Young people are the biggest drivers of the demographic dividend agenda. Kenya like many other countries have the biggest population of young people ever in history. Globally, young people account to 1 out of 3 of the entire population. This is big!
Kenya has set a clear development road map enshrined in its national vision 2030 for economic and social development. Did you know that there are 15 million young people in Kenya today age between 15-24 years? These group of young people will form a significant part of the working population of Kenya in the year 2030. What then should we do to ensure resources are effectively utilized to foster economic growth?
First, we need to control the population structure and ensure that in 2030, Kenya has a strong and effective working population with fewer dependents. The young people today must embrace contraceptive use and family planning. With smaller families, individuals could get money to save and invest in the economy. This has the potential to grow Kenya’s economy by double digits.
Decline in birth rates alone is not enough, Kenya needs investments in education, health, economy and governance. Investing in the education sector will make young people acquire skills that will make them fit to compete effectively in the job market. Young people will become more innovative and participate in nation building. The health sector also needs a good policy environment that will enhance accessibility to services for all young people. There should be more youth friendly centers established in the 47 counties. The economy also needs innovation and investments that will create jobs to serve the existing working population of young people who will match the skills needs of industries. Finally, all these issues outlined can work effectively in an environment with good governance. Our leaders should prioritize youth issues and ensure young people are involved and included in decision making.
On the 19th of September, CSA launched an advocacy tool-a video dubbed “We are Kenya’s Future” which outlines the demographic dividend agenda for Kenya. The development of this video was supported by the Population Reference Bureau under the PACE project. This video has been earlier used by youth and demographic dividend advocates trained by CSA to reach policy makers in their Counties.
Hilda from Kericho County says,
“We screened this video to the County Executive Committee member of Health in our County. He thereafter expressed his commitment to invest in youth friendly centers to offer SRHR services to young people in the County”
Other youth advocates present in the launch of the video shared experiences of how the video is an effective tool to call policy makers to action. The video has been screened in Murang’a, Bomet, Kilifi, Kwale, Mombasa, Kiambu, Nairobi, Kitui, Kisumu, Bungoma and Kisii counties.
The National Council for Population & Development (NCPD) released Kenya’s demographic dividend road map. Speaking at the launch of “We are Kenya’s Future” video, the Deputy Director, Mr.Nyakwara said that he hopes all the 47 county governments will mainstream the demographic dividend agenda and youth participation in their new County Integrated Development Plans (CIDP) for 2018-2022.