Kenya: Joining forces to meet youth ambitions in Kenya
GenU Kenya advances its youth agenda by ensuring young people themselves play a key role as active changemakers in institutionalizing meaningful youth engagement.
Kenya — Officially launched on August 5, 2020, Generation Unlimited in Kenya involves young people, the private sector, youth organisations, bilateral and multilateral partners as well as financing organizations to empower young people to become productive and engaged members of society.
Echoing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s vision for young people to thrive, the new partnership will launch innovative solutions to help youth overcome the challenges they face in accessing quality education, training, and decent employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. There will be a particular focus on supporting vulnerable young people and a push to accelerate scalable initiatives and good practices. Young people will co-create activities and solutions as active problem solvers and key stakeholders.
With this strong public-private stakeholder partnership now in place alongside existing youth engagement frameworks, Kenya is poised to achieve the ambitious goal of having every young person (10-24) in school, training, or employment by 2030. This is important for progress on all fronts in Kenya as seen during the recent COVID-19 pandemic when young people demonstrated that they have a lot to contribute when given the chance. For instance, 15 university students developed a new type of ventilator, which won them the 2020 UN Kenya Persons of the Year award. Among them was Bernard Karanja who was closely involved in the recent GenU Kenya launch event as a panelist.
Science and innovation are important fields for Kenya and GenU is also encouraging young scientists and innovators to rise up. Two teams of young people who recently competed in the Kenya National Science and Technology Exhibition have been selected to represent the country at the global GenU Youth Challenge. In early December, one of the teams, the Green Project which is working towards providing clean, accessible, reliable, and affordable energy made from organic waste by unemployed youth in informal settlements, was announced as one of the eight Youth Challenge Champions.
To remove key barriers youth face in their professional development, monthly sessions (Fursa mashinani) are also convened, bringing youth partners and stakeholders together with leaders in the sector.
Meanwhile, to institutionalize youth engagement, Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, is also supporting a campaign dubbed Kenya Ni Mimi, which was launched on 7 December 2020 by the President. The initiative allows youth across Kenya to take a front-row seat in discussing issues that affect them and also to access information on available opportunities. During the launch, the President challenged young people to take charge of the country’s destiny. The event was also attended by Ayya Chebi, the African Union Special Envoy on Youth who said: “The Africa we want is borderless and peaceful and all have a role to play as youth to bring the change we want in Kenya and Africa at large”.