Youth Agenda Affirmative Action

Youth Agenda Affirmative Action

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Gender Based Violence Is One Of The Biggest Forms Of Poverty (graphic content)

Poverty is like family. It comes in all shapes, forms and sizes… more like magnitude. It is a sad reality that with all the poverty in the world we continue to create our own poverty to add to the global misery that we are all trying to escape. Among them is the issue of gender based violence which continues to burden today’s world…never mind all the buzz that has come about it.
My heart broke the other day as I browsed about and came across an article that featured short stories of a handful of people who have survived gender based violence mostly from their families and societies but have the most painful scars I ever saw in my life…a handful that represented hundreds and thousands on such cases.
We are failing ourselves when we assume that this issue will soon come to be a thing of the past because while it remains illegal as a violation of human rights, the vice is very much prevalent in today’s world. Kenya is no exception. How many times have we heard on the news and even in our very homes of such unfortunate incidences? Now, before you dismiss this article as to having feminist grounds, I want to state here that men are just as susceptible to gender based violence as women are, granted incidences on the latter are more rampant.
You have heard thousands of people talk about “imagine it was your mother, imagine it was your sister, it was your auntie etc and all the other mammis in your life” and while that hypothetical situation hit home and raised awareness as it continues to do, I want to bring you the harsh reality void of any emotional trauma that comes with a hypothetical situation such as the above mentioned.
Look at the photogrid I made. I had a wide selection of pictures on the subject sourced from Uncle Google images. Look carefully, zoom in. Look at these survivors of gender based violence. Look at the scars and disfiguration they have to live with because we did not come to their rescue sooner to protect them from having to deal with consequent scars. Ask yourself whether any human being deserves to innocently.
 We are loud and proud that we I’ve in a free world but the sad truth is that this is, perhaps, the biggest fallacy.  How can we allow both sexes to wage war and torture one another and still claim we live in a free world? We are slaves to our own silence. Oppression continues to thrive when it is fuelled with silence because breaking silence is a prerequisite for effective change through action.

My heart bleeds. Rebuke gender based violence…

My Take on Sex education for youngsters...

The reproductive health care bill has spurred a lot of debate especially on societal morals and family values. Most of the reactions towards the bill being somewhat antagonistic. 
 Arguments brought forward include that providing school going children with contraceptives simply indicates how frayed our moral fiber is and so on and so forth. Everyone is up in arms; parents, the church, teachers.


Why isn't anyone up in arms about that. Like the proverbial ostrich are we burying our heads in the sand? Have we seen the statistics? School going children are getting pregnant and it is by no immaculate conception. 23% of adolescent girls have kids. New studies have further shown that teens make up the highest number of new  HIV infections with over 50% .

So parents, the church and teachers are up in arms ???? because kids from the age of 10 may have access to the pill and condoms?  
So where were those arms when the children under their care we engaging in unsafe sexual escapades?

When the ostrich buries its head in the sand, it exposes its hind quarters to would be predators. The question is, would you want  your school going children to receive comprehensive sexual education and like services which may include condoms and contraceptives? or would you rather they remain exposed to the risk of unsafe sexual behaviour?

No offence but please don't tell us that you will talk to your children yourselves, your kids say you don't. That most teens prefer to receive sexual education from their parents is not disputable, however many parents do not have this information and even if they do some of them are too embarrassed to discuss these issues with their children. A survey by advocates for youth indicated that 24% of female teens and 38% of male teens have never discussed sexuality with their parents.

 And how about those kids that would prefer to discuss sexuality with anyone else other than their parents who do they talk to?
"Sex is meant for marriage" We have all heard the sermon hundreds of times yet each time it falls on deaf ears. The church mainly focuses on dire warnings and consequences and we all know that after a while the threats no longer work.

I think there is a need for a neutral party who children can talk to when their parents don't, who they can turn to when they are too scared to approach their teachers and who they can open up when they don't want to be judged by the church. This bill provides for just that.

let us stop pretending, if there was anything else that could have been done at this point  it must have already been done, we are in a crisis and we need to find solutions, this bill provides solutions however disagreeable they may be to many of us, before you bash it to the ground give us a solution that hasn't already failed and we will readily take it up.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Humans breath, tools don't; you are human…

