Government spokesperson Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna has encouraged youths to empower themselves with knowledge that will enable them make use of available government funding and in turn help reduce the unemployment rate and poverty levels in the country.
“The best gift that you can give a person is education,” said Oguna, while calling on the youth to be more informed on the various government programmes, aimed at funding youth-driven businesses.
The government spokesperson, speaking in Siaya during a Youth Empowerment Forum to sensitize the young people on the available opportunities for funding by the Government through programmes such as Ajira Digital, Uwezo Fund, AGPO and others, said that the youth need to be empowered mentally to believe they can achieve self-reliance.
The forum held at the Siaya County Commissioner’s compound Wednesday, was attended by close to a hundred participants.
Siaya County, Oguna said, has produced a lot of intellectuals, but is ranked among the last in the poverty index, something only the youths can change.
“We are so educated and learned but we are lingering at the bottom,” he added.
The government spokesman pointed out that 30 percent of every Ministry’s procurement budget every financial year is dedicated to the young men and women of this nation, but very few are aware and even fewer have sought out such opportunities, citing that what they lacked was aggressiveness.
“Right now there are over 1.2 million Kenyans earning from online jobs, you can be one of those people, but you must get up and get out,” challenged Oguna.
“These programmes will not come to you at home, you must go to the respective offices and be told about them, don’t be shy, don’t be afraid,” he reiterated.
Commenting on the forthcoming general election, Oguna reminded the youth in attendance that it is the ordinary citizen who suffers most when chaos erupts and so as the most critical stakeholders of the polls, it was up to them to ensure peace is maintained before, during and after elections.
Oguna observed that due to unemployment and poverty levels among the youth, they remain the most vulnerable group likely to be misused by politicians by giving them handouts in order to influence their voting patterns.
He called on the young people in Siaya and the country at large to be vigilant and realize that handouts cannot sustain them and instead think about their futures as young people and vote with their conscience.
By Calvin Otieno