Press Release: Garissa County Youth Response to Dr. Alfred Mutua’s Comments on The American Aid To Kenyan Youths

This is a rare opportunity for young people to deliberate, shape and chart their destiny.

It is a departure from the past when youth were regarded as a recipient or worse still trouble makers. We shared our problems with people who not only didn’t care but also refused to listen to our voices and concerns.

The US government involvement, as driving force, was to address urgent need for youth participation in the socioeconomic, cultural and political agenda of the country. The youth fund given by USAID aims to serve the youth in the informal settlements, rural areas, small cities, pastoralist communities and towns and rural areas who bear the brunt of exclusion, deprivation, intimidation, violence, human rights violations and underdevelopment as a result of inequalities, political misgivings, intolerance, and limited access to opportunities by the youth, disregard of human rights and unaccountable system of governance by the government that is ironically concerned that we are now being empowered by external forces.

The approach by USAID is through active involvement and development of youth leadership on issues that affect them. It also endeavours to promote leadership that upholds youth interest, diversity, equality and non discrimination, information sharing, generation of knowledge and skill enhancement, partnership to strengthen youth unity, connectivity and collective action among youth are among the key approaches used by the USAID to address the youth problem.

Youth unemployment and underemployment are in our opinion Kenya’s most serious problem that continues to cause even more problems. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports should hit the road running on the issue and look to have viable inclusive policies as we speak now!

There have been numerous attempts by successive government to address issues of concern to the youth. The latest attempt is the Kazi Kwa Vijana program. The Kazi Kwa Vijana with its national scope was the most unsuccessful event undertaken by the government for the youth. The involvement of youths has been very minimal and youths all over Kenya have a common saying that KKV was (“kazi kwa vijana pesa kwa wazee”).

We call upon the authorities to consider change of strategy and opt for consultation and engagement. Force, threats and intimidation have failed to deal with the problems effecting the youth. Political parties have manifestos to outline their agendas for the country. These documents that are intended to guide the electorate on the best leadership and governance they will require. They lay out and issues in these documents are designed to entice and persuade the voters though implementations of the issues are debatable.

Kenyan youths have contributed a great deal to coexistence among the various communities and races. The young people contribution to sustainable peace must be enhanced. There are records of youth organizing and using their talents to communicate peace through songs and to engagement with the leaders and other community members.

The exchange program initiated by USAID among the young people from various communities and background is necessary and viable. These are learning opportunities and help young people appreciate diversity and thus deal with stereotypes, rumours and myths spoken about particular group of people that has created tension in the past. If it’s true that young Kenyans participated in the post election violence then they are also key instrument to create and preach peace through various initiative and various mode of communication.

A wide range of governmental policies and public sector programmes have particularly failed to address problems that affect the Kenyan youth. However, the youth of Kenya have refused to die!

We continue to mobilize community action, to build a community force and to claim and enjoy our God given rights, human dignity and we are in constant search of our freedom. The young people continue to work strenuously to affirm their status as permanent citizens of Kenya and the world at large. We continue to demand recognition and participation in decisions that affect our lives. We believe that we deserve better services and dignified livelihoods.

We have realized that we have a fundamental role to play in seeking credible solutions to our problems. We believe that we have the power to seek solutions to our problems. We have taken the front seat because we are the survivors, we are the ones who suffer, we are the ones who wear the shoes and know exactly where it hurts. We are committed to give birth to a new community, a new nation and new world where all humanity will rejoice and be proud, we believe this has happened with the new constitution.

The youth are organizing for real change and we are saying don’t just watch the space we also invite you to join the space! We won’t just shout we will also act!   We condemn Dr. Alfred Mutua’s remarks on the US embassy as a direct insult to the youth and utter disrespect for people who are helping in building your own home; he should instead thank the American government for being good friends of Kenya and not condemn them.

We want to thank Hon. Micheal Rannerberger (US Ambassador) for the good work he is doing with the Kenyan youth. Let President Obama know that we appreciate his encouragement and goodwill to help the youth of Kenya.

Thank you.

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University Of Nairobi Pathways Scholarships

Pathways Leadership for Progress announces the availability of a scholarship to the University of Nairobi for a highly qualified undergraduate students (only for students under the regular/module I programme) with financial need commencing studies in any October.

