Youth unemployment and limited access to opportunities have been listed as some of the major hurdles that the youth in Kenya have to grapple with.
A study recently released by the National Council of Churches of Kenya titled “The Youth Fragility Report” highlighted 10 key issues affecting the youth with the subject of unemployment topping the list.
The report describes the challenge as, “poverty, which encapsulates challenges related to unemployment, underemployment, lack of opportunities, and lack of support for young entrepreneurs and talented youth.”
According to the report, the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic that continue to rock the country have not made things any easier for the young population in the country.
Among those adversely affected are university students who may not be able to attend physical classes at their institutions, a majority of whom may not have resources to join online classes. They are left with options that threaten the future of their education.
“Many young people who resorted to casual labour (vibarua) including local motorcycle taxis (boda boda), cart pushing, farm and commercial labour supply during the Covid-19 period are at a very high risk of dropping out of schools and colleges.”
Those who were also employed lost their jobs as employers laid them off owing to the dwindling fortunes that affected employment.
The study released by NCCK proposes that the government should channel more resources and develop new strategies that will help the youth access opportunities.
“The National Government needs to develop a Youth Employment and Economic Empowerment Marshal Plan which will address unemployment, lack of access to credit and technology, and promote market access,” the report suggested.
In this regard the government has started and has been running programmes and making policy decisions that appear to be aimed at providing economic opportunities as well as the youth being invited to the table where national decisions are made.
During the Covid period, the government initiated the Kazi Mtaani programme. This is a national hygiene programme that was rolled out countrywide to clean up the environment especially in informal settlements such as cleaning up streets in various towns and villages and the unblocking of blocked sewer tunnels among other functions.
At least 23,000 youth both male and female and vulnerable cases of single parents benefitted from this programme, being hired to do the work and receiving payment on a daily basis to sustain their livelihoods.
By Duncan Mutwiri