Theme for this year’s youth day prods us to think differently

Some of Kenyan youths during a peace walk on July 28 ahead of the country’s General Elections, which were held on August 9, 2022. 

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

By Joe Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Innovation, and Youth Affairs

This year’s International Youth Day, marked under the theme, “Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages”, urges nations to raise awareness among young people and the general public, to better appreciate the value of intergenerational solidarity in promoting youth advancement.

As a country, Kenya has observed this day since 2005, taking time to reflect on the progress made in promoting the youth agenda, and charting a path to a brighter future for young people.

As the United Nations states, “the world needs to leverage the full potential of all generations.” We are proud of the important role our youths play in society as a whole, and in the advancement of our country. Kenya’s population is quite youthful, and tapping young people’s talents significantly impacts national development.

As we all know, young people’s participation at the local, national, and global levels enriches institutions and processes in the respective regions. This underscores the importance of youth representation and engagement in achieving global action towards improving people’s quality of life.

We need to amplify young people’s voices and participation in the development discourse and initiatives for national progress. To achieve our national goals, we must champion inclusivity through the involvement of our youth in the implementation of development blueprints, such as Kenya Vision 2030, the Big-4 Agenda, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Ministry of ICT, Innovation, and Youth Affairs coordinates the implementation of Kenya’s National Youth Development Policy 2019. The ministry does this through programmes and activities focused on youth empowerment, mainstreaming the involvement of young people in national development matters, supervising stakeholders involved in youth-promoting activities, harnessing and developing youth talents and innovations, and promoting entrepreneurship among young people.

The policy highlights the youth’s key strengths and opportunities such as productivity, creativity, innovativeness, energy, drive, affinity for networking, entrepreneurship, and ability to use ICT skills. When such strengths are leveraged and optimised, Kenya’s demographic dividend will be realised.

We have undertaken a number of initiatives in collaboration with partners to help build resilience among youths so that they can better withstand the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and fully participate in economic development. These include the Kazi Mtaani programme, which has trained over 270,000 youths on Covid-19 mitigation measures, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship skills; the Uwezo Fund; the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF); the Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP); Kikao Dialogues; and Ajira Digital Programme. Youth Empowerment Centres (YECs) have also been established. They provide safe co-creation and incubation spaces for digital skills learning, entrepreneurship, talent, and innovation.

I wish to reassure our young people that the Government is committed to ensuring they are part and parcel of the development agenda, and will continue working with like-minded development partners and the private sector to achieve this.

I encourage and call upon our dynamic youth to proactively take advantage of the Government’s assistance in improving their lot. They must raise their voices so that we can better understand how to assist them. By contributing to national development today, they can shape the kind of future they want. They should remember, though, that working closely with other generations strengthens and catapults them towards bigger success.

Click here for details about special initiatives by the Kenyan government to empower the country's youths.

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