Kijiji Yeetu Blog

Youth, Villages, Participation, and COVID19 in Kenya

This article takes note that Kenya’s population in the 21st century keeps growing, according to the census report 2018, 60 percent of the population is the youth. In both rural and urban areas, there are more young people now than elderly persons. Social-economic problems have intensified in Kenya despite limited government interventions, even with the introduction of devolution and county governance, the youth have difficulties surviving –especially in rural communities. The youth are constantly facing challenges of trying to achieve their life goals –health, education, and jobs all do not come easy to them. In most cases, many of them don’t have the voice or chance to speak up or make changes for themselves. Because of this lack of a platform to communicate to the public, Because of this lack of a platform, youth empowerment is difficult to communicate to the public, making it even harder for these youth to stand a chance to make something of themselves (Thuo). Additionally, with the current pandemic, making it even harder to stand a chance to take leadership against Coronavirus.

The current state of Covid-19 in Kenya and recent reports of the first two cases, now confirmed as recovered, is a testament that youth in Kenya is indeed susceptible to the virus. The susceptibility of youth contracting Covid-19 should be taken with the utmost seriousness by the government and the young people themselves. The mentality that youth are immune to contracting coronavirus should be kept at bay and indeed challenged. Furthermore, instead of being able to get proficient healthcare or real education, they are pushed towards crime engagement and towards abusing substances. Health facilities in Kenya have become overwhelmed with huge numbers of people in quarantine facilities all over the country. Yet still, doctors are not always able to support the population of youth. Thuo states that for every 33,000 people in rural areas, there is one doctor that is available, and only 12% of these faculties are youth-friendly (Thuo). As health has become a major issue within the younger community with HIV/AIDs, drug abuse, and even a rise of mental health issues – such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, it is harder for these facilities to attend to these kids. In addition to this, with things like teen pregnancy or abortions, a lot of doctors are not willing to help the youth in these communities. Within education, there are high amounts of dropout rates that are affecting the younger population because it doesn’t prepare them for jobs, as they lack the necessary skills to fulfill requirements for the jobs. As a lot of the institutions also lack the necessary resources and facilities to teach these students, it makes the youth less motivated to complete school when they know that they are being taken advantage of (Thuo). Without their strong education suit, they are not ready for the job-networking world, nor is that world ready for them.

Most people alive know that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has infected nearly every continent, forced countries into states of emergency, sent individuals into quarantine, isolation, and shuttered businesses and schools. But there’s a limited story that also deserves attention: of youth rising up to meet the challenge of this pandemic. Some who have found purpose at this moment of crisis, worked harder to help communities in villages to deal with the tragedy of lost lives and the lost livelihoods. They have been thrust into a new environment, with new phenomena comparable to social distancing and self-isolation enveloped them to fear and arrests. But even as young people face unprecedented difficulties, they are rising up to make a difference, generating ideas and energy-saving lives. In this midst, the search for scientific breakthroughs continues action by governments but also needs village youth initiatives that motivate Kenya youth.

Because of all of these disparities within the youth community in Kenya, they have the highest unemployment rate. From around 1999-2009, the unemployment rates in rural communities at around16%-14% (Munga). In urban communities, the unemployment rates were actually significantly higher at around 47%-30% (Munga). There have also been further developments that have pointed out that these unemployment rates might also have to do with inactivity within the younger population in Kenya, as most of them are engaged with “informal jobs” (Munga). These “informal jobs” translates to vulnerable jobs that are not stable for these younger workers, ultimately making them borderline unemployed. With these low educational levels, their job opportunities are limited which can very much influence their ability to attain a well-paid, supportive working environment and job. Because of this, many youth-led organizations are trying to set forward more opportunities for the youth in Kenya. Youth-led organizations in Kenya’s capital have taken up the call for action on COVID-19 made by the country’s Cabinet Secretary for Health during a nationwide address earlier this month by setting up handwashing facilities in Mathare and Kibera informal settlements. UN-Habitat is partnering with these youth organizations by providing financial, technical, and logistical support. “UN-Habitat strongly supports the youth-led action taking place across Kenya now,” said the UN-Habitat Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif. “Working together with the UN Country Team and the Government of Kenya, we have established an UN-Habitat COVID-19 Action Plan for Kenya, a response which has led to the immediate activation of key urban programmes such as our Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP) and our One Stop Youth Resource Centre.” An initial 10 handwashing stations are being launched in Kibera and Mathare. These facilities will be overseen by youth attendants from the community who will assist residents with handwashing. Residents in these communities usually get their water from community water points (UN-Habitat).

