The government will spend more than Sh. 400 million to construct and equip youth empowerment centres in 138 constituencies, Gender Principal Secretary (PS), Safina Kwekwe Tsungu has said.
Ms. Tsungu said the government was already spending some Sh.50 million to equip empowerment centres that had already been constructed in 152 out of the 290 constituencies before the end of this year.
She was speaking on Saturday at the Mapimo Vocational Training Centre in Magarini Constituency during celebrations to mark this year’s International Youth Week, whose theme is ‘Transformative Education.’
The PS did not give the timelines for the construction of empowerment centres in the remaining 138 constituencies, but said it was the aim of the government to ensure every constituency hosts a youth empowerment centre.
“It is the government’s objective to ensure that all constituencies have youth empowerment centres, and to do this, the state will spend at least Sh 400 million,” she told journalists after the celebrations.
Tsungu said the Coast region had already benefitted from 12 youth empowerment centres, which the government had resorted to equip to offer internet and counselling services to the youth.
She said the government was using the week to sensitize the youth on the various avenues they can explore to acquire educational and technical skills.
“We are creating awareness on scholarship programmes funded by the government and its partners, issues to do with 100 percent transition from primary to secondary schools, technical and vocational education training, and how to access university education,” Tsungu said.
The PS said that unlike in other regions, youth empowerment centres at the Coastal area had counselling services to help curb radicalization, early pregnancies and drug abuse among other vices common to the region.
“We want all youth empowerment centres in the Coast region to offer counselling services because many youths inadvertently find themselves engaging in anti-social activities and we want them to disentangle themselves from the vices through the counselling services. The empowerment centres would offer services according to the needs of the youth in respective constituencies. If for example the youth of a certain constituency are talented in music, their empowerment centres will have recording facilities,” she said, adding that in areas where the youth are talented in games, the centres would offer sports facilities.
The Magarini Member of Parliament, Michael Kingi lauded the national government for initiating the idea of youth empowerment centres, saying they would benefit youth in accessing a wide range of opportunities.
By Emmanuel Masha