State Department for Youth Affairs Principal Secretary (PS) Charles Sunkuli, has called on the youth in the country to engage the government through available avenues on the challenges they face as they strive towards economic empowerment.
Among the programmes available for youth, the PS noted include Uwezo Fund, National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF), Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) and Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF).
Sunkuli said the government advocates for youth inclusion in the nation’s development processes through such initiative as the Kenyan Youth Empowerment Opportunities Programme (KYEOP) and the National Youth Council (NYC) and Kazi Mtaani, among other.
The PS described the ‘Kikao Forum’ as an important platform as it creates an opportunity for youth to engage with the government to discuss challenges and explore suitable interventions to problems they encounter.
Sunkuli who was accompanied by The Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Nadia Ahmed Abdallah and Director General Vision 2030, Kenneth Mwige, were in Narok to launch ‘Kikao Youth Forum’ in the County after it was nationally launched in Kilifi County a month ago.
The Forum also brought on board different stakeholders among them the Anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Board, Postbank and County Government of Narok and was sponsored by Vision 2030.
Sunkuli who hails from the County said Narok is earmarked as one of the fundamental counties in achieving the economic pillar with key contributions in the tourism sector. It is home to the world-famous game reserve, the Maasai Mara and contributes much in the agriculture and livestock sector as well.
“This is an opportunity to share experiences, challenges and forge a way forward in terms of solutions. I am optimistic that it will bear fruit in empowering the youth in this great County,” he said.
Sunkuli regretted that many youths lost their businesses last year as a result of Covid-19 pandemic that affected the global economy, hence driving many to lose their livelihood.
“We are here to sit with the young people and show them the many opportunities that are available in government, to dialogue with them and try to find solutions on the question of youth employment,” emphasized Sunkuli.
CAS Abdallah, encouraged youth in Narok County to take advantage of the many opportunities available in government to boost their standards of livelihood.
Ms Abdallah said people aged below 35 years are about 75 per cent of the total population, while the youth aged 18-35 years comprise about 30 per cent of the population, hence the reason why the government has put various programmes to empower young people economically.
The gathering, she said, accords youth an opportunity to meet with various stakeholders drawn from State and Non-State actors and creates a platform to obtain information on empowerment opportunities.
“The Forum is dubbed ‘Kikao’, a swahili word for ‘dialogue’ because it presents a chance for the youth to sit down with their leaders and identify root causes of the many challenges they face with an aim of overcoming them,” she said.
She reminded that youth are no longer the future of this country but the present, adding that the Forum was meant to remind the young people that Kenya is young people and young people are Kenya.
“We want no one to be left behind as we build our talents and innovations. The vision 2030 cannot be achieved without the youth on Board,” said the youthful CAS.
On his part, the Vision 2030 Director General called on the youth to take a personal responsibility of visiting the respective offices to inquire on how to get funds for their businesses.
Mwige reminded that though the government had many opportunities, they will not benefit individuals if they did not take step of following up the protocol laid by the government to access the Funds.
“You have to visit the respective office to pick a form, fill and follow the instructions given for you to access the Funds. I challenge the young people not to be lazy in applying for the Funds,” he reiterated.
He asked the young people to become ambassadors of vision 2030 by believing they can do something positive in life and putting efforts in achieving their vision.
The ‘Kikao Forums’, he said, will be undertaken in all the 47 counties in the country so as to ensure all young people are given an opportunity to dialogue with the government to find solutions for their daily challenges.
By Ann Salaton