I am privileged enough to work under a unified umbrella. To interact with people who exercise longterm and deliberate thinking, I’m involved. It was under this line of thinking that a colleague and mine and I decided to create a round table discussion on the most important yet forgotten group during this pandemic period. The youth.
A person is considered a youth in Kenya if they are between the age bracket of 18–34 years. Youth in Kenya according to the previous census make up to 35.7 million of the total population. Despite the massive numbers, rarely will you find them in spaces where policies are either made or formulated. This is because they have been branded as languorous. The youth in my country have never had a ministry of their own. They are either thrown under the ministry of sports or on a good day ICT reason being, we are of no importance and we don't ooze out the kind of seriousness that is required from us. Says the baby boomers!
During our round table discussion on covid and the different effects, it has on youth a lot comes out. The youth in these sessions are of diverse background. From the international student in Karen to the kid come parent who resides in Majengo. Most if not all of the social classes are covered during these sessions. Most of them highlight their issues, which in my opinion are minute compared to the number of fraud cases that most government officials are involved in. Most youths are very much in touch with reality. They are fully aware of the fact that hard work plays and it's only through focus ad determination will they rise from the situations they are in. In a country that has a population of unemployed individuals, it is no secret that the youth contribute largely to the countries GDP. They form the highest group of individuals that make up the gig economy. Youth in Kenya have devices other forms of earning a living since the government cares less. They are not shying away from showcasing their creativity. These so-called idlers generate a lot of positive impact on the community. Brian Serete a boxer from Kibera is an up to par example of what the youth can do when presented with opportunities.
This is not to mean that they are only crowding creative spaces, another misconception that baby boomers harbour about youth. No, they can easily hold conversations on other issues that we are grappling with as a nation or extensively as the world. Cambridge Analytica, The Arab uprising, Forex trading , policy the war in middle east and so on are among the issue that a Kenyan youth is aware of. They are not only aware of this but have extensive research and top-notch opinions. The youth in Kenya are not lazy, do they need a form of mentorship very much so but labelling them as lazy is far from accurate.
The Kenyan youth is not demanding for too much in fact, the youth in my country are only asking for the bare minimum. For afoot at the door and a seat at the table. The Kenyan youth would fancy a government that is interested in them. One that is of interest on their well being. It is very paramount to have leaders of today who are keen on the interests of the leaders of tomorrow. Leaders who are only asking to be heard and understood. Leaders who would like to pave the way for greater heights for their people. Leaders who are currently struggling under the weight of Covid-19 that is proving to be too heavy to bear. The current crop of leaders have actively ignored them but today, they are urged to step up and offer solutions to combat the virus. The same leaders who cannot offer masks to the common mwananchi will be seen parading campaign merchandise in the next general elections in order to promote their agenda. Their manifesto will read on and on of the different development projects that are to be done once in office. The lies stretch out from maternal health care to job opportunities for the youth. Don't you get tired?
The average Kenyan youth is languishing in poverty and cannot access the basic needs. In the times of crisis, we are called to the forefront? Our opinion is sought, for what?. Do good by us and we will do good by you.