International Youth Day Message

Today, Kenya joins the global community in marking the International Youth Day, even as we all combat the disruptive Covid-19 pandemic. As a nation, we have celebrated this day since 2005, taking time to reflect on the gains we have made each preceding year in promoting the youth agenda and to chart the path to a bright future for our young people. We celebrate our youth as a critical segment of our population that contributes significantly to and is a major stakeholder of national development. The African Youth Charter, adopted by Africa Union State Parties on July 2, 2006, recognizes the continent’s youthful population as its greatest resource. Consequently, young people’s active and full participation in social, cultural, and economic affairs will help African nations to surmount development challenges and reap the benefits of the “Demographic Dividends”. Further, the Charter recognizes that “Youths are partners, assets and a prerequisite for sustainable development and the peace and prosperity of Africa.” The theme for this year’s International Youth Day – ‘Youth engagement for global action’ – reinforces the need to put the youth at the heart of our development agenda. Let me state unequivocally that the voices and participation of young people in any development discourse or initiative are key to national progress. We can only hope to attain our national goals by including the youth in executing the set strategies encapsulated in development blueprints such as Kenya Vision 2030, the Big 4 Agenda, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We already know that the engagement of young people at local, national, and global levels enriches national and multilateral institutions and processes. This is as it should be because youth representation and engagement is critical to achieving global action aimed at improving people’s quality of life. We have successfully conducted National Youth Week activities, mostly through virtual platforms, owing to the restrictions posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Youths have demonstrated technology savviness in showcasing their involvement at local, national, and global levels. Young people have showcased their talents and innovative ideas. They have also suggested interesting solutions to some of the challenges facing the nation and globe, such as climate change, terrorism, unemployment, peace, and conflict among others. We all recognize the opportunities availed by
technology to do things differently. I want to encourage the youth to use technology to earn decent and sustainable livelihoods because technology has become a game-changer. I would like to assure our young people that the Ministry, together with other government institutions and projects, are always working to make their lives better. They should, therefore, not hesitate to engage us. We promise to always keep our doors open for them. We expect that at the end of the National Youth Week and International Youth Day, many young people will have identified how they can benefit from the Government’s many programmes. Because each Youth has unique talents and abilities, each can prosper differently. Some are well-placed to become entrepreneurs. Others can excel as artists. Yet others have innate leadership qualities that can be honed for them to serve the society in various capacities. I call upon our dynamic youths to take advantage of the Government’s support to improve their lot. They should make their voices be heard so that we understand better how to support them. They can shape the kind of future they want by contributing to national development today.