Nakuru youth lead war on extremism and drugs

Carlos Kipkoech, a 26-year-old recovered drug addict in Nakuru. 

Photo credit: Francis Nureithi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Youth Bila Noma has helped young men and women start and engage in income-generating projects such as poultry keeping and painting.
  • One of the beneficiaries of Youth Bila Noma programmes is Mr Carlos Kipkorir, 26.

As she calmly steps into Bondeni police station in Nakuru East, Rukkiya Ahmed can be mistaken for a resident out to report a crime.

But she is on a different mission. Ms Ahmed is a member of Youth Bila Noma, a group fighting radicalisation.

The group has been helping young people sucked into radicalisation, violent extremism and drug addiction.

Youth Bila Noma operates in Bondeni, Kaptembwa, Kwa Rhonda, Ponda Mali, Lumumba, Kivumbini, Kaloleni, Flamingo, Manyani, Shauri Yako, Ojuka, Paul Machanga, Kanyon City and Baharini slums.

Ms Ahmed is a founder member. Other members of the group are Edwin Onimi, Ms Lynda Mwaura, Ms Michelle Aim, Mr John Kamande, Ms Maryanne Kamau, Mr Mohammed Almwinyi and Ms Maimuna Mwinyi.

They formed the group in 2018 after being trained in a programme sponsored by the United States embassy called Integrated Initiative for Community Empowerment.

Youth Bila Noma has helped young men and women start and engage in income-generating projects such as poultry keeping and painting.

Bondeni Police station has been given a new coat of paint by the group, which is also doing all it can to improve relations between the officers and the youth.

Youth Bila Noma has won many admirers, including the United Kingdom Institute of Strategic Dialogue under Strong Cities Network, the National Counter-Terrorism Centre and criminologists at Egerton University.

“The organisation has been pushing for the participation of young people in strengthening community resilience against radicalisation and violent extremism,” Nakuru County Commissioner Erastus Mwenda Mbui said recently.

Ms Ahmed was a fourth-year Architecture student when she dropped out of Technical University of Kenya due to lack of fees.

“Terrorism, has no religion or colour,” she said.

One of the beneficiaries of Youth Bila Noma programmes is Mr Carlos Kipkorir, 26.

“Youth Bila Noma rescued me from the jaws of destruction. I have been rehabilitated from drugs and alcohol,” the Egerton University student said.

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