Saturday, 18 May 2013

How does change happen for the Youth?


"How does change happen?
This is perhaps one of those eternal questions
that carries both simplicity
and depths of complexity
juxtaposed in a tension
so bright and dark that
emotions explode and identities blur.

Is your belief defined by your role
or is your role defined by your belief?

How does change happen?"



These are the opening lines of a poem by TIG's Executive Director, Jennifer Corriero, written during the COP15 climate negotiations in Copenhagen the year 2010.

 “Tomorrow you shall go everywhere to study, to learn a speciality, and to get to know the world. Workers, working people will have an equal share in these study missions.  You shall go everywhere, to all the parts of the world. These contacts with the outside world, this direct confrontation with the reality of life will make you experienced people, whom the free and independent Congo needs today,”  Patrice Lumumba – First elected Congolese Prime Minister Address to Congolese Youth August, 1960.

These were the aspirations of most founding fathers of the African Continent after the Independence, they gave hope to many especially the youth in understanding the diversity and the true realities they faced when most countries begun gaining Independence from their colonial masters.

The leaders not forgetting Kenya, they inspired us by the many opportunities that will make each day afford us to wake-up and live another day striving to reach our goals as a nation.

Goals that will make us make strides, in our social, political and economic endeavors; Strides that will raise our education standards to provide opportunities for the youth, homes for the homeless, and food for the hungry.
They made us hold on to the hope to achieve that change to which we look forward every day. The realities of the problems that face our country have solutions and or can be improved. Investing our energy to reach a point where we can all listen and concentrate on achieving our common goals as Kenyans.

However, we still face many hurdles on our way.

With an increasing population growth rate of 2.7 per annual with an increasing unemployment rate that was t 6.7 per cent in 1978 and currently at 40 per cent justifies that in relation to the growth rate of the economy standing at 4.7 per cent by the third quarter of 2012 is far below the Kenya Vision 2030 blue print that targets an average of 10 per cent.

“Africa is the youngest continent. The current youth of Africa are not only important for Africa but also for the world,” according to Shantayanan Devarajan, Chief Economist for the World Bank’s Africa region.
Devarajan notes that Young people are usually the ones who lead innovation and are a source of labor force of any economy.

But how can the country tap into this immense human resource?

The only way this can be achieved is formulating policies that must in a way reflect youth’s demands and interests.
Youth have to make sure they involve themselves in policy making platforms for their views to be heard and included.
They have to follow up and make sure implementation takes place in accordance to the budget.

 If youths’ demands are given a considerable attention, they will in any way bring about desired socio-political transformation.

“The most important is to change the mindset of the youth. For youth empowerment, we do not a political solution but rather change of mind set.”

Economic policies should go in accordance with youth’s abilities aiming at helping them to do something, somewhere. Effective uses of our resources especially time resource is fundamental for transformation.

It is said that education is key which unlocks life, as prayer unlocks the kingdom of heaven. Everything we do, we know and we talk, we were taught in different forms. It is an important role of the youths to acquire, preserve, use and disseminate education as the source raising the educated society.

Now with the elections over with some petitions still in at the Supreme Court yet to be determined, the polls ushered in a new era, an era that marks 50 years since independence to deal with our challenges for good.

However, this path for a new Kenya coming to birth can only be brought to life when, as a nation, we combine this vision with the conviction that together we will collectively harness our various talents to build the necessary economic power that the nation desires.”

With his belief, we can firmly echo Michelle Obama, the US First Lady’s words while in Soweto in South Africa that, “ I have seen that same passion, that same determination to serve in young people I have met all across the world. If anyone of you ever doubts that you can build that future, if anyone ever tells you that you shouldn't or you can't, then I want you to say with one voice – the voice of a generation –-you tell them, "Yes, we can!"

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