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Youth for Peace, Cohesion and Dignified Livelihoods

Youth for Peace, Cohesion and Dignified Livelihoods

Preamble

A youth conference bringing about 100 youths drawn from Murang’a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Embu, Laikipia and Nyandarua was held here at Our Lady of Fatima Pastoral Centre on 22nd and 23rd March 2023. During the conference, the participants reflected on the importance of living in love drawn from Ephesians 5:2:

….and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…

Following the deliberations held during the conference, we wish to share the following message:

  1. Uphold peace and cohesion at all cost

We took note that, notwithstanding the level of grievance, and despite the economic situations, peace remains indispensable. We reflected on the journey that Vijana Twaweza! Has covered since inception in 2021 and note with gratitude the contribution the youth made in ensuring the 2022 elections were peaceful. Their engagements included peace messaging, engaging in issue-based campaigns rather than tribal and divisive politics and desisting from being misused by rogue politicians. The peace gains made in the last elections must be guarded at all costs by everyone, beginning with us youths. Our rallying call will, therefore, remain that non-violent, non-destructive and non-divisive dispute resolution mechanisms must be deployed to sort out any grievance.

  • Dignified livelihoods for youth will enhance peace and cohesion

Poverty, unemployment, underemployment, mismatch of skills with the market were noted to be putting majority of youth under great pressure and vulnerability to mental health issues, giving themselves for hire to rogue individuals to perpetrate violence and even terrorism, immorality, among other ills. The young people decried withdrawal of Kazi Mtaani from which they used to benefit. Crime rates, domestic and gender based violence in the region have increased courtesy of high cost of living. Many young people with education certificates are tarmacking looking for jobs to no avail leaving them desperate. Those engaging in entrepreneurship are barely surviving in the ruthless hand of punitive taxes and an environment that is dismally conducive for business. Accessing financial facilities has proved an uphill tax for the resource-deficient youth, with many having limited information on operations of Youth Enterprise Fund in the counties and others disoriented by the application process. It was notable, however, that a number of young people have benefitted from the fund to build their portfolio. Discouraging levels of nepotism, tribalism and ‘connections’ in the counties have also greatly affected access to job opportunities by qualified youths greatly affecting their morale. To address these challenges, we propose that:

  1. The religious institutions and other key players to prioritize career guidance for students, targeting both the children and parents to assist them select marketable courses as they join colleges and universities.
  2. Sufficient awareness creation on youth-friendly funding facilities available to youths to address the negative notion on such funds as youth enterprise funds.
  3. Reviewing of courses in the higher learning institutions to ensure only the marketable ones remain to enhance their employability and reduce the risk of unguided youths from pursuing irrelevant courses.
  4. Provide scholarships to technical colleges for the needy youth to give them an opportunity to study.
  5. Review the prohibitive taxes that stagnate youth businesses.
  6. Develop youth talents academies in the counties for nurturing of youth talents that can eventually become their source of employment.
  7. There is need for the government at the county and national level to put more effort to lower the cost of living to reduce the level of suffering in our families.
  8. Provide more support to the differently abled persons to set up their entrepreneurial initiatives.
  • Drug and Substance Abuse

Our counties remain highly ravaged by alarming levels of alcoholism, drug and substances abuse among the youth. What is even more sickening is the rate of permissiveness by those in authority as peddlers continue with their businesses with untold impunity. We are slowly losing a generation as many of the addicts have become unproductive and in fact counter-productive as they go to the extent of stealing to acquire the drugs and alcohol. In this regard, we:

  1. Call on the county and national government to partner in providing free rehabilitation centres for drug addicts.
  2. Call on the enforcement officers to be ruthless on the peddlers of illicit brews and those who blatantly open bars outside the legal hours. Any such officer suspected to be an accomplice to the peddlers should face the same wrath.
  3.  Call on the parents to get close to their children and provide the parental support required to build resilience against such vices.

CONCLUSION

We conclude by encouraging our fellow youths that all is not lost, despite all the difficulties we face. Where peace and cohesion prevail, and when we get access to dignified livelihoods, there lies our hope. These are what we must strive to achieve. We should not remain quiet but must get out and engage the right institutions to bring this dream to reality.

God bless Central Region, God bless Kenya

Signed this day of 23rd March 2023 at Our Lady of Fatima Pastoral Centre, Maragua:

Joseph Kang’utu Maina                                                                     

Regional Youth Representative, NCCK Central Region 

Isaac Njoroge

Regional Manager, NCCK Central Region

July 2024
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