Youth in Kenya: Force for change, or lost generation? Prepared by Paul Francis with Nyambura Githagui For presentation at WB ESSD Week Session on ‘Youth: Assets for Social and Economic Transformation’ March 31, 2005 Overview • Background • Conceptual framework and methodology • Situation of youth in Kenya • Youth policies and programs • Conclusions and recommendations of study • Follow up: JSDF-supported work on inclusion, participation and empowerment of youth Background • 75% of Kenya’s population under 30; • 8 million aged between 15 and 24; • Their optimism and energy gives youth enormous potential to contribute to society. • Challenge of growing up in a society where opportunity has been eroded by widespread institutional collapse and deformation. Objectives of study • Identify nature and scope of issues facing youth • Examine risk and protective factors determining outcomes for youth • Identify intervention points • Assist Kenya Government in policy development • Inform Bank’s operational programs Conceptual framework and methodology • ‘Ecological’ model of risk and protective factors developed and adapted with Kenya stakeholders • Focus group discussion across Kenya • Reanalysis of quantitative data • Review of data and literature. Situation of youth in Kenya (1) Education: – UPE, but secondary enrollment < 25% – Poor preparation for employment Employment: – Few opportunities: 60% of unemployed are under 30 y.o. (esp. women) – 1.9 million working children (5-17 y.o.) Health – One in three AIDS cases among 15-30 y.o.; Prevalence varying from 1 to 24 % (higher for females), misconceptions about AIDS widespread. – Very poor mental health indicators (7% male and 10% females have attempted suicide; self-reported depression 7% women). Situation of youth in Kenya (2) Crime, violence, substance abuse – Longstanding urban crime now accompanied by epidemic of rural crime, including extreme violence. – Driven by lack of hope or opportunity – More than 50% of convicted prisoners aged 16 - 25. – Youth perception of predatory behavior by police. Physical and sexual abuse – 21% of 10-24 y.o. report abuse – 42% of 15-19 y.o. women, 50% of 20-29 y.o. have experienced violence since aged 15 – 20-30% women undergo FGM Situation of youth in Kenya (3) Voice – Perception of marginalization and voicelessness in family, community and national political life. Youth living in slums: stratified disadvantage – Poor services (esp, housing and water); lower school enrollments; worse outcomes in terms of violence, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, morbidity, mortality. Young women: gendered disadvantage – Girls face early marriage, lower access to: education, employment opportunities, public space, information and social networks. – Violence and abuse; FGM; consequences of risky sexual behavior (HIV, school drop out due to pregnancy, unsafe abortions). Youth policies and programs • National Youth Policy • Other relevant policies include: – National Population Policy, Information and Communication Technology Policy, Totally Integrated Quality Education and Training (TIQET) initiative. • Implementation gap • Non-governmental initiatives – fragmented, high unit cost, dependent on external funding • Good coverage in some areas: e.g. sexual and reproductive health • Few initiatives in other areas: e.g. youth crime and violence, youth voice Conclusions and recommendations of study • Main areas: – Education and Training – Employment and Entrepreneurship – Voice and inclusion – Crime and violence • Subsidiary areas – Physical and sexual abuse – Mental health – Substance abuse – HIV/AIDS – Out-of school youth – Recreation and sports Recommendations e.g.1: Education and training Problem: many youth being failed by limited access to, and relevance of, education system. • Adapt vocational and technical training system to labor market • Improve access to secondary education • Create links between training institutes and industry • Consider innovative ways of funding V&T training Recommendations e.g.2: Youth voice and inclusion Problem: youth are marginalized and excluded from decision making. • Implementation of Youth Policy and establishment of National Youth Council • Support youth advocacy and leadership programs • Create for a to showcase positive achievements of youth Follow up: inclusion, participation and empowerment of youth – Scaling-up and replication of innovative programs for youth focused on livelihood and well-being – Promotion of accountability mechanisms linking youth/civil society organizations – Capacity building for youth organizations To be supported by $1.8 m JSDF grant After thoughts • Malaise of youth a reflection of the malaise of society • Youth as an object of social engineering: fragmentation vs. holistic vision • Youth concerns linked to structural conflict within the households and communities of which youth are a part • What are the entry points for addressing a wide and deep rooted social and moral crisis? • Re-empowering the family and community in an age of globalization? • Need for a social debate: what kind of society to Kenyans aspire to live in?