Kenya joined the rest of the world on August 12 to mark International Youth day. The theme for this year’s celebrations was “Youth Civic engagement” and sought to explore how the youth have engaged themselves in governance and political processes. Through a coalition of youth organizations known as ‘Action 2015’, DSW Kenya and other CSOs have been running a series of events during the youth week from 6th August, which culminated in the International Youth Day celebrations on August 12th.
This year’s celebrations provided an opportunity for the youth across Kenya to take stock of their engagements and achievements in their various roles in society. During the course of the week, the youth took part in various activities to showcase the power of the youth in determining the destiny of Kenya. This included tree planting, clean-up activities, outreaches for sexual reproductive health services, sports events and topical discussions. The youth also had a chance to interact with Members of Parliament as well as officials from various counties in line with the devolved structure of governance. Some of the asks put across to leaders include equal access to business tender opportunities, provision of youth friendly services at health facilities as well as the role of youth in the Post 2015 agenda.
During the national celebration held in Machakos, various speakers reminded the youth on the importance of aligning rights with responsibilities. Using an analogy of governance and leadership, one speaker pointed out that good leadership is a right but it is the responsibility of all, youth included, to take part in registering as voters and electing good leaders. A similar scenario is replicated in the health sector where even as youth demand for quality health services, they also need to exercise informed choices and responsible behaviour. The national celebrations were mirrored in several county headquarters countrywide. DSW through its Youth-to-Youth initiative took part in celebrations in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi, Machakos, Kajiado and West Pokot counties.