Ashoka participation at the National Youth summit

The National Youth Summit was slated for Thursday the 31st of January, perhaps to end the first month in style but importantly to reflect on the role the youth can play in the new system of governance (devolve government) and during this period of elections. The attendees were from the 47 counties.

 Ashoka, East Africa was invited as hosts to head the topic of the role social entrepreneurship in development and that of young people in country branding. This was particularly a perfect match for Ashoka, because of the youth venture program. Youth Venture is an Ashoka insight born out of the Ashoka Fellows work; it was remarked over the years that all Ashoka Fellows had started nurturing their entrepreneur initiatives at an early age. Thus why this program targets young people to age of 22, equipping them with leadership, Empathy, Entrepreneurship and Teamwork skills; to be changemakers. This world is growing fast and the problems are accelerating at the same speed, this gives a clear indication for need of more innovations to address same problems.

The session hosted a couple of young from different counties, who were passionate about changemaking and were eager to learn more. The session was enriched by the testimonies of four young changemakers who went through the Youth Venture programs, and have been able to build their own initiatives to address different problems that were affecting their communities.

Tabitha, who was the youngest, moved the audience, with her initiative of reducing number of road accidents near schools and schools areas, she has succeeded to influence her school head and the area chief join her in creating posters to sensitize the population on the importance of road safety and the marking of Zebra crossing in those zones.

 Ian a is putting his efforts to create a serene environment for the orphan children in the children home, through his organization ‘Wipe a Tear’ which they created while in high school with a group of his friends, it equips  the children home with certain skills i.e. baking, capacity building, to improve the services offered to the children. He does fund this initiative partly from the profit he gets from a cloth line he started.

Javes hails from Kibera and his experience from the post-election violence, kept him thinking how the youth could engage themselves on useful ventures rather than being used by politicians create chaos. He and his friends are making ‘Akala’ flip-flops from recycled tyres for sale, this venture is earning them income and the profit they get, partly they reinvest to expand the business and other they use to cater their necessary needs. Already experiencing the advantage of this venture, they are training other youth in Kibera to join.

 

Lucy is seeing the need of engaging young mothers into an income generating program, this will enable them cater for their family’s needs. Having underwent the same condition of hardship as a young person living in dandora, thus when her idea of creating a hotel and employing this vulnerable mothers come to genuineness. After completing her six months training, on business plan writing, she was able to have a clear picture of what elements she needed to put in place to realize her dream. The youth venture program, gave her more of motivation to fundraise for her project, she succeeded to get 30,000/= and soon she will be fully launched to the market.

This young people’s testimonies, not only inspired the group but it put them to task, of actually identifying what are the problems affecting their different communities and what they could do to be part of the solution for the issues they cared most and how they could go about tackling it.

This was a way to thought provoke changemaking traits in this young people that everyone can contribute in a way to solve problems that face our communities.

The feedbacks were very positive, as we learnt that everyone cared about different issues affecting them and they were willing to be part of the solution, and for those who were already engaged in the path of changemaking they found a ‘home’, they realized that they were not loners, they were many walking that path, and that was very encouraging.

The whole experienced was creamed, by the talk from two Ashoka Fellows Wamuyu Mahinda founder of the Youth banner, training young people on the entrepreneurship, encouraging them to be creators of employment, thus actually the role the young people need to participate vividly this is a way to strength not only the economy but also reducing unemployment. Fredrick Ouko Ashoka Fellow Founder of Action Network for People with Disability (ANDY), encouraged the youth to purse their dreams and work towards them no matter their physical disability, he  advocate for full inclusion of people with disability in all important national matter i.e employment, electoral process and elective seats.

The experience was power for us as Ashoka, seeing young people who are will to dedicate themselves into the path of changemaking, to better their communities in different ways.