The Ministry of Youth Affairs was established on December 7, 2005. It changed to the present Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in May, 2008, when the Department of Sports in the then Ministry of Gender Sports Culture and Social Services was transferred to the ministry.
The main challenges facing the country’s youth include limited employment opportunities; lack of training and relevant skills; lack of access to credit; high poverty levels; exposure to health risks, such as HIV/Aids and unwanted pregnancies; crime, drugs and substance abuse; inadequate sports and recreation facilities; lack of opportunities and mechanisms to participate in decisions that affect them
The Department of Youth Development, created in 2007, seeks to ensure inclusion of the youth agenda in all sectors of the economy and their participation under the Social Pillar of Vision 2030. The department’s activities include design and support of youth oriented programmes and projects; facilitate youth owned enterprises; promote networking and collaboration among youth organisations and research on youth development.
The ministry has mobilised the youth to take part in environmental conservation by engaging the youth in planting one billion trees, clean up campaigns, biodiversity conservation and agro-forestry. Dubbed “Trees for Jobs” (Miti kwa Ajira), the programme was initiated long before the Kazi Kwa Vijana (KKV) initiative launched on March 12, 2009. The Ministry has continued to implement the Miti kwa Ajira to create job opportunities for youth as well as involve them in the conservation of the environment by increasing the country’s forest cover.
The programme also aims at creating a positive attitude towards work among the youth; contributing to food security through planting of fruit trees; help the youth see themselves as stakeholders in the management of the environment; and involve the youth in planting their future. Since inception, the department has disbursed Kshs1.2 billion ($14.2 million) and engaged 300,000 youth in short-term jobs. To date, 8,023,178 trees have been planted across the 210 constituencies.
Youth empowerment centres
These are one-stop shops to be set up in every constituency for youth to access information on issues affecting them. The purpose of the centers is to creatively engage the youth to tap their talents and creating productive opportunities for them. A total of 108 youth empowerment centres have been completed and a further 21 will be ready soon. Twenty three of the completed centres are equipped and operational, while 54 were earmarked for equipping in the 2011/12 financial year
Youth and ICT
The Department, in collaboration with other stakeholders, has initiated community learning and information centres for the youth and the community to improve their knowledge and use of information communication and technology.
Internships and attachments
To enhance the entry point for youth in employment, the ministry offers internships and attachments to promote acquisition of practical skills and work experience to skilled youth.
Youth health, crime and drugs
To address youth health, crime and drug issues, the department sensitises youth on reproductive health and sexuality and dangers of getting involved in crime, drugs and substance abuse. In the 2010/11 financial year, 11,301 youth attended seminars, workshops and symposiums on the dangers engaging in crime, drugs and substance abuse, and another 10,556 on responsible sexual behaviour.
Participation and inclusiveness
The National Youth Council Act has been enacted and is in the process of being operationalised. Elections for the National Youth Council which were at various levels were stopped by a court injunction in Nairobi and Nakuru.
National Youth Talent Academy
The Government has established the National Youth Talent Academy and 13 satellite talent academies serving every region. The centres tap, nurture and develop talents of poor and vulnerable youth who could not pursue formal education. The pilot training programme started in March, 2010, with the support of UNICEF. The initial 100 students were admitted and were trained in music and dance, film and theatre, volley ball and football. The number has since increased to 900. Selection to respective Talent Academy Centres is done competitively, considering gender equity and geographical representation.
The programme’s outcome has so far been impressive with some of the beneficiaries transforming and registering as performing groups with bank accounts for savings from their performances. These youth are invited to perform in both regional as well as national events. It is projected that the programme of nurturing and developing talent of this cadre of youth will be expanded to establish one modern youth talent academy in each of the 47 counties. The Government is considering increasing funding for this vital programme.
Youth exchange programme
The Ministry has been conducting youth exchange programmes to create interaction forums for youth from different communities and build structures of cultural harmonisation. Youth exchange experiences and appreciate each other, building strong bonds of friendships. They have also been able to overcome negative ethnicity, mistrust, cultural prejudice, stereotypes, among others.
This programme is indeed a sure way to build bridges across communities by teaching the youth the importance of cohesion and peace amongst themselves, regardless of their different ethnic backgrounds
Youth volunteerism programme
The National Youth Volunteer Scheme is a deliberate effort of involving the youth in community development through volunteerism and community service. It is aimed at building skills and knowledge to enable young people make a positive contribution to their communities and strengthening the already existing youth initiatives. In the process the youth gain experience necessary for job placement.
Youth and entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship training targets youth out of school to empower them to become better partners and catalysts of the development process. The training also enhances their contribution and influence in the economy by increasing their ownership of the means and factors of production and income generation activities through provision of technical support and enhancing youth business, entrepreneurial skills and fostering entrepreneurial culture.
It also stimulates and motivates the young people to spur their inventiveness and creativity as well as provide opportunities to the young people across the country to share experiences and initiate and strengthen a National Youth Entrepreneurship. Opening of market outlets and networks helps to promote marketability of products and services and networking among youth.
Department of Youth Training
The Department was established in 2005 to rehabilitate and revitalise Youth Polytechnics countrywide. Youth polytechnics are basic education institutions offering primary school leavers opportunities to acquire quality technical and vocational skills and knowledge to make them employable. The institutions also provide avenues and pathways for attaining higher education through technical and vocational education.
The youth are also equipped with technical and entrepreneurial skills to fully exploit local community resources for employment creation. The Vision 2030 emphasises the need to equip the youth with competitive and employable technical and vocational skills to make them relevant to the job market and instill self-reliance. This can be realised by training youth in technical, industrial, vocational and entrepreneurial skills, which is the priority mandate of the Department of Youth Training.
The Vision 2030 identifies youth as a vulnerable group for their lack of appropriate skills and identifies strategies to mitigate the challenges. The Department has deployed Youth Training Officers at the provincial and district levels, and has instructors and managers in youth polytechnics. The ministry supports more than 60,000 trainees in youth polytechnics with subsidised tuition. In 2011/12 financial year, Kshs871 million ($10.3 million) will help 57,000 trainees in public youth polytechnics.
The Ministry has increased the number of youth trained in necessary skills for national development from 9,000 in 2009 to 66,500 in 2011. The curriculum for youth polytechnics has been reviewed by the Kenya Institute of Education to ensure it matches the market needs. The new curriculum is based on the national Technical Industrial and Vocational Education and Training (TIVET) policy framework of Sessional Paper No.1 of 2005.
It is modular and competency based, and comprises: agro-business development; food processing technology; electrical and electronics technology; metal processing technology; building technology; refrigeration and air conditioning; appropriate carpentry and joinery; information communication technology; leather work technology; fashion design and garment making technology; hair dressing and beauty therapy and general education (mathematics, biology, communication skills, entrepreneurship, life skills, physics, chemistry, ICT and technical drawing). The ministry organises annual zonal and provincial competitions for the polytechnics’ co-curricular activities.
The inaugural youth polytechnic’s national ball games competitions were in Embu. Some 422 youth polytechnics received equipment and tools worth more than Kshs 800 million ($9.42 million). The department has embarked on a Kshs 700 million ($8.3 million) rehabilitation programme of infrastructure in the polytechnics. Fifty three projects (workshops, computer laboratories, hostels and administration blocks.
The Department of Youth Training has been receiving Kshs5.8 million ($68,236) every month for 349 youth polytechnics under boards of governors countrywide as top grants to pay instructors. The department has also embarked on training youth polytechnic managers on management, leadership and entrepreneurship. More than 600 members of youth polytechnic management committees and 200 youth officers have