NAKURU, Kenya 25th September 2015 – The Nakuru County Youth Act and Youth Policy is set to be formulated to provide a sustainable framework for engagement between the Youth and the County Government of Nakuru.
Speaking at a “Live Broadcasted Interaction Session” at the Kenya National Library Services Complex between the youth and the County Government of Nakuru during the week long Nakuru Youth Week Celebration, Governor Kinuthia Mbugua said among the proposals within the Act and Policy will include the establishment of a County Youth Fund, an endowment fund for youth enterprises, and formalization of a County Youth Structure as an umbrella platform for inclusivity of all youth in the County.
He added that the noble initiative will also see the establishment of a centralized Youth Data-Bank for individuals and youth groups, and a youth hub, which will be a resource center for access to information and incubation center for innovation.
‘This initiative follows a series of consultative meetings between the County Government of Nakuru and the youth. Our young people do not have to migrate to other counties in search of socioeconomic and even political opportunities in a bid to improve their economic well-being and social status, they must be able to find them right here,’ he said.
He noted that the engaging process has indeed given due recognition to the youth by involving them in the designing, planning and implementing programs and policies that affect them.
‘This is the start and in this spirit we are looking for better and bigger things. Our youth must be involved, they should not be left on the sidelines in making of decisions that directly affect their welfare,’ he added.
Mbugua said that by the process of youth taking information closer to other young people, they have in a way supported devolution as it brings services closer to the people and giving people the power to decide on issues of governance that affect them.
He however called on the youth not to lament about the challenges young people face adding that challenges sharpen their skills.
The youth week was set aside to provide the county government and other stakeholders in Youth development with the opportunity to draw attention to the very important Youth related issues.
The week has been observed under the theme YOUTH CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, adopted from this years’ United Nations International Youth Day.
The Governor noted that indeed the theme emphasized the importance of participatory inclusion of youth in policy and decision-making processes of governance issues affecting them.
The event gave youth in Nakuru an opportunity to showcase their initiatives and dynamism for engaging with their county government.
Youth Participation and Empowerment, Youth Education and Training, Youth Employment, Youth Health, as well as Youth Alcohol and Drugs are some of the efforts the governor said will be used to achieve success.
The governor also reiterated on the youth participation and empowerment in the county saying that the county aspires to give them a voice in decision-making through civic education as it has happened in the entire week.
‘It is a constitutional requirement that the public should be involved in decision making on governance issues, thus we urge them to be active in public participation forums. Dates and venues on this forums will be communicated through the press and our online platforms, thus you must know that you have a responsibility not only to yourself but also to posterity to proactively engage,’ he advised.
‘Starting with youth who need education, we have a bursary kitty that supports young people acquire both secondary and post-secondary education. Besides this, there are also sponsorship for courses such as driving among others technical skills oriented training. So far we have disbursed Shs 240 million since 2013 in bursaries and we are about to release Shs 55 million in within this month and October,’ he explained in the broadcast.
Other areas, the governor said, include partnering of the county government with various stakeholder for some initiatives that will create employment.
For instance, he said that in July this year, the county signed a Shs 38 million Commercial Infrastructure MoU with Youth Fund to facilitate the setting up of affordable lock up shops for young people in Gilgil, Naivasha, Nakuru and Njoro among other Sub-Counties.
He said that Nakuru county is committed to facilitate the youth in getting hold of their rightful share of 30% of all government tenders
On Alcohol, Drugs and other substance abuse by the youth Mbugua said that Nakuru has been at the lead in the implementation of the President Uhuru Kenyatta directive on the fight against illicit brews and second-generation liquors.
‘Besides this, we have put strategies in place and we are partnering with the private sector to rehabilitate the people affected by these brews most of them being youth. The issue of drug abuse is in away connected to crime and through Arts, Culture and Sport we are trying to take young people out of this mess at the same time empowering them to be dependable people,’ he added.
Governor Mbugua later joined and participated in a Youth Cultural Day & Gala Awards Dinner where youth diversity and culture was showcased.
The Nakuru youth week is scheduled to end on Saturday the 26th September with a Street Carnival where all County Government departments will showcase their services offered and engage the public while young local entrepreneurs will showcase their innovations.
The governor urged the people of Nakuru to turn out in large numbers to support our youth.
By Jackie Ruto