 

Though tough times surround us, some of the initiatives including Kiunga Youth Bunge Initiative in Kiunga Village in Lamu County partnership with Al-Noor Sanii & Partners and Lamu Arts and Theatre Alliance are sensitizing the community on the Corona-virus pandemic but this time we are using music as a unique way to pass out the message to the local community as it is said that “Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart”. Through music, we can sensitize and also at the same time promote talent in our community as a noble way of uplifting our community. Thanks for this local group curbing the spread of this pandemic through talent. This initiative is being facilitated by Kiunga Youth Bunge Initiative thorough Tulenge Corona Na Talanta and as promoting PWDs and empowering them to amplify the voices through social media. Youth community leaders have emerged in urban villages of Nairobi such as Dandora Hip Hop City, a music collective that also acts as a community forum for young people, organizing clean-ups and educating people about health and the environment. They are concerned that unless the government gets its act together, neighborhoods like his will be overwhelmed as the outbreak worsens. “The virus will spread faster because of the sanitation challenge, and Healthwise we don’t have much in terms of clinics. The situation was never good – with the lack of drugs, personnel, doctors. And that hasn’t changed with the pandemic. As things are desperately trying to be turned around for the youth, such as more engagement with them, teaching them to channel their abilities through another medium, there is still more work to be done. Giving these children better access to health, more education, and teaching them more about the hardships out there will give them more chances to learn and learn from any mistakes made.

This article was written by Katya Rangadass[i],  Rapudo Hawi[ii] and Dr. Collins Oduor[iii]

Reference

Brookings (2014). State Of Youth Unemployment In Kenya. Accessed on April 20, 2020. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/africa-in-focus/2014/08/21/state-of-youth-unemployment-in-kenya/

Study in Kenya (2018). Challenges facing Kenyan youth. Accessed on April 20, 2020. https://studyinkenya.co.ke/blog/challenges-facing-kenyan-youth

UN Habitat (2020) Youth-Led Organizations in Kenya Respond to the Government. Accessed on April 20, 2020. https://unhabitat.org/youth-led-organizations-in-kenya-respond-to-the-government%E2%80%99s-call-to-fight-covid-19

Kijiji Yeetu (2020). Covid19 village actions and stories. Accessed on April 20, 2020. https://kijijiyeetu.co.ke/covid-19/

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[i] Katya Rangadass, Intern at Kijiji Yeetu from American University, Bachelor of Education, International Relations and Affairs. She influences dialogue within the organization building strong community networks and digital transformation. Social Media efforts in reorganizing the way the organization reaches out and spreads material. The development of articles and publications on national and international matters within Kenya that promote villages actions and development

[ii] Rapudo Hawi, the Executive Director, Kijiji Yeetu, a registered non-profit organization that smart village platform that activates village resources, knowledge, and aspirations towards development and devolved governance in Kenya, through promote of dialogue, community networks and use of digital transformation.

[iii] Dr. Collins Oduor, Assistant Professor Information Systems at United States International University – Africa who is instrumental in the design, research and innovation of smart villages in Kenya

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Watch this story here

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Read more about John Magiro here

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Read more about these heardsmen here

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Lamu Island

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Read more about the FlipFlopi Project here

Lamu Island

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Umoja Village

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Read more about this village here

 

Umoja Village

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Kaganda Village

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Read more about this story here

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Thumaita Village

 

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Thumaita Village

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Read more bout this historical site here

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Kiangwe Village

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Physical Address

Bishop Magua, 4th Floor
Ngong Road
Nairobi, Kenya

 

Contacts

Email: info@Kijijiyeetu.co.ke
Phone: +254(0) 720975498
Website: www.kijijiyeetu.co.ke 

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