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OPINION: Do the youth really know their rights?

The Kenyan General Elections came to pass on the 8th of August 2017, with leaders chosen to represent different elective seats being determined by the power of the vote. Out of the total number of registered voters countrywide, 51% were aged below 35 years, thus confirming that majority of the decision makers in this recent elections were the youth! In addition to this fact, it is also important to note that those aged between 18 and 35 make up approximately 75% of Kenya’s population, and unfortunately a large percentage of this population is unemployed and feel marginalised in terms of access to opportunities, representation and participation.

With that in mind, the question that arises is whether the youth who voted in these leaders know their economic and business rights, and opportunities as enshrined in the Kenya constitution. Do we know that these are meant to lead to the realization of employment, representation and protection and involvement in decision making for the welfare of the Kenyan youth?

According to Article 55 of the constitution, the government should undertake affirmative action measures to ensure the youth have access to relevant education, training and employment. It also requires that the state should create and strengthen existing platforms for youth participation in political, social, economic spheres of life and legislate towards this end.

Kenyan youth must fight for their space

More specifically, the rights and opportunities that youth in Kenya should be enjoying can be explained as follows:

  • Right to access the affirmative funds with minimal requirements to start up and individual entrepreneurs as opposed to groups’ access.
  • Right to access the affirmative funds with a friendly interest rate and through financial friendly vehicles
  • Right to safe business working space provided by county and national government at affordable fees and levies
  • Opportunity to increase uptake of the 30% procurement rule through simplification of the tendering documents and processes by the government
  • Participation in and influencing of the policy agenda for adoption of economic policies that provide tax holidays and incentives to youth enterprises for a one-year period from the start of the enterprise
  • Increased awareness on the Innovation fund that is channeled through KIRDI’s Research, Technology and Innovation department and easier accessibility at the county level

 

We now need to put our leaders to task so that they live up to the promises they made during the campaign period, and most importantly to protect and empower US as the youth so that we can drive this country forward. We should also put the young leaders who have been elected to serve in the 12th parliament to task so that they represent the youth interests first before anything else.

Leaders must also listen to our voice through platforms like Jiactivate which prior to the General Elections, presented a youth declaration to representatives of all parties that fielded presidential candidates. This declaration is based on a collective compilation of expressions from youth countrywide and should be used to inform leadership of the rights that the youth are fighting for.

 

Share your thoughts and feedback via communications@theyouthbanner.org and read more about our work HERE. Also, support our campaign to Adopt-A-Digital-Youth.

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Article by:
Job Monyoncho

Knowledge Management & Information Officer

The Youth Banner

From Employee To Employer! “Ahsante TYB”

George Ochare's Wife Lydia at the Premise.

George Ochare is a 31-year-old husband and father of one child from Sofia Estate, Homa Bay Township in Homa Bay County and he is a Beep Graduate.

Where was he Before?

Before joining The Youth Banner (TYB) in October 2015, he was a regular employee in the County Referral Hospital with the thought of starting his own enterprise not having crossed his mind. Surviving on a meagre salary, he struggled to meet his family’s needs and those of his dependants. He was taken through TYB’s Banner Economic Empowerment Program (BEEP) where he and his wife acquired skills on enterprise development, finance literacy and received lots of mentorship and coaching.

After the BEEP

Armed with this knowledge, his own technical skills and personal savings, he started a pharmacy business that was initially being operated from a small room.

This has since grown to be a fully registered business and has given birth to other businesses such as a butchery and an M-PESA agency which he runs inside the pharmacy. This has seen them turn their income from an average of KES 15,000.00 per month to KES 45,000.00 per month.

Where he is now

Now he is able to provide better for his family, improve their living standards and make constant monthly savings in a bank. Since George received a transfer to another facility, the businesses are now run by his wife Lydia Ochare and they have employed one more staff working at the butchery.

She told The Youth Banner Officer that “The Youth Banner has been a blessing to us. Ever since we enrolled in the program we have been able to learn on how we can improve our enterprise by gaining relevant business skills. Asante sana TYB“