The government has been urged to create a social welfare authority to address challenges facing the youth.
Speaking in Kitale at a forum dubbed ‘Fireplace’, Saboti MP, Caleb Amisi said youth challenges are increasing daily especially with the ever increasing population and urged the government to speed up measures that will address their challenges.
“We have reached a point where we need as a nation to have a serious conversation concerning matters affecting youth and find a solution before the situation goes out of hand,” he pointed out.
He noted that more than 70 % of the Kenyan population are youth who need a serious focus on handling their challenges to minimise future problems.
Amisi noted that currently a majority of youth are struggling with lack of employment opportunities, and are unable to sustain themselves, a challenge that exposes them to harmful habits such as using drugs.
The MP pointed out that once formed, the government through the social welfare authority should provide a stipend to the youth who complete their studies for their upkeep for the time they are seeking employment.
“The Country should design a welfare programme to cater for the youth who completed their studies but are still jobless,” the MP said.
“Youth need to have something for their upkeep. How are they surviving without jobs?” he added.
He said the government should rethink and make effective the available programmes for the youth such as the Uwezo Fund, Youth Enterprise and Development Fund among others which he said have not been able to solve the challenges facing the group.
This comes as the government is finalising the validation of the Kenya Youth development policy to replace the National Youth policy of 2007 in an attempt to address their challenges.
“The national youth policy of 2007 assisted the youth for that period and now the government is formulating a new policy to replace it,” said the County Director of Youth Development, David Chemonges.
In an Interview with KNA in his office, Chemonges said that most aspects were not captured in the youth policy of 2007 especially after a new constitution was enacted in 2010.
Some of the advantages of the proposed youth welfare policy according to Chemonges include a proposal to allocate 1% of the national government budget to run youth programmes.
“The proposed draft also captures Technical Vocational and Education Training (TVET) programmes and the funds for youths which both governments have embraced,” he disclosed.
He said that during public participation forums, majority of the youth noted that limited funding of the National Youth Council (NYC) was a setback towards youth development.
“They asked for extra funds to run their programmes under the National Youth Council,” he pointed out.
Despite the challenges, Chemonges said some of the youth in Trans Nzoia have embraced youth fund programmes and are engaging in income generating projects and asked other youth to emulate them.
By Moses Wekesa