International Youth Day is day set by the United Nations. 12th August is set to celebrate the youth in the world.2015 International Youth Day theme was Youth Civic Engagement. This is in an effort to promote young people’s effective inclusive civic engagement at all levels. The engagement and participation of youth is essential to achieve sustainable human development goals. This is however not possible because of low or non-existent opportunities for youth to engage politically, economically and socially.
It is for the same reason that the day is set to empower youth on how to participate in the economic, political and social growth of the nation. There is need to raise awareness about the importance of youth civic engagement and its benefits to individual and to society as well.To be part of these efforts, Nairobits trust organized a Focus Group Discussion that brought together all the youth from its centers. The number was approximately 340 youth. A panel of 8 members namely Maurice Ongala, Mercy, Salim Mohammed, Senior Assistant Chief Famau, Lima, Zack Jakoyo, Sitawa Wafula and Wilson Masaka. The panel was drawn from social entrepreneurs, social development experts, Administration, Mentors and change makers in the society.
It was good to note that the youth were actively involved in the discussion and were interested in knowing more and learning from the team of panelist present. The chief urged the youth to be alert and alarmed. They should be responsible because security starts with them. He also advised them against second generation alcohol that has been a menace in Kenya in the last few months.
One thing that was clear however is that the youth were not doing enough to grab the opportunities available in the country. The youth were demanding rather than being involved citizens. The youth were encouraged to create opportunities for others other than waiting for the government to do something.
The notion that one has to know someone somewhere was supported by the panel. Though its sometimes in the negative limelight, the youth were urged to have a network considering no man is an island. They were encouraged to start from the grassroots as they come up, from their families coming to the society.
It was also pointed out that, for the youth to be different they needed to be proactive. They needed to unlearn what they had learned and join hands in making the world a better place.
The Focus Group Discussion was an eye opener to both the students and even the staff. The fact that the youth did not shy away from asking questions was encouraging for it is the first step towards getting solutions to the challenges faced in the community. It is however important to do a follow up and constant mentoring to the youth. Sometimes the problem is not the will, but the extra driving force.