Factor youth needs in county plans
7 months ago, 19 Mar 01:21
The county governments are getting down to work, serving wananchi. At the top of their to-do list, as required by law (the County Governments Act, 2012 ), is to develop integrated plans commonly referred to as the county integrated development plans. The CIDP is effectively the county’s strategic plan. The plan ought to show well-defined goals and objectives, a costed implementation plan, a framework for monitoring and evaluation and clear reporting mechanisms. It is the CIDP that then informs the county’s annual budget. Unfortunately, there is a real danger that young people’s needs will not be adequately considered in the CIDPs, and subsequent annual budgets. Those who make decisions about public policy are middle-aged to older Kenyans. The National Manpower Survey Basic Report published by the government in 2014 showed that only three out of 10 ( 29 per cent) employees in government were aged below 35. We must do all we can to ensure that the needs of the youth are adequately considered in county plans. After all, they are the single largest demographic group in Kenya — four out of five Kenyans ( 80 per cent) are aged below 35. To eliminate the possibility of alienating the largest, and potentially most productive demographic group of Kenya’s population, decision-makers and other stakeholders at the county level ought to take deliberate steps to ensure that the youth are front and centre of county development plans. Granted, young people face many challenges, some of which are not in the mandate of county governments. The National Youth Policy ( 2006 ), which is currently under review, identifies two struggles the youth face that the county governments can work towards resolving — health challenges and limited access to economic opportunities. The county governments and other stakeholders at the county level ought to do everything in their power to ensure that the CIDPs address these two challenges. The only way to ensure this is to have young people as part of the process. A good place to start would be to deliberately include youth-friendly information formats and channels in campaigns targetting to educate communities about participation in the county development planning processes. A study published by ‘Well Told Story’ in 2017 provides wonderful insights about young people aged 15 to 24 in Kenya. Any county government interested in reaching the youth needs to adopt the use of mass media channels other than newspapers. Radio is the most dominant of the mass media channels preferred by the youth, followed by broadcast TV and social networking sites. Newspapers, a medium preferred by the county governments as a means of communication, were found by the study to be ineffective in reaching the youth. Only seven out of 100 (seven per cent) of the youth reported reading newspapers daily. The study shows that the youth lack adequate knowledge about governance processes. Only one out of four ( 25 per cent), the study shows, know the roles of the national and county governments, while only five out of 100 ...
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