Requirements:

• KCSE overall grade average of B+ or higher
• Financial need
• Strong interpersonal and educational skills
• Written project proposal
• Three letters of recommendation from secondary School teachers/education professionals (or equivalent) familiar with the student’s abilities (attach)
• Copies of KCPE/KCSE official results certificate and recent school reports (attach)
• Copies of acceptance letters from UoN or completed application form (attach)
• Estimated university expenses and a cost share plan.
• Recent photo of student (will not be returned)

The completed application should be sent to PATHWAYS Leadership for Progress (by airmail post or email) to: D. Gust, PATHWAYS Leadership for Progress, 1503 Hartman Dr., Lilburn Georgia 30047 USA, gust@pathwayslp.org.

YES Kenya and YIPE Terms of Reference (TOR) for Design of Website and Content Management accessible via net and mobile platforms

The Youth Entrepreneurship & Sustainability (YES Kenya) Network and the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise (YIPE) have embarked on a joint project aimed at Promoting the Culture of Entrepreneurship in Kenya.

To meet the challenge of achieving this ambitious project, the services of a skilled contractor is required to design a dynamic website and content management system and translate that onto a mobile platform that will meet YES Kenya and YIPE needs.

Expected end-results

Front end:

  • Creation of an eye-catching, easy to navigate website and mobile portal, that is robust and searchable, whilst offering several interactive features to the users.
  • The website should be accessible to low-bandwidth users and should not require downloading of any specific fonts or programme for complete user experience. The mobile platform should be accessible to low-end devices.

Back end:

  • Creation of a robust and intuitive customized Content Management System based on project requirements. The CMS should allow YES Kenya and YIPE to manage and update the website easily through sub-administrators who are not expected to have any special technical knowledge.
  • YES Kenya and YIPE should be able to update all the pages and sections remotely but securely through the online CMS without requiring any external HTML editor or downloading of software.
  • The website (net and mobile) should be database-driven / modular so that it can handle all the existing information and be able to handle new documents that would get uploaded on it on a daily basis.
  • The website should be able to integrate multimedia

Overall:

  • The website should be secure and bug-free.
  • The data should be held in a secure environment. It should be possible to regularly back-up the entire database and restore all the data in case of any errors.
  • The website should conform to major web-standards so that the website and its content can easily be indexed by major search engines and is accessible by different browsers.

Requirements

The requirements although not exclusive, will include:

  • Proven track record of use in web and mobile development. Applicants will have to provide a minimum of three (3) links and references for sites they have developed in the last two (2) years.

Applications

Your application should include, but is not limited to:

  • A capability statement.
  • Your CV – maximum of 2 pages
  • A list of at least three (3) web and mobile site links and references. The references should be organisations/ individuals that have contracted the applicant within the last 2 years.

Please submit electronic applications by Friday November 26th 2010 to info@yipekenya.org with the subject heading Application for web and mobile development assignment.

Youth entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply.

About YES Kenya

Youth Entrepreneurship & Sustainability(YES Kenya) Network is a national youth multi-stakeholder network involved in promoting youth  entrepreneurship and employment in Kenya and committed to the global call of creating sustainable livelihoods for Youth. For more information, visit www.yeskenya.org/new

About the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise (YIPE)

The Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise (YIPE) is a new media social enterprise that provides free business information and resources to Kenyan youth entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.yipekenya.org, and follow @yipeorg on Twitter.

Kenya Youth Human Rights Camp 2010 call for Applications

Akiba Uhaki Foundation – the Human Rights and Social Justice Fund, in conjunction with the Youth Entrepreneurship & Sustainability(YES Kenya) Network, the Youth Congress and the Youth Interactive Portal for  Enterprise(YIPE) is pleased to announce a call for applications to attend the Kenya Youth Human Rights Camp 2010, set to commence on International
Human Rights Day (December 10th, 2010) to Jamhuri Day (December 12th, 2010) at the Lukenya Getaway.

This event has been organised as part of a series of actions to identify and develop young leaders who are aware of human rights and social justice and who can actively play leading roles in Kenya’s development and reform-related activities. The theme of this year’s camp is Young Kenyans-Unite for Change & Human Rights.

