Government Spokesperson Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna has stressed the need to build a strong youth base for the country to develop, because this particular segment of the population was critical in national building, economic prosperity, social cohesion and political stability.
While addressing a youth forum and expounding on youth empowerment opportunities put in place by the government, during Chuka University career day celebrations, the government spokesperson stated that the government recognizes the importance of the youth in driving the economic progress of a country, adding that they must be well equipped.
“Youths are the engine that can be able to drive economic progress of a country and a good engine must be well tuned and well serviced for it to push the wheel of development to the next level,” he observed
At the same time, Oguna disclosed that various groups have been formed at county level to help in youth development by creating and organizing peace matters including fighting terrorism so that young people can be empowered and protected as the center of national development and security.
He noted that the government has rolled out many programs, initiatives and institutions to mainstream issues to do with the youths.
One of the programs, according to the spokesman is the Residential Digital Talent Program, a collaboration between the national government and private entities offering one year internship program in ICT fields.
Yet another initiative is the Studio Mashinani Program that was launched to provide young artist with production money to enable them release their work to the market.
Oguna encouraged youths to become job creators and challenged them to identify opportunities that will enable them access the money from the government.
He also challenged them to learn about Kenya in its entirety so as to fully represent the country within and outside its borders.
Speaking during the same event, Youth Regional Coordinator upper Eastern region, George Mbogo encouraged the youth to choose a program that will benefit them among the many options available.
He advised the youth to focus on opportunities in health insurance, real estate and farming.
“The government has affirmative action fund set aside for the youth, women and People Living with Disabilities that you can access to empower yourselves,” he disclosed.
Mbogo said that Youth Enterprise Development Fund provides capital to women, youth and People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) to start or expand their business. It offers a starting capital of not less than Sh100, 000 at interest rate of 5 per cent.
The coordinator also encouraged the youths to apply for Uwezo fund in groups, where they will be given the funds with no interest rate.
Also available is the Women Enterprise Development Fund to empower women, where men can also benefit if they are in groups with 70 per cent women.
The coordinator further urged needy students to apply for bursaries and scholarships through the National Government Affirmative fund noting that the funds are given to young talents as well.
Mbogo also enlightened participants on the Ajira digital platform that focuses on skill development and job creation as well as internship programs available within government institutions.
Mbogo further disclosed that the Kenya Youth Employment Project (KYEOP) launched Mbele na biz program to boost businesses, while acknowledging that six business people qualified for sponsorship in Tharaka Nithi County.
Meanwhile, the government has also launched Future bora to give funds to organizations run by the youth and those that support them.
By Sharon Gitau