The 2020 Youth Employment Conference took place on the 19th & 20th November at the Kenya School of Government, Lower Kabete. This was the inaugural conference and will be held as an annual conference convened by the Youth Agenda.
The conference falls under the Youth Agenda Economic Empowerment Programme that seeks to break the mould of disillusionment and hopelessness of the youth by providing hook-ups that yield fruit, requisite information, and a capacity to look inwards for confidence, shatter stereo-types of what youth are perceived as, with an end result to converting information into opportunity. This year’s conference brought together a total 424 representatives from Government, leaders of industry in the private sector, International Organisations, Civil Society Organisations and youth leaders. The focus was to find solutions in adjusting, readjusting or adapting to the challenges brought to youth employment by Covid-19.
The conference was also held virtually in collaboration with the HomeBoyz Foundation Media, Afarmers Media Team and broadcasted via Youth Agenda social media platforms. It provided an opportunity to identify, highlight, equip and support youth in formal employment plus business with new employability skills. The conference focused on the emerging employment opportunities in the; Digital, Green and Creative Economies. It also had sessions on Entrepreneurship and Financial literacy; Manufacturing; Private sector engagement, Legal frameworks for responsive youth economic empowerment, Gender dynamics and youth unemployment versus peace and security.
The conference was graced by among many, Hon. Anne Nyaga the Cabinet Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Cooperatives, Prof. Nura Mohamed PhD, Director Finance and Administration at Kenya School of Government, Hon. Caleb Amisi the MP Saboti Constituency who represented the Rt. Hon Raila Odinga to close the conference, Caroline Njuki , the Officer In Charge at International Labour Organisation, Mr. George Awalla, Country Director for VSO Jitolee Kenya, Mr. Peter Quest, Youth Program Coordinator, Kenya School of Government, Hon. Juliana Babu, C.E.O Meru Youth Service, Hon. Nancy Okademi, nominated Member of County Assembly from Busia, Mr. Muchiri Mungai, Youth Director Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sarah Gibbons, Team leader CREATE program, Mr. David Gitonga, Representative Nairobi County Commissioner’s office and Mr. Stephen Kadenyo, the Executive Director, Pamoja for Transformation Trust.
Being an opportunity for peer mentorship, the speakers included Youth Agenda 2020 Top 35Under35 awardees. Among them as speakers and panelists include; the life time achievement awardee Olive Gachara, Youth of the Year Entrepreneurship, Joreen Kinyua, Youth of the Year Agriculture, Victor Mugo, Youth of the Year Media Advocate, Winnie Kabintie, Youth of the Year Creative Arts, Nelson Munyiri and Youth of the Year Youth Advocate, Ezra Yego.
The speakers and panelists highlighted a number of issues and platforms to find opportunities for youth. While speaking Mr. Benson Mutuku, a gender expert said, “we need to re-look the levels of socialization and build the capacity of the youth in order to fully understand their dynamics by conducting a Gender- Power Analysis”
In highlighting the opportunities available and the need to empower youth in job creation, County Governance Watch Executive Director, Mr. Kevin Osido said, ‘’statistics from Kenyan Universities show that there are more than 500,000 graduates annually. Ideally, this means that if they all create employment opportunities, there will be new jobs annually. The Government of Kenya needs to step up.”
Hon. CAS Anne Nyaga in encouraging the youth to take up opportunities in the Green Economy said, “Youth need to plug in the untapped opportunities in the Agricultural Industry like digital marketing, value-addition of farm products and their distribution from the farms to the markets,”
The conference also provided a roundtable discussion on Youth and their space in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) reforms. During this session, it came out that the Youth desire change in how they are governed, however the reform process has largely excluded them. They also shared concerns on the proposals as some of them were not clear especially on how they will be implemented.
The Youth Agenda C.E.O Mr. Kelvin Keya emphasized on the need to establish an independent Youth Ministry solely dealing with Youth matters and Empowerment.
Going forward, the Youth Employment Conference will be an annual activity of the Youth Agenda with plans for 2021 already in place. The 2020 report including recommendations will be put public, shared with partners and duty bearers for their consideration and action. Through the recommendations from the conference, the Youth Agenda in collaboration with partners and development players will proactively work on providing avenues for employment of the youth post the Covid-19 pandemic.
We gladly thank our sponsors including: The International Labour Organisation, VSO Jitolee Kenya, Trocaire, World Vision Kenya, Retirement Benefit Authority, HomeBoyz Foundation and Afarmers Media. We appreciate Kenya School of Government, our partners and participants who made the success of the conference.
For more information or to follow through on the conference discussions, please go to:
- #YEC2020 #JobNiJob #InvolveYouthKE