The Camp will make use of the concept of informal Youth Human Rights and Trade Justice Camp models as a way to encourage youth participation in a relaxed atmosphere. Facilitation of the sessions will be done by a mix of human rights and social justice practitioners and activists, so the participants will gain valuable insights on the need for both evidence-driven
advocacy and effective “street-activism” methods. In addition, a variety of fun activities will be organised to enable social interaction among the participants.

Camp activities will include:

  • Inspire-Walking the Talk Sessions: that will motivate the participants in leadership, social action, fostering human rights activism and community engagement.
  • Documentaries: the participants will view a variety of documentaries to learn about programmes on human rights and social justice built around shared best practices.
  • Open Space: this will be an open area that will provide an opportunity for the participants to share and discuss stories and issues related to this year’s theme.
  • And of course, a variety of Fun Events!

Eligibility criteria:

Applicants must be Kenyan citizens, aged between 18 and 25 years and have completed secondary school. In the spirit of human rights and equity for all, all youth within the stipulated age bracket are encouraged to apply, regardless of gender, disability, religious affiliations, etc.

How to apply to attend the Kenya Young Leaders Human Rights Camp 2010:

For the 2010 Camp, only 50 candidates will be invited to attend. In order to apply, candidates will have to fill out an APPLICATION FORM available for download.

The deadline for applications will be Monday 22nd November, 2010. Participation is free.

Download the Press Release for more information

University Student Leaders Position On Funding Of Courses

PRESS STATEMENT

DATE: 04/09/2010

1.       The Courses Debate

We the Kenya University students organization take this opportunity to give our stand on the blazing debate that the presents the university students as villain, victors or both. The weights are still unsettled on the need supremacy between the social sciences and the pure sciences.

This stand comes after wide consultation and consensus and finally to a convergent premise that we feel is the reality to the student community. We therefore weigh the two divides created by this debate soberly.

First, we want to thank the Minister for Higher Education William Ruto for the good work of opening up virtual education which he said will be launched early 2011. This is a timely move to upgrade the literacy level in this country amidst the wake of the intellectual explosion globally.

We also ratify the great intention by the government to beef up technical expertise by enhancing practical integration of knowledge through attachments at the relevant industries. This makes us not to underestimate the need for technical expatriates to drive our vision 2030.

And as waziri pointed in his Friday 24th Daily Nation article on the expatriate deficiency where Kenya has:

  • Only one expert in Atomic energy development
  • Not a single expert in nuclear chemistry
  • One expert in radiation medicine…and probably many more

This is an eye opener that Kenya has a long way to go in installing an infrastructure that will deliver intellectuals that will match the desired industrial expectation.

We therefore on the same wavelength strongly state that we fault and disagree with the financial prioritization of the scientific disciplines over the social disciplines without keenly diagnosing the Kenyan situation deeply.

  • As the government loses billions in mass corruption and several financial mysteries in irrelevant projects, it time that a substantial amount be invested with the HELB which only got a 1.45 billion out of the Trillion budget
  • As brilliant innovations are being made in secondary school science congresses and university labs, few are patented by the government and made into industrial brands as China has done.
  • The few science graduates have to chase the Kenyan dream desperately in Nairobi and do anything since the industries have no capacity of absorption.

Conclusively we believe that the attempt by the Ministry of Higher Education to take this position cannot be ignored yet its success depends on the government integrated approach. If it will be The Minister’s or the Ministries’ idea alone then forever it will remain a war of humanities and sciences yet this is not the case.

The Scientific revolution age need the undivided attention from the government with the same measure it solved the post election violence or any other national crisis. This is a national disaster that needs not one but many.

Proposals

We propose the following:

  1. The ministry to increase and stabilize dwindling funding for university education from the exchequer which then should provide additional funding in the areas of deficiency
  2. Vision 2030 to be addressed holistically since it has three pillars with the social pillar being one of them. We need scientific innovation that is commensurate with social stability as well or else we will have a developed fallen state.
  3. Strengthening the CHE (Commission of Higher Education) with the necessary teeth to execute quality assurance. This is because the charter approval is under the jurisdiction of the CHE therefore they must clean the dirt at the academies.
  4. Employment strategy for the science graduates who most of them are doing jobs that are irrelevant to what they did in the universities. The insurance and banking sectors have profound affinity towards these students. The Higher Education Ministry should have a liaison with the industrial sectors to create employment and this should be reflected to the public.

