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Vijana Shwari, Jamii Ajabu: The Future is the Youth

Press Statement of the NCCK Youth Conference

Preamble

The National Youth Conference organised by the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) has been held here at  Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru from 22nd – 23rd August 2021. The conference was guided by the theme “Wholesome Youth for a Wholesome Society 1 Timothy 4:12”

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

The National Youth Conference precedes the NCCK 64th General Assembly that will be held here over the next three days guided by the same theme.

This Youth Conference has noted with concern that the youth, despite constituting more than 70 per cent of our population, have largely been left out of leadership in the community, church and nation. The delegates, drawn from across the country, have reviewed and launched the National Youth Fragility Survey Report, and the NCCK Youth Engagement Framework

  1. The NCCK Youth Fragility Survey Report

The NCCK commissioned a National Youth Fragility Survey in December 2020 in which more than 900 youth across the country participated, sharing their views and fears as well as assessing their level of engagement in key decision making organs of the Church and Country. The results of the survey have been validated by the NCCK Regional Conferences held in the past two months. On the main, the National Youth Fragility Report highlighted the following issues facing the youth in Kenya today:

  • There is a glaring lack of Youth representation and involvement in the decisions made by community, religious and political institutions
  • The youth lack a sense of belonging in the community, church and nation
  • Religious beliefs and teachings do not influence the views of the Youth on a raft of socio-cultural issues 
  • There is a gap between the priorities of the community, church and state and the issues that Youth are currently struggling with which include Job and Financial Security, Value-driven Leadership and Political choices 
  • The youth experience a judgmental attitude by leaders and society which exerts heavy pressure and limits their freedom of expression
  • The youth are struggling to find meaning in their lives amid a fast-paced society

The survey report recommends crucial actions that the state, church and community should take to address the challenges facing the youth.

  1. The NCCK Youth Engagement Framework

To effectively implement the recommendations arising from the National Fragility Survey, we have developed the NCCK Youth Engagement Framework.

The NCCK Youth Engagement Framework will mainstream the concerns of the youth in all the organizational activities and strategies of the NCCK as well as in the member churches and organizations.

  1. Recommendations

Drawing from the findings of the National Youth Fragility Survey, and the targets of the NCCK Youth Engagement Framework, this National Youth Conference recommends the following to ensure that issues raised by the youth are adequately addressed for a prosperous future of our nation.

  • The church, community and political leadership to prioritise the issues concerning the youth. This should go beyond talk and should be reflected in inclusion of youth in leadership and budgetary allocations.
  • The National Government through the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, to accelerate the implementation of the Kenya Youth Policy 2019. We call upon the Ministry to deepen partnerships with different stakeholders so that there is an enhanced coordination of the interventions and programmes targeted at young people.
  • County Governments should accord adequate budgets to programmes targeted at young people.
  • Security agencies  should stop being a  terror to the youth. They youth are citizens, they are not a problem to be solved through brutality.
  • Political institutions should integrate the youth in their leadership and decision making structures.
  • The parents and teachers to work closely with the young people; mentoring and guiding them as they navigate the different areas of concern among youth like identity crisis, reproductive health related challenges, social vices like gang membership, debt and gambling, drugs and alcohol abuse, values, and a faith crisis, as well as technology addiction.

We also take this time to advice our youth to strongly resist those who intend to hire them to engage in violence before, during and after the elections. Remember, those who use you to engage in violence will dump you once their agenda is realized and you will be left with no benefit.  We instead encourage you to use your numbers to demand for and take up decision making positions in the political parties you support.

May we embrace sound morality as the guiding principle for our communal existence and societal endeavour. Love this Country, love Peace and refuse to be used to harm any person or property because of indifference in political views.

  1. Conclusion

In conclusion, we encourage community members, church structures and political institutions to embrace and accord the youth opportunities to rise to leadership positions and participate in decision-making processes of this nation. We remind each of us of the words of our National Anthem

Natujenge taifa letu Eeh, ndio wajibu wetu, Kenya istahili heshima, Tuungane mikono Pamoja kazini, Kila siku tuwe na shukrani

God bless us all, now and always.

Signed on this 23rd day of August 2021 here at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru.

Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui

General Secretary

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