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BOI: Why Kenyan youth need to read the BBI Report

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The launch of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Report this past week has grabbed the headlines of mainstream and other media.

It is imperative for Kenyan citizens from all walks of life , regardless of their social status, ethnic or cultural backgrounds, to actively participate in the discourse to understand what the report has to say about affairs of national concern.

It is because of the perennial challenges and turmoil that Kenya has undergone that this national and local dialogue has to be undertaken with all earnestness and honesty.

This is with the view of drawing a better roadmap for running the social, economic and political agendas of the country, in order to revive hope, restore peace, anchor a new sense of lasting unity and concretely elevate the platforms by which every Kenyan’s aspirations can be attained, now and in generations to come.

The youth and the stakeholders bestowed with the mandate of driving the youth agenda must be active in promoting these discourses from all facets and angles.

This is not only because they form the highest portion of the Kenyan population at 20.8% (ages 15-24) as the BBI report highlights, but because they hold much of the power as to which direction the country takes henceforth.Soon, the youth will be tasked as stewards of the nation.

The culture of most of the youth who depend on the snippets that the media will feed them about the report is likely to bear little fruit as to the extent and participation levels but the consequence is little contribution by the youth in affirming to the values, ideals and aspirations of the Kenya citizens wish for.

As it could perhaps be anticipated, a focus on who will play which role in the national executive arm of the government and the possible political inclinations, might override the careful study of  the report and blind the youth that there is not much to gain from it.

Considering that part of the agenda of the BBI Taskforce was to initiate a national conversation on cohesion, inclusivity and a shared prosperity, it is only vital that the whole population, including the youth, take time to read the report and engage with the relevant stakeholders on the issues raised.

This is in a bid to amplify the voices of the greater Kenyan community in charting the way forward to redefining a country that has been struck by hopelessness, majorly and agreeably fed by poverty, negative ethnicity and corruption.

It is, perhaps, the only way to create a revamped country with a new DNA in its approach to the major issues of contention.

While the available avenues for channelling ideas and views, such as social media, have been given to spreading all sorts of remonstrance, protest and acute criticism on the status quo are expected.

This conversation launched through the BBI Report is one that opens a door to air and lay ground for what ought to be brought into action for a better country that embraces sanity.

In view of the prevalent problem of unemployment, for instance, the report asserts that, “it is not enough to merely improve our economic output and present rates of investments: we must entirely transform the way our economy operates if we are to deal with the present lack of jobs” and certainly that come in case the right mitigating actions are not taken.

These are puzzles that can only be solved and challenged rightly in the way they ought to, when the leaders and a few elites are not left alone to singlehandedly run with this conversation that affects every individual.

Initiatives such as the BBI Engagement Initiative launched by the African Youth Trust, a youth-led organization, on Friday 29th November, by the youth organizations and associations may create a more constructive conversation to this regard.

The engagement initiative is one that seeks to unpack and simplify the gains to the youth as contained in the BBI report.

It is notable that Africa Youth Trust ran a similar national civic engagement program in 2010 that birthed the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution.

Civic interactions of this kind will come in handy as keen thought is given to the political, social and economic phenomena of our time, as surely the report tends to highly encapsulate the core concerns we have as a nation.

Boarding into such noble causes by the youth fraternity from all walks and parts of the country could fortify the voice of the youth and move the agenda of inclusivity and embracing a sense of shared prosperity with greater vehemence and power.

It can be historically noted that it is when the population comes out with one voice and purpose that real change is established, and transformation heralded.

The youth will do more good to this generation and those to come by lamenting less and acting more to see to it that the rights of fellow countrymen and women are upheld, and that change that improves their social and economic welfare are addressed in a manner that sets the country in the world map as a template of overhaul success.

The national engagement through the 9-agenda BBI report including devolution, corruption, safety and security, the divisive elections, ethnic antagonism and completion, rights and responsibilities, is one of those potential avenues to drive desired change.

Desmond Boi is a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist. Email: dboi@iasr.co.ke






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