Failure to this: The students will have peaceful demonstration to show the government that this is a grave matter that has to be withdrawn and brought to table very differently as it is.

2.       The Constitution

After historical promulgation of the constitution we urge the government to commit to its word by involving everybody especially the youths. This should translate into non influenced leadership formation at both the counties and other electoral positions in the future. It is so encouraging that the Kenyans have embraced the power of the vote regardless of political persuasions.

RAY OCHIENG                                           GRACE ROTICH

CHAIRMAN                                                SECRETARY GENERAL

Email: raylink4jc@hotmail.com            jekobilo@yahoo.com

Cell Phn: 0727864197                               0725339256

Debunking the myth otherwise known as the Millennium Development Goals

With the MDG summit about to start in New York, many scholars, practitioners and pundits have been discussing the relevance and approach of the Millennium Development Goals. James Shikwati, Director of the Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) critiques the assumptions of the goals in an incisive article titled “MDGs: Africa Must Rethink Approach”.

Shiwati starts off with Goal number 2 regarding the achievement of Universal Primary Education, dispelling the myth that the need for enrolment in school usurps the desire for quality education:

“Academies (private schools) are reported to be growing in popularity as Kenyan middle class parents shun free primary school education … By opting to pay fees notwithstanding free education, parents have dispelled the myth propagated by international activists that Africans prefer free goodies and do not think long term.”

This echoes Jeffrey James writing in 2006 in the Third World Quarterly on “Misguided Investments in meeting the Millennium Development Goals” in drawing a clear distinction between completing primary school and being literate. Unless there is investment in infrastructure including teachers and facilities, poor education quality means that Goal Number 2 cannot be achieved. Shikwati even warns:

“High numbers of undereducated graduates (because Africa’s education system does not prepare its graduates to confront the continent’s challenges to produce positive outcomes) will lead to “haki yetu” agitations.”

The MDGs also fail to recognise social exclusion and marginalisation which are the main root causes for under development. This includes the youth and even the general adult population in some instances. Reverting to goal number 2, there is no mention of adult education, which led Almazan-Khan to write as early as 2001, Does EFA (Education for All) stand for “Except for Adults”?

Shikwati endorses the views of other activists that see the MDGs as more donor-centric than people focussed. In effect these goals do not belong to the most impoverished populations of the world, but to the technocrats sitting in New York, Geneva and other donor headquarters. The MDGs robbed the right of the poor to determine what was in their best interests; no wonder as we approach 2015 there has been no significant progress.

The IREN Think Tank Forum for Youth on the East Africa Community

Date: October 1-2, 2010

Venue: Panafric Hotel, Nairobi Kenya

The East Africa Community is here; with it are both challenges and opportunities. The Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) will host a brainstorming session for the region’s youth as from October 1– 2, 2010. Brainstorming sessions will be preceded by presentations from experts on East Africa affairs and education in general. The outcome of the brainstorming sessions will be presented to a select number of business leaders from the region and officials of the EAC early next year.

Eligibility Criteria

• Must be aged between 18 and 35 yrs
• Answer the simple IREN East Africa Community Quiz
• Submit your CV
• A letter expressing interest to attend the forum
• Ksh 100 fee upon confirmation of your request to participate *(please DO NOT SUBMIT FEE until you hear from us!)

Limited number of scholarships available for non Kenyans for accommodation and travel on first come first qualify basis; all Kenyan delegates will be “day scholars.”

The Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) is a leading African think tank that promotes ideas and strategies geared towards improving the living standards in Africa. Founded in 2001, IREN has organized over 72 high profile forums and hosted over 4,500 delegates from across the globe with varied professional background. These have included high school and university students, farmers, civil society leaders, journalists, policy makers and business leaders who met to discuss issues focused on Africa’s economic development.

For more information contact:

The Events Manager
Inter Region Economic Network (IREN)
Nyaku House Mezzanine Flr.
Argwings Kodhek Rd. Hurlingham.
Box 135 GPO Nairobi Kenya,
Phone 254-20-2731497
Fax 254-20-2723258,
Email info@irenkenya.com , events@irenkenya.com
http://www.irenkenya.com/