Education, Health

The Government of Kenya and UN commit to expanding education, training and employment opportunities for young people, on an unprecedented scale

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 2020 - Hon. Joseph Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Innovation and Youth, (CS) and Kenya’s representative in the Generation Unlimited (GenU) Global Board convened today the UN Kenya Country team to identify opportunities on how to swiftly expand education, training and employment opportunities for young people, on an unprecedented scale.

Credit: UNDP Kenya

The meeting was graced by Ms. Ruth Kagia, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Executive Office of the President, and Co-Chair of the National Generation Unlimited Steering Committee. Others in attendance at this meeting included the CAS Nadia Ahmed Abdalla and PS for Youth Affairs, Julius Korir and Heads of the UN Kenya Country Team.

Kenya is a very youthful country. The median age is estimated at 19 years, and about 80 percent of Kenya’s population is below 35 years. This demographic boom happening brings potential to transform economic and social outcomes, raise global productivity, and reduce inequality, but only if enough opportunity is created.

Preparing young people for the world of work will benefit Kenya’s economy, increase security, advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and improve the well-being of millions.

As the COVID-19 pandemic is being curbed, young people more than ever require a new inclusive approach, given the extraordinary economic, social and cultural challenges they face.

H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta has been recognized and lauded by the UN and partners as a GenU Leader underscoring Kenya’s commitment to drive the youth agenda forward and leave-no-one-behind.

Among the issues discussed and agreed upon at the meeting were the commitments to ensure that young persons are engaged in current COVID-19 response related job opportunities across the counties; that they will be encouraged to engage in on the digital and innovation front, whether it be in direct relation to the COVID-19 response, or in other areas, such as developing apps for Government to utilize in their business continuity; on issues of governance and policy that affect them; on different ways to take advantage of the partial lock down to reach young persons so they can receive distance learning, and /or other out-of-school methods of learning, study and excel in school, and vocational training and skills development, to prepare the young persons to take on decent work.

Speaking during the meeting, CS Mucheru reiterated that the government is commited to ensuring that their livelihoods are safeguarded, they are offered wholistic protection against vulnerabilities, that emerging opportunities are sourced together with them and that they are included, as active players, in governance and decision making at all levels.

Hon Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Youth and Innovation concluded: “On behalf of the GenU board and most importantly my own Government, I would like to applaud the United Nations family in Kenya for its support to our young people. H.E President Kenyatta has put our youth at the center of the Country’s development agenda. Kenya being a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurism – we will deploy our best to swiftly expand education, training and employment opportunities for young people, on an unprecedented scale.

On their part, the UN country teams, through the Resident Coordinator – Siddharth Chatterjee, committed to ensuring that Kenyan youth are part and parcel of all UN programs and undertakings in the country. He further committed to providing a monthly Generation Unlimited situation report and update on all UN initiatives and programs, clearly indicating how Youth have been integrated in the executional elements.

Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator stated: “As Kenya is confronted by the corona virus, the locust invasion, and floods, which are all impacting the country’s socio-economic development, Kenya’s young people, now more than ever, can prove to be its promise or peril. The UN Kenya Country team stands in full solidarity with Kenya and will deliver as one, our best support aiming for all young Kenyans to realize their full potential. We will ensure we heed the President’s call of ensuring young people are given education and employment opportunities so that our society can live up to its full promise.” He further noted that UN agencies have already started integrating youth by ensuring a percentage of the program jobs are set aside for youth in the localities where the programs are being executed.

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