The Emerging Leaders summit is an annual training event for the Kenyan youth on relevant issues of national concern. The inaugural summit was held in 2010 on Peace and was attended by 250 youth from across the nation. The interest by young people and the necessity for dialogue amongst the youth and policy makers led to the creation of this annual forum.
As a policy oriented organization, World Youth Alliance continues to impact policy at the international institutions as well as nationally. The World Youth Alliance identifies the critical role that good governance plays in empowering individuals and communities to affirm their dignity, enhancing freedom, justice and respect for human rights. Through the summit WYA created a platform for the youth to meet their peers from across the country, opinion leaders and Experts who helped them understand issues related to good governance and development.
Themed Uniting Kenyan Youth on Good governance and development, this year’s Summit took place on February 26th 2011 at the Ufungamano house in Nairobi. The summit attracted a total of 412 youth leaders from as far as Awendo in Nyanza, Mombasa in the coast, Isiolo in North eastern, Nakuru in Rift valley provinces and all major learning institutions in Nairobi.
Among the key speakers were representatives from the Kenyan Anti-corruption commission, Transparency International, civil society congress, Iren-Kenya, political parties and the national youth sector alliance.
The morning session was a panel discussion that was aimed at scrutinizing the roles of different sectors and institutions in promoting good governance with an objective of showing the youth how they can be involved in the already existing structures as agents of good governance. The role of youth as agents of good governance was discussed at length by Stephen Mwakesi from National Youth Sector Alliance, a policy youth network that is behind the convening of the quarterly Prime minister- Youth roundtable.
The Role of media in fostering good governance as a fourth estate after the executive, Legislature and Judiciary was discussed in detail by Peter Kilonzo a young journalist with a vast experience with different media organizations including DSW.
All youth leaders of political parties had been invited but only two parties SDP and National Agenda Party were able to attend and were given an opportunity to explain to the youth leaders the values and ideals that their parties stand for. The aim was to start a conversation where political parties face the masses with issues rather than propaganda.
To conclude the session there was a lively debate between the delegates and Prof Naituli of Muilt-Media University on whether Kenya needs strong men or strong institutions. He walked the delegates through the Kenyan perception of a strong man and the true meaning of a strong man. There was a unanimous conclusion that we need both strong institutions for accountability and strong men and women who can build and maintain the strong institutions.
The afternoon session was designed as learning platform with experts drawn from institutions that have been involved in the field of governance issues for a while. The young people heard how the civil society congress, IREN-Kenya, Transparency International and the Kenya Anti-corruption commission are fostering good governance through their initiatives. Sameer Malik of TI-Kenya, James Sitiemei of KACC, Morris Odhiambo of National civil society congress and Josephat Juma of Iren-Kenya were the speakers who shared their experiences with the delegates.
From the contributions of delegates there was a feeling that the forum should be held more often as opposed to once every year. Apart from the conversation and dialogue which they termed necessary and informative, advocacy action plans and outreaches to other youth were recommended.
We thank all those who made the 2nd Emerging Leaders Summit happen. We thank our able team of interns and volunteers for their mobilization and fundraising efforts. We thank the Norwegian Church Aid for their generous donation that ensured the delegates get food; we thank Mr. Alovi and Nairobi bottlers for taking care of the PA system and donating water for the delegates. We thank our able panelists and more importantly we thank our delegates for seeing reason enough to attend and actively participate in the summit.