Straight Talk at the #IYD2020

Venue: Githurai Social Hall at Chief Camp

International Youth Day is marked annually on August 12th for the purpose of engaging and giving the youth of the world space in conversations with their local, national, and international leaders.  This year’s theme was, youth engagement for global action to highlight the need for youth to be  engaged from local, national and international as their voice matters.

Straight Talk in partnership with other partners participated in this very exciting event that brought the  youth, community, parents, partners and government together to discuss the most progressive way forward on tackling issues of unemployment, help youth to re-establish businesses again and ensure accessibility of sexual and reproductive health services  among other issues

The event was streamed LIVE on all our social media  platforms where more than 10,000 viewers followed attentively and engagrd.  Due to strict MOH and WHO guidelines on Covid19, only 100 people were allowed to participate physically.  

Welcoming the panelists and the participants, the Area chief, George Muga appreciated the immediate challenges the youth were facing and echoed the  endeavors of the local government in ensuring that there was more inclusivity  in the administration of the area especially in regards to the youth. 

The panelists of the day were Dr Ann Njau- Head-Loan and Credit Uwezo Fund, Kingsley M. Kipury – Director partnership and Strategy SME Development Office of the President, Mr Maurice  Mureithi – County Youth Affairs, Ms Terry Mutua – Chief Nursing Officer and RH Specialist, Sylvia Kerubo Ouko – SRHR Advocate.

The event was opened by a joint Press statement from the youth highlighting the unfortunate discrimination and hurdles the youth faced while trying to engage with the Government on economic and health choices. The statement decried the adverse effect of Covid19 pandemic on young people especially in accessing contraceptives and also their livelihoods. 

Jobs for the youth and their economic empowerment

On those job and economic concerns by the youth, Githurai Area Chief Mr  Muga asserted that the government always puts the youth into  consideration regarding employment opportunities and gave the examples  of the Kazi Mtaani initiative, a hygiene program which was created to boost young people economically during this covid 19 pandemic by affording a source of income. He stated that most of the  enumerators for the exercise were youths in line with youth empowerment guidelines from the National government. However, he advised that the youth should consider engaging in self-employment since there were not enough spaces for all the youth. 

Also responding to these concerns, Head of Loan and Credit at Uwezo fund, Dr. Ann Njau regretted the challenges young people faced and assured them that the Uwezo fund was making all affirmative funds accessible to young people. She implored them to apply for the funds and asked that the defaulters be granted a grace period to recover from the ravages of the pandemic. 

The Director Partnership and Strategy and SME Development in the Office of the President, Kingsley M. Kipury offered that they are advising the President on the issue of easing taxes on businesses run by young people. Advising young people to register their groups and promised to connect those groups with others  that have done well for mentorship.

The Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs reiterated the government’s commitment in factoring the youth agenda in government strategy. Particularly, the Directorate of Youth Affairs asserted the government’s efforts in recognizing the youth as part of the realization of the Big Four  Agendas in the government’s development mission. The youth make up more than half of the general population, thus there is a need to recognize their position in the development process. Mr Maurice  Mureithi – Director of youth Affairs asserted the importance of the youth in the development process.  Particularly, he highlighted the efforts of the Ministry to ensure that policies made are in line with the needs of the youth and that the youth incorporation in the development process is becoming more  engaging. Also he highlighted the opportunities that the government has created for the young people like  KYEOP and kazi mtaani.  

Access of sexual and reproductive services by young people during Covid

Roysambu Chief Nursing Officer Ms Terry Mutua noted that most of the young people were not going for Sexual reproductive services due to fear of covid-19 but advised young people not to shy away. 

“Let’s encourage safe delivery among the adolescents, and invest in life skills and knowledge empowerment around sexuality education during this period to prevent and manage the situation we have in our communities like the increasing cases of  teen pregnancies”

Affordable SRHR services and Free Sanitary towels for students

Youth advocate Ms Silvia Kerubo of the Githurai Link Initiative proposed that the Government must supply sanitary pads for free to school girls as they are also contributing to the rise in teenage pregnancies. This is beside demands for provision of affordable reproductive health services and contraceptives to youth and adolescents.