Nothing for us, without us:A youth Manifesto

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The National Youth Manifesto was unveiled on Friday, March 18, 2022 at the University of Nairobi Graduation Square by The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK). The manifesto is the voice of the youth and the basis of their engagement with political leaders before, during and after the 2022 General Elections.

The main agenda of the manifesto focused on the “5E demands” (5 key thematic areas) which would be beneficial to all Kenyan youth. These demands are Education, Entrepreneurship, Engagement, Employment and Empowerment.

On Education, truly free primary and secondary education is called for, subsidized higher education, relevant and industry informed training courses at University and technical colleges and identification and promotion of non-academic talents and skills.

On Entrepreneurship, focused and practicable programmes to equip the youth with skills to innovate, start and manage business. The manifesto demands the creation of a supportive environment for the cottage, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to flourish, including the provision of affordable finances as well as market opportunities for goods and services for the youth.

On Engagement, inclusion of youth in governance, leadership, agenda setting and decision making both at the national and county levels. The youth should be given opportunities to assume leadership positions at all levels both elective and appointive to implement the agenda.

On Employment, creation of a friendly environment, where business and industries prioritize the employment of young people in their companies and favourable labour laws are enforced.

On Empowerment, an environment where the youth are enabled at all levels of society to effectively take charge of the holistic well-being of youth (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) in order to have a transformed consciousness (through our beliefs, values and attitudes) to thrive in the 21st Century and improve our access to opportunities around us.

The Manifesto highlights that the youth are a resource that can make Kenya achieve its highest potential but if neglected can have the potential to destroy it.

At the meeting, Rev. Fr. Edward Hunja of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, remarked “young people are the megaphones of the society because they are able to point out the ills of the society”. He noted that young people should be involved more in policy making.

Speaking on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Stephen Kiama, the University of Nairobi UoN Chief Operations Officer, Mr. Brian Ouma emphasized a message of peace citing how the Papal dias stands as a reminder to the country that we should always be peaceful, he also welcomed the guests to the University.

Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui – alumni of the University of Nairobi, reminisced about his time at the faculty of Law during a time of political transformation in the country in the early 1990s. He noted, “The youth’s voices count, the youth’s votes count and the youth’s votes are valid”.

The USAID director of democratic governance, peace and security, Ms. Kimberly Ludwig remarked, “Kenya and the USA have a similar history in terms of democracy, our forefathers and foremothers fought for the right to vote and we are enjoying that privilege because of them”.