Youth input vital in post-Covid public service delivery
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Covid-19 as a pandemic on March 11, 2020 with over 118,000 cases of the coronavirus in over 110 countries then.
Since then, the risk of further global spread has put every country on a high alert to contain the spread of the disease, with its economic and social impacts disrupting most aspects of life for all age groups in the society.
Covid-19 crisis poses considerable risk to the young people especially the vulnerable youth, who will shoulder much of the long term economic and social consequences.
Undoubtably, the public service delivery in the field of education, security, mental health and employment among others have experienced myriad of challenges.
However, the public service having had its share of challenges can capitalise on the enhancement of service delivery in post Covid-19 by use of effective governance mechanism and inclusive, fair participation of the youth in mitigation and recovery measures.
Notably, youth being an active age group and are not considered a high risk to severe Covid-19, unless with underlying health conditions, can do much to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Aging and retirement are normal phases in life and before the current retirement age of 60 for civil servants and parastatal bodies in Kenya was enforced, it was compulsory at 55 years of age.
Therefore, post Covid-19 mitigation and recovery measures may call for formulation and review of public administration and succession policies in the public service that may involve the youth in frontline service delivery.
Similarly, a review of the retirement age may pop up again for discussion in public participation events especially at a time when the pandemic continues to pose a threat to the society and public service delivery.
Considering the youth as frontline workers in post Covid-19 by majorly offering them opportunities in public service delivery, also enables the employer to identify potential employees for succession planning, which is key in sustaining the government initiative and performance on innovation regardless of the changing priorities, administration and politics.
This may be a step forward to the active population who are the majority as well as avoiding exposure of the aged to the coronavirus.
Additionally, a review of personnel work schedule in public service delivery is prudent to allow workers minimize contacts as well as introducing technology such as webinar for staff meetings.
It is impressive that this has become the new norm in most government departments and other organisations.
The pandemic crisis may impact on the various age cohorts which can exacerbate existing inequalities in the society.
The government has since embarked on the first phase of vaccination of all frontline workers.
The exercise which will be rolled out to all citizens on volunteer basis, has been welcomed with much hope and the government’s emphasis, commitment and confidence in the exercise has seen many Kenyans rush for the vaccine.
However, the adoption of the mitigation protocols against the spread of coronavirus should remain the new way of life in post Covid-19 era.
Similarly, the introduction of facilitated inclusive e-participation initiatives in the society to debate on fiscal, environmental and social policy is crucial for inter-generational justice and youth empowerment.
The recovery strategy in various sectors and government structures will require considerable resources to be mobilised for long term sustainability of social, environmental and economic development.
Moreover, this calls for strengthening the commitment to formulate policies on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in post Covid-19 for vision 2030.
Therefore, public service delivery that involves youth workers in post Covid-19 is pivotal in ensuring the buildup of youth resilience and recovery in the country. Kenyans should religiously follow the laid down Covid-19 rules. — The writer is a public administration expert