Young people below the age of 35 years consist of about 70% of the total population. Kenya has potential to harness its demographic dividend by the year 2030. These huge population of young people requires great investments in their health, education, jobs and governance. Policy makers in Kenya have a responsibility to ensure that the population structure is controlled so that by the year 2030, the young people today contribute significantly to the nation’s growth.
Young people in Nandi County face social economic challenges such as unemployment, teenage pregnancies, unplanned birth and many others which has resulted to strain on available social economic infrastructures particularly health. Youth advocates in Nandi after a training by Centre for the Study of Adolescence on how to effectively communicate with policy makers on the demographic dividend.
Elizabeth, our youth and demographic dividend advocate from Nandi mobilized fellow young people to engage in an advocacy activity with the objective of increasing awareness among policy makers in the county government on the importance of domesticating and implementing the adolescent sexual reproductive health and rights policy of 2015.
These group of 7 young people were led by Elizabeth and secured audience with the County Executive Committee member of health. In this meeting, our youth advocates shared the youth and demographic dividend video developed by CSA and Population Reference Bureau. The young people present at the meeting with the CEC had been drawn from all six sub counties in Nandi.
During the meeting, the champions pushed in the involvement of young people in county budget making process. The youth advocates said that they would identify champions from the county budget committee who would champion for increased allocation of reproductive health services.
The Nandi youth advocates appealed to the CEC member of health in Nandi County to improve accessibility to family planning services and integrate youth friendly services in county health facilities. Nandi county has one youth empowerment centre at the county level which is not operational. The advocates pointed out that there is a youth friendly center in the neighboring county of Uasin Gishu where they could go together with members of the county health team for bench marking.
The CEC member of health asked the youth advocates to select representatives who would be part of the department of health committee. It is through this committee that they would engage with the county budget committee. The youth advocates are excited and looking forward to the benchmarking trip scheduled for August 2017.