Wednesday, May 25, 2022

NYC Fursa Mashinani – Time for our leaders to take concrete steps towards youth devolved opportunities

Must Read

The ongoing People Dialogue Festival is an important national discourse where participants are engaging in meaningful conversations that will finally come up with a clear roadmap for youth devolved opportunities.

Expectations are rife that discussions at the forum will accelerate the journey for the creation of County Youth Policies, whose adoption and implementation will create tangible opportunities for youth in the counties.

The Kenya Youth Development Policy set the pace nationally, however, with our devolved system of governance, a county youth-specific policy is one of the best decisions that our policy planners and political stakeholders can realise for our youth especially at this phase of our country’s history where we have a large, exposed, and youthful population.

The 2019 Population and Census results showed that three out of four Kenyans are below 35. Despite the potential such a youthful population has for catapulting Kenya to higher income levels, our youth face challenges that limit harnessing their potential including but not limited to unemployment, inability to access much-needed credit and a mismatch between what the labour market needs and the skills that the youth have.

These challenges stem from the national and county governments’ slow implementation of policies that empower the youth, which is understandable because as a country we were, and still are, in the early years of implementing the Constitution that came into life 12 years ago.

Now that we have a better grasp of the Constitution and how to implement it, now is the time to fully implement youth-focused policies and one area we can start is agriculture, the backbone of Kenya’s economy, as an example.

The Kenya Youth Development Policy, a document everyone interested in youth affairs should familiarise themselves with, states that whereas agriculture accounts for 40 per cent of Kenya’s total exports, the sector is dominated by an ageing population.

The average age of a farmer is 62 years, begging the question of how best should we incorporate more youth in this sector whose ability to generate opportunities for livelihood is boundless. The good news is that the policy has great ideas, some of which will hopefully be discussed at the festival.

For one, the policy recommends that the national and county governments should implement policies that support the youth in accessing land for agri-business, innovative agricultural technologies, promoting innovation and incubation of agricultural technologies, credit from agricultural development and extension services to support growth and development of these enterprises.

To maintain the spirit of these policies, public finance management systems at national and county levels should be strengthened to ensure the inclusion of Youth for improved service delivery.

These are conversations all stakeholders should be having, especially political leaders.

The National Youth Council has also identified patriotism and peace as key areas where Kenya needs a candid conversation. The youth must be at the forefront of upholding values that foster national unity, loyalty, and promote peaceful and inclusive societies as the youth stand to reap the biggest dividends from a cohesive society. 

But it is not all gloom. We have 10 progressive counties that are at different levels of implementing youth policies. Currently, Machakos County is undertaking public participation in the Youth Bill. In partnership with UNDP Tana River County is set to adopt and pass the Youth Policy while Busia County is kick-starting the process.

Is it possible to have all counties have Youth policies? The answer is Yes, especially if there is political goodwill.  At a national level, there has been progressing towards supporting the youth such as the establishment of the Youth Enterprise and Development Fund, Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) program which ringfences 30 per cent of public procurement to youth, women, and people with disabilities, and the Kazi Mtaani programme.

Finally, we must remember that while we are now in the season of politics which comes with many promises by politicians, only a youth policy adopted and implemented at the county level will give youth a chance at creating youth devolved opportunities and with it a promising future.

Dialogue with commitment for Youth is what we request all to keep in mind. We welcome all stakeholders to support this initiative.

Roy Sasaka Telewa is the National Youth Council Chief Executive Officer.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
Latest News

Holders KCB headline Pool A of Christie 7s

Kenya Rugby has confirmed the pools for the second round of the 2022 National Sevens Circuit at the RFUEA...
- Advertisement -

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -