Kenyan youth targeted in patriotism drive

January 16, 2009
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 16 – A campaign that seeks to instill confidence, motivate the youth to appreciate and celebrate Kenya’s diversity and heritage as well as be more patriotic is set to be launched on Tuesday next week.

The campaign by the Brand Kenya Board also seeks to constructively engage the youth, who constitute 75 percent of Kenya’s population in the development of the country.

“The timing is right. Our youth are demanding to participate (in national development) and they have demonstrated that they can as we have seen from the many success stories in the IT and entertainment sectors,” said Brand Kenya Board Chief Executive Officer Mary Kimonye.

She expressed fears that unless the youth were involved in the development process, the country was unlikely to achieve its ambitious goals as outlined in the economic blueprint Vision 2030.

“We are concerned that due to the problems the youth face, most of them have become very apathetic, negative and many of them are feeling hopeless about their future prospects,” she added.

The CEO admitted that Kenyans had progressively lost some values such as those contained in the country’s national anthem and thus the need to rekindle such principles as resilience, determination, restraint and service to society.

Mrs Kimonye told Capital Business that they wanted to ride on the positive wave brought by Barack Obama’s election as the 44th president of the United States to develop leadership skills and empower the youth.

“Obama’s crest has brought renewed hope all over the world and it has demonstrated to everyone that with determination, everything is possible. What are the values and principles that made Obama make it?” she posed adding that this would inform their agenda.

She disclosed that the drive, which is expected to last four years would involve showcasing the youth’s talents and achievements, mentorship sessions as well as highlighting the alternative options to formal employment that exist in the country.

The campaign’s main thrust, Mrs Kimonye said, would be to encourage the youth to de-link their past mistakes and failures from the present and focus on their future.

“We want positive change. We want the youth to expend their energies positively and this will rub onto everybody else. This way, we hope that the society as a whole can begin to change,” she enthused.

She expressed optimism that upon the end of the campaign the youth would take up leadership in all spheres of life and not just in politics.

“We want to de-emphasise politics. Too much time is spent on politics, yet there are so many important things that are happening. Youth are not the leaders of tomorrow, they are today’s leaders!” she emphasised.

The massive drive which is estimated to cost millions of shillings, will also call for the participation of players such as the Youth Affairs Ministry, youth groups, young achievers, artistes and the provincial administration.

After the official launch in Nairobi, the Board will organise countrywide campaigns through the media, seminars and workshops. Mrs Kimonye also revealed that they would set up a social networking website where young people can interact and share ideas.

She also relayed that the outputs of the campaign would be documented into printed and electronic material which would then be distributed to the youth.

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