning facilitator.


The program delivers a mixed approach that includes lectures during which fellows are introduced to key concepts and theories, group assignments, documentaries and case study analysis. The mixed approach enables the participants to grasp every single aspect of the topic and makes them active through the activity.

Our Partners

Meet Our Partners

Our Expectations

At the end of our fellowship program;

  • Participants will be able to describe what institutions are and what they are not.
  • The role of institutions in nation development
  • Their role in contributing to the development of effective and inclusive institutions in Uganda.
  • Able to identify opportunities for influencing institutional change in Uganda.

Leadership & Success

Leadership training fellowship seeks to build leaders capable of transforming societies, they ought to understand the institutional barriers and opportunities to develop that exist in their communities. The historical background to political institutional change in Uganda and, specifically, the opportunities for and challenges to building inclusive institutions that guarantee resilient socio-economic and political development is of great importance to young leaders.

It is argued that successful countries are the ones that have been able to develop inclusive institutions that provide incentives for the citizens to participate in social, political, and economic development; where the contrary exists, extractive institutions as well as all economic and political benefits have gone to the ruling elites