Implement the Kenya Youth Development Policy

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020 00:00 |
Shabana FC’s Kevin Momanyi (in tracksuit) with fellow youth commencing work after joining Kazi Mtaani. Photo/PD/ZACHARY GIBO

After five years of waiting, the country has finally birthed the Kenya Youth Development Policy, setting off the journey of its implementation to transform the lives of our young people for generations to come.

Having advocated for the policy and served on its Technical Committee, it is humbling and exciting to say this document, if fully implemented can be a game changer for the welfare of the youth.

The policy forms a credible guide and reference tool for effective development and implementation of youth empowerment and development interventions in Kenya, in line with the Constitution and development goals at the county, national and international levels.

Lack of such an initiative has over the years denied policy makers an opportunity to anchor youth agenda in policy formulation leading to years of neglect and unfulfilled promises.

The policy is an expression of the collective commitment of concerned stakeholders to harness and optimise immense strength and opportunities the youth in Kenya harbour, which they have failed to tap as they navigate both difficulty personal and structural barriers.

The framework offers clear mechanisms of implementation, coordination at national, county and sub-county levels, down to youth at the grass roots— a component that has been missing in the past.

The strategy also provides for institutional, communication, monitoring and evaluation frameworks to ensure effective implementation of identified policy objectives and measures.

This would again provide accountability that has lacked in many youth-geared policies in the past.

The youth are essential the nation’s development  The policy places the youth at centre of development.

It recognises  that youth is not a homogenous group. Although they experience common developmental issues, their backgrounds, experiences, interests, gender, requirements and cultures are diverse.

The policy aligns itself to the United Nations Development Programme  human development perspective, which emphasises on richness of human life and focuses on creating fair opportunities and choices for all people.

It further  seeks to create requisite conditions that guarantee youth their rights and security, support their meaningful participation in political and economic life, contribute to environmental sustainability and ensure gender equality.

It provides an infrastructure for empowering youth, creating and supporting enabling conditions, under which youth can act on their own behalf and on their terms, rather than on direction of others.

Although the policy highlights challenges the youth face such as unemployment, underdevelopment, exclusion and lack of access to basic services, it also looks at their positive side, a constituent with immense potential and capabilities that need to be harnessed.

It wants to not only  safeguard the rights of the youth, but also to help them understand and fulfil their responsibilities for the development of the society.

Another key proposal is that the government allocates adequate resources in the annual budget to facilitate successful implementation of what the policy outlines.

Most importantly, the policy recognises youth development is not the responsibility of government alone.

It stipulates obligations of other stakeholders, including state and non-state actors.

That said, effective implementation is crucial. Such implementation will guarantee every young person opportunities to lead healthy and creative lives, acquire knowledge and access resources they need for a decent standard of living. — The writer is the author of Conversations about the Youth in Kenya. [email protected]

More on News