So this morning started on a rather high note. Bumped into mom at the stage which means my bus flight was funded, hehe. And I wasn’t late for work, yaaaaay! Also, the weather was fantabulous, still is actually… you know those days when it’s just about the right among of sunny and the blue sky cloud cover ratio is also set right. Granted I didn’t have breakers, my morning was superb.  I got to work and as usual, I checked social media for udaku and sensible news alike…. My job description requires me to always be up to speed.
Then I came across a story of a man who survived the Mpeketoni attack and I closed all other tabs because this was gonna make a compelling read, unworthy of any looming distraction. So it speaks of a man who was going to cover a story, but was intercepted by a cop who warned his team not to go any further owing to clues of promised prospective danger in the area. The cop was well informed. He spoke of gunmen shooting indiscriminately and indeed it came to pass. So the above stated is a synopsis.
I could go on and on regarding the disempowerment of cops in our country, so much that one of them can have such information but not be able to take action owing to all the unnecessary protocol and bureaucracy involved in police processes. Instead, I will talk about you and I being the cause of most of insecurity in our country.
In the last two months, this country has seemingly adopted waking up to news of terrorism and mass killing as status quo. We are even beginning to be okay with the level of insecurity that has since rocked us. While you may scorn me and make faces at what I just said, but it’s true. We are the cause of terrorism, of communal attacks, of politically fuelled violence, of mass killings and the like.
It is not violence if it has only been conceptualized and envisaged, it becomes violence upon execution. So yes, we are incited, probably enticed with some pocket change and then we proceed to take away lives and make others’ a living hell. At this point, it ceases to be about the perpetrators of these killings or even their reason for doing so. It starts to be about the actual executers of these killings, the youth in particular. We have allowed ourselves to be comparable to a spanner, a screwdriver etc, only this time not to fix but to destroy.
Why risk your freedom, rights and life for a few hundred bucks at the cost of another human being’s life. It is really unfortunate. I feel like the youth are often targets of these instigators because we are hardy, energetic, obedient (well, to a certain extent) and generally broke because we are unemployed. Now, I’m not here to rub it in your face that we are dangling at the bottom of the economical chain but to tell you that the leaders who plan this will not come to your rescue when you are in mad beef with the law. They will be in the comfort of their homes, still leading their lavish lifestyle…watching as you foolishly lead yourself there. The more shy ones will go as far a s masking their evil deeds and intention s with the flimsy excuse of fighting for what is right, ;for what is just, for what is democratic for yours sake, yet somehow it doesn’t worry you that they are never really there to do the dirty job for you.
Real leaders get involved. What, with the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, Dedan Kimathi, Tom Mboya, Nelson Mandela, etc? How can you not question the intentions of someone who wants results without having to get down to the dirty business? We mustn’t be contemptuous and hostile to one another; neither must we be oh so trusting of people, no matter what. Part of growing up is adopting the ability to question and keenly evaluate sitches without obliviously falling for the perils that are almost too obvious.


What the budget should mean for you

As tradition has it, 12th June is always a day that Kenyans look forward to, often all for the wrong reasons though. Now, down your ammunition and hear me out first. I will bring you to the harsh reality that NOT EVERONE IS AFFECTED BY OUR OH SO AMBITIOUS BUDGET; and the budget is a necessary evil, unless of course we are looking to mimic the Amish lifestyle. As I read 13th June, 2014  Daily Nation, page 5 to be precise, I came across this shocking revelation that while some Kenyans literally suffer at the very feet of the budget, others have no qualms about it and while they note that the figures are rising, it doesn’t mean the same thing for them as it does for you and me. So yes, let’s start from there. I will not revisit how most of us youth are to the economic chain, what Lion King’s Timmon is to Prideland; neither will I delve into how unfair it is to hike taxes especially to the largest portion of the population, who by the way, are the worst hit with the unemployment pandemic.

Instead I will challenge you to drop all the negativity and see some good in what the budget means for you as one of the Kenyan youth. First, keep in mind that the government has allocated Ksh. 300m towards credit for prospective youth businesses and also to perpetuate those that are already in existence. So while you whine about how prices are going to skyrocket, keep in mind that your peers are already apportioning themselves the above mentioned figure.
So yes, I will not refute that every Kenyan will feel the pinch far as meeting the budget is concerned, but it’s not all bad news, Ksh 300m has been set aside for you and your friends to come up with lucrative business ideas, get up and get educated on how to access these funds because whining will only wrinkle you and not change your sitch except for worsening it.
Trust me, first world youth has it worse. Everything is expensive. At 16 you could be working two jobs and still going to school. Yet somehow, we are in the comfort zones of our parents’ homes complaining and whining. Be it known, my friend, it counts for nothing.

