The Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has held a two-day youth dialogue forum in Kilgoris town, Narok County with an aim of popularizing the ‘Kenya Ni Mimi’ (KNM) initiative.
The forum led by Principal Secretary-In-Charge of Youth Affairs, Charles Sunkuli, brought together about 300 stakeholders drawn from various ministries, religious groups and youth groups to discuss issues affecting the youth in the country.
PS Sunkuli called on the youth to shun apathy and become active drivers of their own development through leadership, entrepreneurship, innovation, social cohesion and environmental conservation.
Sunkuli, who hails from Narok County said the forum gives the youth an opportunity to ensure their issues are well represented at the decision-making table.“This initiative is guided by five key pillars which are: Access to opportunities among the youth, innovation and talent development, health and wellbeing, value of peace, love and unity, and environmental conservation,” said the PS.
Also present in the two-day workshop were Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Nadia Ahmed Abdalla, CAS Education, Mumina Bonaya, CAS Public Service and Gender, Linah Jebii Kilimo and UNFPA representative, Dr. Ademola Olajide.
The programme held on Wednesday and Thursday targeted ten youth participants from six counties namely; Kajiado, Bomet, Kericho, Nakuru, Kisii and Nyamira and Narok County producing 40 youths who will form a network of informing other youth in their respective counties.
The PS reiterated that the government is keen in promoting holistic youth empowerment and youth led action to end teenage pregnancies, Female Genital Mutilation and child marriage.
“Data shows that the teenage pregnancy rate in Kenya stands at 18 percent with Narok leading at 40 percent. Our focus is to finish this harmful practice and build a responsible youth,” added the PS.
CAS Abdalla on her part reiterated that KNM initiative is a One-Stop Shop that gives the youth a platform to contribute positively to the social-economic growth of the Country.
The dialogue, she said, seeks to engage the youth through meaningful, responsive, and inclusive discussions particularly that reform, rehabilitate and inspire.
“One thing we lack as youth is the fact that we do not take this country as our own to contribute to the development and social economic growth of the country,” she said, adding that the government targets to equip youth with knowledge and networks in a bid to grow a better population.
Through the forums, the youth are given a chance to express their concerns affecting them and provide possible tangible solutions on the same.
“We, young people are very vulnerable, however, we want to take a lead to be part of the solutions of issues affecting the country and not the problem. This is because we are not the future but the present,” added the CAS.
Narok County Commissioner, Evans Achoki, said as leaders in the County, they will continue to dialogue with the youth, especially on the key issues that affect them that include drug abuse, gender based violence and joblessness.
Achoki added that they will continue engaging the youth on how they can conduct a peaceful election owing to the fact that the country will be holding General Elections next year.
On harmful practices, the County Commissioner said the Narok has made tremendous steps as the youth have been in the forefront of reporting cases of FGM, child marriage and promoting peace in volatile areas.
By Ann Salaton