“Hunger is not the worst feature of unemployment, idleness is!”- William E. Barret.
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, THIS is where tomorrow begins!” Those were the opening remarks by the head boy at a high school graduation that I had the pleasure of attending last week. The graduands were overly excited about their completion of secondary school education and could not wait to start the next chapter of their lives. I listened keenly as a few of them walked up to the podium and gave such hearty speeches about what they wanted to study in university and the kinds of jobs they would eventually get. The promise of a bright future full of success and prosperity seemed to be all they could speak of. I couldn’t help but wonder if the teachers had adequately prepared them for university and what lies ahead of that.
Out of a working population of 24 million, 1 out of 6 is unemployed. According to the Human Development Index (2017), Kenya recorded an unemployment rate of 39.1%. A study revealed that it takes a university graduate an average of five years to secure a job in Kenya.
During the launch of the Sauti Kuu Center, Dr. Auma Obama said the following words. “The reason why I am opening this center is because I want my community to realize how wealthy they are so that they can help themselves and not constantly be in a situation where they have to be grateful to others for what they have.” She further said that people worry about having too many young people in the African continent who are jobless and idle and said that she sees that as an opportunity and not a problem.
The day that young people in Kenya and across the continent unite and realize that their numbers are their strength will be the day that they will be liberated from the political, social and economic bondage that they face every year. Many young people complain year in year out about the politicians being responsible for the state of unemployment in this country. We should blame ourselves for not holding our leaders accountable for not keeping the promises they make every election year. We should blame ourselves for not paying attention to the state of our economy and asking the leaders where the resources will come from and how they will ensure sustainability of these projects that they so eloquently brag about. We should hold our leaders accountable for outsourcing services that the young people of this nation are capable of performing. We should hold our leaders accountable when they fail to conduct public participation forums as the law demands and for the few leaders that hold these forums, we should blame ourselves for not participating.
Digital Africa Foundation advocates for a culture change movement where the youth in this country and continent will see themselves as assets and not liabilities, change makers and not cowards, opportunities and not problems. We realize that there will never be enough Government bodies, private sector agencies, non-profit organizations that will employ the approximately 5.6 million unemployed people in Kenya. Unemployment is a ticking time bomb and only through enterprise creation will we solve a good percentage of this issue. The handouts mentality is crippling the youth in this country and this has resulted in groups of people that are fully reliant on others. Relying on people for money and not skills ensures the rise of youths that cannot be employed. Digital Africa Foundation will provide opportunities for young people to acquire skills and start their own organizations particularly in the agricultural industry and this will allow them to be self-reliant resulting in provision of opportunities for others. This will be done in a quest to reduce and eventually eradicate the handouts culture that many have adopted in this country and will result in a more informed population of youth that will make better choices when it comes to electing our leaders. Join this movement and lets work together to save ourselves and the next generation of youth in this continent.
Hate Monday’s? Try unemployment!
By: Mutheu Nzomo- Digital Africa Foundation