Be a thinker, be a problem solver, be a head honcho, believe in yourself and above all else, take action and keep the faith.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Jobless and Hopeless

The issue of  youth unemployment may sound like a broken record, but at this point it may well be a national disaster as the number of unemployed young has reached a record high.
It is estimated that on average a graduate will face unemployment for at least two and a half years and  the job hunting process quickly becomes a job itself. It took  Nancy(not real name), a graduate, 3 years to  get a job, before which she had ventured into the mitumba business to make ends meet then later interned and volunteered for a  local organization. Nancy is just one of the many hopeful graduates that leave school hoping to make a successful career out of their Degree as soon as they graduate, but are soon awaken by the reality on the ground.

When the job opportunity does eventually come, it is followed by the "you don't have  enough experience". Soo.... you need experience to get experience? .Well... job experience can only be acquired  on the job ...not bought ...I doubt it can even be faked. As a result of this and other factors young people are at risk of exclusion from the job market as they are ageing without any job experience. Studies have further shown that young people are living with their parents longer because they are unable to meet their needs.
What is the point of going through a torturous school system that gives little or no future promise?

While the government may be playing its role as best it can through measures like the Kazi Kwa Vijana initiative and the youth employment marshal plan, recent figures still indicate that the number of young unemployed is  and will continue to rise. The young and jobless will quickly become the young and hopeless if the situation does not change any time soon. Are we consequently looking at a devastated future?

On Drug Abuse

Apparently, fun without drugs is boring… ß that mentality? That’s what’s boring. I won’t even get into it regarding what drugs do to your body or how risky this stuff is because you already know and there’s nothing new I’d be telling you. I’m not posting this to give you some kind of moral teaching or anything like that. Give me audience and make what you want of today’s blog entry.
I once knew a walking goddess; we’ll call her *Njoki because as this is a very sensitive topic. Njoki was tall and pretty, a black beauty, she had pearl white teeth and basically she would defy your wildest imagination of a beautiful dark skin. She was loved by everyone that knew her and those who didn’t were more or less green with envy because she had it all… the looks, the brains, the money and she was a blossoming ‘socialite’ (trust me, the quotes are necessary because Kenyans have corrupted the meaning of the word) etc.
A time came when Njoki became distant from everyone and consequently went under, she spoke to one and literally cut everyone off. There would be an occasional “I bumped into her the other day…” but overtime, even those started to become scarce. Stories began to surface, dark stories that continue to shock those of us who were once really close to her. I call them ‘stories’ and not ‘rumors’ because they were actually true.
She’d met a man and she fell in love. While there’s nothing wrong with that at her age, what the guy did to her is what tainted their ‘love’. It was at the beginning of that relationship that Njoki’s experiments with cocaine began all this while she was ‘away’. The world is mighty cruel and if your parents and guardians are oblivious of your dark deeds, the world will punish you for them, on your parents’ and guardians’ behalf. Her experiments turned into a hard hitting addiction causing her to go ‘under’ again, only this time, for good.

It’s been about one year now since we lay her to rest and while sweet memories of her continue to linger in our minds and in our hearts, we’re still very much embittered because she knew better but acted in the complete opposite. Like I said, there is nothing new I can teach you about the perils of drug abuse because you already know.
As her friends, I see among us quite a handful that cannot even host a picnic without drugs… we can’t go a day without sipping some. We even save up and go Dutch to buy this stuff. And it had me thinking; ARE WE REALLY THAT DENSE??? For how long will we binge on that liquor, continue rolling that ‘Bob Marley’, indulge in ‘shrooms’, smoke ciggies, inhale that ‘white girl’ and all that? How many more of our people must die before we refrain from using drugs? How many more people must go blind for us to learn? Why do we need NACADA and Mututho threats to compel us to manage our intake of that ‘good-good’? It’s all fun and games until we lay someone in their grave too soon… Tafakari hayo.

Real friends look out for each other, tells your crew to tell a crew to tell another crew.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Youth with special needs

