BY MACHEL WAIKENDA
Since I started working with the young people of Kiambu County I have noted with great relief that Kenya has a generation hungry for direction. There are millions of young people who are looking forward to be mentored and ready to be taught as they have not lost hope.
A week ago, a young man told President Uhuru Kenyatta that he would one day occupy State House as a group of student chatted with the head of State at the prestigious residence. These young people are the future of this country and yes, that young man may one day be an occupant of the house on the hill.
The following day, we saw more students hang out with Deputy President William Ruto as his Karen residence. They had a feel of what he goes through every morning reading briefs and preparing for his busy schedule.
I am writing this not only to share my experiences with the youth in Kiambu but to ask every adult Kenyan in a place of work to embrace mentorship. One day I will have to leave my office for a possibly younger person; as a CEO in a blue chip company, you will not be there forever.
Just like the President and his Deputy have done, we can all take our small steps and embrace the millions of youth who are hungry for mentorship. They clearly want the knowledge and someone to look up to in whatever industry that they are interested in.
They want to know how to cultivate leadership qualities; they want to know how to start a business; they want to know what it takes to run a political campaign; they want to know the secrets to successful farming; they are eager to hear from captains of industry; they want to know how to use their talents to be the next Sauti Sol or Lupita of their generation of entertainers.
I can go on and on in citing the numerous aspirations of our young people. But the bottom line is that we have a role to play and it is high time that we started doing it to ensure that the next generation of leaders driving our development as a nation are well nurtured.
In the course of my work in the Kiambu County Government, I strive to play my role by interacting with the youth and understanding their needs. As a result, we have not only managed to give them equipment that will help them develop their talents but have also worked to encourage them not to lose hope.
The Kiambu County youth and sports department which I head has, through the support of the Governor’s office set up various programmes for the youth. The annual Kiambu Iko Talent and the regular intra-County soccer tournament are some of the programmes that we have set up for capacity building, mentorship training in all the wards of the county.
Soon, we will have a multi-million recording studio that the young people who have been participating in the Kiambu Iko Talent develop their music. Kiambu youth will also be able to use this to even get into movie and music production with the help of seasoned talented artistes that we have in the country.
We also have a programme that the youth receive training to address among other things; job placement, drug and substance abuse, CV/Business plan writing and the 30 per cent government procurement.
My aim has to ensure that the young people of Kiambu become job creators instead of job seekers. They will then in turn become captains of the industry and I would hope that captains of the industry who hail from Kiambu can help us mentor this youngsters.
The youth are the best people to work with and we want to give them space to show us what they have and then we can offer them job and propose others to the industry. We must therefore continue to ensure that we expose them to empowerment, motivational speakers and industry players who will impart knowledge on them.
It is my belief that I have to support the future of the fellow youth as they are tomorrow’s leaders who are much needed to produce fresh ideas in the leadership roles and engage into new business activities.
Now imagine how many youths can benefit from such mentorship programmes across the country if we dedicated ourselves to playing this role. If the President and Deputy President and of course the First Lady can get time off their busy schedules of running a country to mentor, so can each and every one of us.
As we keep telling the youth that they are leaders of tomorrow, we must also ensure that they know how to handle it when they get there. We must nurture them to be leaders of our country, our formal and informal industries and of course of their families and the society at large.
Let us all lead the future leaders and guide them in the right direction.
(The writer is a political and communications consultant. Twitter @MachelWaikenda)