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Ministry of ICT inaugurates youth sector working groups

The Ministry of ICT, Innovation, and Youth Affairs through the State Department of Youth Affairs in Kwale County has inaugurated the County Youth Sector Working Groups (CYSWG).

County Youth Working Sector Groups are working forums that prioritize youth empowerment programs in the county.

The groups are established under the Kenya Youth Development Policy of 2019 that enables the State Department of Youth Affairs to address challenges and expectations of the youth.

Seven key areas at the county level were identified by the Policy for emphasis to push forward the youth economically.

The seven identified areas are Health and Wellbeing, Employment, Environmental Sustainability, Values, Talent Development, and Innovation and Enterprise Development.

County sector working groups are Chaired by the County Executive in charge of Youth Affairs and comprise the County Director of Youth in the National Government, and members who include relevant stakeholder’s representatives including private sector entities like Community Based Organizations and Non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Addressing the press during the inauguration forum in Diani Reef Hotel, Kwale County Director of Youth Affairs Kent Simiyu, said that the youth sector working groups are a breakthrough in addressing issues affecting youth in the county.

Simiyu added that there is need for the various stakeholders to change their approaches when addressing issues of youth since most of the life aspects in society are changing because of technology.

“Through these working sector groups, all issues affecting the youth, be it entrepreneurship and governance shall be addressed and help them realize their dream,” Simiyu said.

The youth director noted that the government is keen to ensure that youth are economically empowered and the policy gives the framework of the approaches and interventions directed to the youth.

Simiyu said that technical and vocational training is keen on transforming the lives of the youth and urged the sector working groups to make it a priority.

He said the technical training offered by the Kenya Youth Employment Opportunities Project (KEYOP) has transformed many young people in the county.

”We must incorporate technical training in our programs because this is the only way to help the youth employ themselves and also for the benefit of other members of the society,” ‘Simiyu added.

He noted that the 4 K clubs in schools is an incredible initiative that seeks to create awareness and inculcate a positive mindset towards agriculture, among school going children.

Simiyu said there is a need for the youth to change their mentality on employment and instead focus on innovation.

In Kwale County, the majority of the youth are unemployed forcing them to be trapped in drug and substance abuse, and terrorism.

Simiyu noted that the increase in drug and substance usage is alarming and called on all stakeholders to be determined to tame the vice.

However, the director urged the participants to absorb schoolgirls in their programs to reduce the rising cases of early marriages and teen pregnancies.

In Kwale County, the youth agenda are fostered by NGOs like Plan International, Maendeleo ya Wanawake, Post Bank, Kenya Red Cross, and Community based Organizations such as Samba Sports and Manyatta Youth Entertainment.

The director urged the partners to put their resources into good use especially in solving key problems affecting the youth.

He noted that the majority of the partners have excellent programs but performed very poorly when it comes to implementations on the ground.

“We must make a change on the ground. Let’s be diligent in our work. Through our efforts, we can transform the lives of many youth,’’ Simiyu said.

The County Executive for Culture and Social Services (CEC), Ramadhan Bungale, said the County Government is working hard to formulate a youth policy document developed by the youth in the region.

He added that the County Government will be obliged to include youth projects that seek to transform their fortunes in its annual budgets.

“For now, the programs we have on youth are not captured in the law and it’s pulling us behind but we are determined to have a youth policy as soon as possible,” Bungale said.

The CEC urged the different players on matters of youth to focus on changing the attitude of the youth.

He said many attempts towards empowering the youth have failed tremendously citing their negative attitude towards life.

Bungale added that if motivation could be incorporated into the programs, then the youth would perform excellently in their struggles to better their economic condition.

Integrated Project Officer for Plan International Kwale, Isaiah Ollando, said the Non-Governmental Organization will work closely with the groups to transform the lives of the youth.

Ollando added that the organization has launched many projects that aim to transform the lives of young people in the county.

“Let us cooperate and make these youth sector working groups to achieve the big agenda of creating a very independent youth in the county,” Ollando said.

He said that the programs are carefully crafted to equip the youth with relevant skills for employment.

He said Plan International is currently training close to 150 youth on agricultural projects especially in Climate Smart Agriculture such as beef-farming and livestock rearing.

The Integrated Project Officer challenged the different stakeholders to channel their services to all parts of the county especially in remote areas.

By Raymond Zaka and Hussein Abdullahi


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