No one told you this, well at least not yet, so here we go: You are most likely among the youth with special needs. This country has the majority of its demography comprising of the youth and while that would be a huge advantage to any economy, it is actually a limitation to Kenya’s economy. This is so because while that stands, it has been discovered that there is a new of youth who have been identified as…wait for it… ‘youth with special needs’. Unemployed youth; dropouts; Youth infected, living with and affected by HIV/Aids; homeless youth; physically, and mentally challenged youth; youth of the female gender and generally  underprivileged youth…who are content with being deemed as such: youth with special needs.
If the world was fair and kind, life would be boring. It is the entire struggle, the challenges and drama that make us come alive… that keep us keeping on, that make us want to fight all the more. So yes, you may fall under this category of youths but guess what? You are in no way less capable of making it and changing your circumstances as the next person and the person after them. 
You are special because you have something in your essence that many people seek but don’t find; because you are special in your own unique way… so make it count. They say when life gives lemon, make lemonade.  That, in my opinion, has to be the biggest cliché by now…Everyone is taught that, but remember, the world can only handle too much lemonade. I think when life gives you lemon, disinfect your surfaces, bleach grease and tough food stains from plastic wear, use it as décor in mom’s living room (she will be thrilled, trust me), relieve a sore throat…and if you don’t have one, find someone who does and feed it to them, shine the interior of copper cutlery because steel wool paired with that kipande bar is not always worth the hustle, brighten your laundry whites, clean out sticky foods from a grater; by Jove, do something different. Still wanna make lemonade? No? Haha, that’s what I thought. There’s about an endless list of things you can do with lemon, which is a true reflection of the hardships and shortcomings we face in life, there’s about a thousand ways you can turn that “mistake” into something great. Step up to the challenge. Remember, you never know until you try. All the best :)

Monday, 9 June 2014

Build your own hustle

From the latest phones, to what’s in vogue, flashy cars, huge houses, the fastest devices. At some point or another we often find ourselves wanting something that all too often seems far, far beyond our reach, many times because our purses, pockets and wallets have a ridiculously whirly vortex of space. Nothing wrong in wanting the finer things in life.
Image courtesy of Google

So we sit and brood over our safara state, go into depression, get ulcers and turn from dreamers to coveters, there is a difference I hear. The truth is though, these things are actually within our reach, and it really is that simple. It is said that nothing feels better than being your own boss and that makes one twice as proud of their hustle. There is a lot of power placed within us and in the wake of every new day, we forget to meditate upon that and come back to sleep on the same when we retire in the evening, in the comfort of our beds. Whoever coined “sitting on a pot of gold’, definitely had me in mind when they said it.
Image courtesy of Google
We have seen it happen and we will continue to see it happen. Is it happening enough though? I think not. Every youth wants to ‘create jobs’ but after all that talk nothing much comes out of it. It really doesn’t add up… but I know what to attribute it to. We don’t know what we are good at, how to commercialize it to our advantage; and we lack the drive to want to find out. We lack passion and that will forever make the difference between us and the likes of Ace Maich, This is Ess, Emmanuel Jambo, Dennis Kibet just to name a few youth who have actually sought to commercialize their talents and passions. They will continue to drive their hustle owing to the fact that they took time to know what were good at.
Most successful business ideas aren’t sourced from the media, they are internal instincts, a feeling, an urge backed by the knowledge we have about ourselves. Once you have done that, you can start to grow your business and feel boss. Tell a friend, to tell a friend.

Towards a county youth policy document

Youth issues today seem to be endless and measures to address these issues are sometimes futile. These issues  such as unemployment, drug and substance abuse, access to education among others are further given a general  national overview without consideration of social, economic and political grass root aspects, therefore prescribing  to them general solutions which are sometimes vain.

In order to get down to the particulars of these issues, youth representatives and other stakeholders convened  in Nyeri to discuss the specifics of the issues that affect the youth in the county.
The meeting which was organized by Youth Agenda sought to support the formulation of a county specific youth policy document which will back the constitution in ensuring that key challenges facing Nyeri youth are  tackled effectively. It provided a forum for issues affecting the county youths to be identified and discussed at length.

During the meeting it came out very clearly that being a youth in Nyeri county comes with a lot of opportunities and challenges with the later seemingly taking precedence.

That nyeri county is perhaps the breadbasket of the country and also has a huge cash crop investment is undisputable, however this does not make the challenges the youth face any less severe and in fact, recent media reports indicate that Drug and Substance Abuse may very well quickly become a national disaster.

In addition to the challenges we all know, there is an increasing sense of despair among the county youth which if not nipped in the bud soon will lead to a lot of hopelessness.
The meeting therefore brought together sober minded representatives in a participatory process that advocated for "youth solutions for youth problems". Many documents end up shelved because the are full of assumptions and prescriptions from policy makers , by involving the youth in this process it will ensure the document will speak to its intended audience.
The document will identify key challenge areas and recommend policy interventions, it will also envisage youth of the future.
This meeting was just but a primary step towards in a long  process which will later see the document go for public participation after which it shall be  considered the county planning and guiding tool in as far as youth issues go.

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