The International Youth day(IYD) is celebrated every year on 12th August. This year World Youth Alliance Africa staff and Interns had the privilege to attend and share information about WYA work to the youth present at the IYD celebrations at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (K.I.C.C).
The theme this year was “Youth Migration: Moving Development forward” bringing the message forward to several government officials, United Nations representatives and the youth from Kenya and neighboring countries including Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda.
The celebrations began with the guest of Honor, the Principle secretary of Devolution and Planning, John Konchella, walking in with other invited guests, a marching band and few young people lighting a torch symbolizing that the youth light needs to shine brighter in Kenya and Africa as a whole.
The Guest of Honor, John Konchella’s speech, was the highlight of the event, being the government representative there; he was able to shed some light on what the new government has to offer to the youth. Of importance to note is that out of 200,000 thousands youths who graduate every year 75% of them end up unemployed. With such statistics the government has rolled out a fund called UWEZO to help young people get loans to start businesses. He also mentioned the importance of caring for the youth living with disabilities noting that they will be considered when rolling out the funds so they can get equal opportunities despite their situation. All the speakers, including Hon Konchella, representatives from the United Nations and Leaders of the National Youth Council mentioned that the youths should be involved in entrepreneurship projects. Some alarming facts were stated by the CEO of the Liverpool VCT centre who stated that there are 100,000 new HIV infections every year and 60% of the new infections are among the youth. The UN HABITAT Deputy Director stated that the main challenge for youth is the urban divide, the gap between the rich and the poor and that rural-urban migration can be an opportunity, but in the global south it is mostly a challenge.
The speakers urged young people not to allow themselves to be manipulated and exploited by others but to work in unity and take advantage of small opportunities around them. The reason many young people migrate to other countries, especially from Kenya, is historiucally linked to slow economic growth and limited opportunities. Now that economic growth is picking up all acrros africa, there was optmism among speakers that things will change.
Lastly, there was a tree planting event after the forum and we got to meet many young people who want to partner with us in the future, take our training and be part of WYA. The World Youth Alliance had the chance to recruit more than 100 new members during this event.