Notes from the bleachers at the National Youth Convention ’08

An extraordinary session of the The National Youth Convention opened yesterday at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi. The theme of the largest gathering of Kenyan youth this year, was the reconstruction, reconciliation and reform.

Speeches by the organisers centered on the need for the youth to be more proactive in Kenya. Kenyan youth were accused of saying nothing when each election resulted in the appointment of leaders who do not have their best interests at heart. Now is the time to fix the wrongs of the past, the convention delegates were told. They were asked from now on, as leaders, to consider themselves as engines of change and to challenge the status quo.

Regarding entrepreneurship, nominated MP, Hon. Rachel Shebesh decried the slow pace of the National Youth Policy Draft being tabled in parliament seven months into the current parliament. She also advised the youth to be cautious about the proposed method of grassroot elections for the National Youth Council. Reminding the delegates of how the Maendeleo Ya Wanawake elections had in the past been manipulated by the political class, Shebesh told the youth to ensure that the election method would be inclusive and representative.

How can you have a Ministry with no  policy?

The governments commitment to improving the welfare of the youth was called into question.

The Youth Ministry was termed as being there solely for “PR” purposes. Being toothless, not only does it operate without any policy, but it is there to hoodwink Kenyans of the governments commitment to the youth. Furthermore, the same Youth Ministry does not even have the creation of jobs for the youth under its mandate.

The youth fund was also termed as a “shame”, which brought loud applause from the delegates. Many participants decried the fact that they had no access to the funds and were even unaware of the process to receive the funds. Some asked, why is the government force-feeding the youth to be entrepreneurs? Why spend all those years in school in order to be given Kshs. 10,000 to have a boda boda business?

Our view is that if the fund is going to make any real impact in the lives of youth entrepreneurs, it should:

  • ensure that ALL youth nationwide have access to information about the fund, skills on how to apply for the funds, and close access to the financial intermediaries.
  • The fund should not only target groups. That in our view is grossly disrespecting the youth of Kenya. As Hon. Kabando wa Kabando who was present at the convention said, repayment of loans was over 90%. That intimates that the youth are not out just to be given money and not pay it back. Why lie? Why should one have to go find other youths in order to be given a pepper corn amount that will only just barely put any enterprise on the ground? Why? …

Well, Hon. Raila Odinga who also attended said that the fund needs to be adressed. Kenyan youth entrepreneurs, let’s make sure it is!

Kenyan youth UNITE … in Obama-speak: YES WE CAN!

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About yipe
Yipe an acronym for the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise is an organization that assists entrepreneurs to start up and manage their small businesses.

2 Responses to Notes from the bleachers at the National Youth Convention ’08

  1. Pingback: Business activism: yes, we can be the change we wish to see in the world TODAY « Yipe log

  2. jannes says:

    I FIND IT HYPOCRICAL FOR THE GOVERNMENT AND PARLIAMENT PRONOUNCEMENT THAT THEY ARE COMMITED TO UPLIFT YOUTHS ECONOMICALLY AND SOCIALLY;LOOK AT KAZI KWA VIJANA….ILE NI MADHAROU KWA VIJANA,CLEARING BUSHES,GRAVELLING ROADS,ARRANGING STONES……..KAZI KWA VIJANA!WHILE WAZEE WANAONGESWA MUDA HADI 60 YEARS.NOT TO MENTION YOUTH PILICY WHICH HAS FAILED TO GO THROUGH PARLIAMENT DISPITE THE CURRENT PARLIAMENT HAVING MAJORITY YOUTHFUL MPS.DONT PRETEND,EVEN SHEBESH HAS NOT RAISED A CONSTRACTIVE WORD ON NYP.

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