Government Spokesperson, Col (rtd), Cyrus Oguna, has expressed concern over the growing list of youth reluctant to take up several empowerment programmes being rolled-out by the government, to create jobs and incomes for them.
Speaking during a youth empowerment forum held at the Mogotio Deputy County Commissioner’s office grounds in Mogotio Sub-County, Col Oguna said that the government has initiated programmes such as Kazi Mtaani, Uwezo Fund, Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP), Youth Enterprise Development Fund amongst others, but few were interested in taking advantage of such opportunities to secure funds and online jobs, to earn a living.
He noted that most youth instead of making use of their smartphones to apply for funds from government as well as other opportunities, they are misusing them through betting and visiting social media sites, which does not add value to them in the long run.
Oguna said that the government has established 212 Ajira Centres across the country where the youth can engage in digital work, adding that so far over 1.2 million youth were working as freelancers and the government plans to increase the number to 15 million by 2030.
“We will not achieve our vision 2030 goals if the youth are reluctant to drive our country forward,” he said.
He insisted that the youth only need to organize themselves in groups to access the credit facilities available at the Sub-County levels that will go a long way to enhance their economic opportunities.
Col Oguna lamented that most of the resources meant to benefit youth, women and People Living with Disabilities were being returned to the National Treasury because beneficiaries were not applying for the money.
He challenged the youth to be courageous enough by enrolling in Ajira Digital platform, where they can access opportunities within the country and beyond, because it is an alternative to white color jobs, which he noted are hard to come by.
Oguna encouraged youth from Baringo County to make use of the existing community innovation hubs (CIHs) such as the Rift Valley Innovation Centre at Mwachon in Eldama Ravine and in Kabarnet, where they are trained on how to apply and start online work.
“In Rift Valley region, there are a total of 29 Community Innovation Hubs from where the youth can get help to start online work,” Col Oguna stated.
Mogotio Deputy County Commissioner, Albert Mwaringa, noted that most of the local youth were not even aware of the existing government opportunities and where to find them.
He promised that his Office in conjunction with the relevant departments will organize empowerment forums, in order to educate the youth on the need to change their mindsets on white collar jobs and embrace self-employment and income creation opportunities.
A local youth leader, Felix Kemboi, who is also the National Executive Coordinator of Kenya Universities Students, reiterated the need for youth to take advantage of the National Government programmes, to create their own jobs and for others.
He challenged the youth not to complain about unemployment and lack of money, but instead utilize their expensive smartphones and other electronic gadget to source for jobs in the domestic market and beyond.
Everlyne Chepchumba, another youth, thanked the government through the Office of the Spokesperson, for organizing the empowerment forum and promised to make use of the acquired information to grow themselves in the various sectors they intend to venture in.
“I am urging our local leaders to organize more forums for the youth, so that they can share their challenges and get assistance,” she said.
The youth leaders called on KYEOP, to establish more offices at the constituency levels to enable them to access credit facilities.
By Benson Kelio and Joshua Kibet