First of all, we need to stop calling 50 year olds and older middle-aged men “youth”. Yes they have their issues too but majority of the Kenyan population are youth, now this age group is wide and as wikipedia says, “Definitions of the specific age range that constitutes youth vary”.
Youth issues are many today, from unemployment, to drug and substance abuse, to education or lack thereof. Which brings me to The Space. The Space begun as an initiative to bring about a conversation with youth from all over Kenya on social issues affecting them, the impact of PEV, and civic participation. This birthed workshops, festivals revolving on these themes and THE SPACE TV was born. Though season 1 is over (it aired at 6pm Sat on NTV), they are still engaging with the youth online to ascertain the impact of the TV show and to also continue discussions on Leadership, National Identity, Ethnicity and Responsible Citizenship. Hosted by Karen (Kaz) Lucas and Mwafrika, the show is fun and full of surprises.
This to me seems to be the biggest issue facing the youth in Nairobi today. How to survive day by day without a (stable) source of income. Most come to Nairobi from the rural areas with hopes of landing lucrative jobs only to end up spending days in casual labour that pays about Ksh 300 a day, if you are lucky. It’s easy to join crime or to be recruited to join political gangs.
It’s not an easy road for the formally educated either. We finish university with high hopes and celebrate our graduations like we’re still the first people from our villages to have a degree. A very high percentage of graduates remain unemployed or work in jobs that have nothing to do with what they learned in university. The pay is always low and motivation is lacking.
Self-employment is not a bed of roses, many will tell you. I know a few friends who went that way after graduation and most of them had to fold up and seek formal employment. Some have succeeded though and we can learn from those who’ve made it and also from the mistakes of those who didn’t. Sometimes the timing is not right, or the funds are not available, or the business idea is not viable.
Whatever your current state of (un)employment, it is important to define your values so you avoid being taken advantage of by unscrupulous people or to fall into the menace of drug abuse in your idle time. There is a lot one can do in their spare time, maybe it’s time to see what other talents you may have.
Drug and Substance Abuse
I know a number of people who spend most of their salary on alcohol and by mid-month they are borrowing for fare to work. Alcohol must be the most abused drug because well, it’s legal. People should enjoy themselves, but always remember that moderation is key.
Leadership or Lack Thereof
It’s not a secret that we don’t really have the kind of leadership we would want but it’s up to us to elect leaders we want instead of just complaining and whining. We should also vie for these leadership positions at various levels, although lack of funds may be a hindrance to most people.
Of the Constitution
With the coming of county governments, a lot will change in this country. The focus will not be just on Nairobi alone, but also be on county headquarters. Many are unaware of how this change will affect them so it’s time for you to do research!
Okay, so far I feel as if I have been giving advice and lecturing instead of one of those meaningful discussions. So how we hear your side of the story? What issues are affecting you?
You can discuss these on The Space on