, NAIROBI, November 27 – Taking care of the largest constituency in the country is indisputably a milestone possibly a job one would only take up for the privileges, but this is far from Kinuthia Murugu’s mind.
Statistics show that the youth make up over 72 percent of the country’s population, making it the largest group.
This group is faced with unique and enormous challenges ranging from unemployment, access to education, drug abuse, and crime among many.
But the man at the helm of the ‘Fresh Ministry’ says that the key to unlocking this is not necessary providing opportunities but ‘changing the attitude of these young citizens’. To him transforming the inner person is key.
“My Vision is to change their attitude and then expand economic opportunities for them,” he says.
In an interview with Capital News, the Youth and Sports Permanent Secretary expressed his enthusiasm in what he does all through. His enormous passion for the youth is unmistakable.
To him this is not just ‘a job’ he reports to every other day but something he loves to do. He does this job with pleasure and all his strength.
He is determined to “build up a responsible and empowered generation who can transform this country”.
The Ministry was established in December 2005 as the government strived to up its efforts in expanding opportunities for the young.
Mr Murugu started this docket with just three others, the then Minister Mohammed Kuti and two Secretaries.
The Ministry has four departments namely Youth Development, Youth Training, the National Youth Service and General Administration.
It has well over 2000 staff most of who are in the grassroots. They have posted an officer to every constituency and division purposefully to take care of the youth affairs. They are mandated to focus on sports, enterprise, education and training.
Mr Murugu who spent close to a decade at the helm of the continental scout movement prior to his posting says Leadership Training is his priority.
To expand training opportunities the Ministry is currently recruiting instructors to teach in all the 750 youth polytechnics as it seeks to.
“In the past the communities were paying the instructors but because they did not have the capacity they were not well paid which means that most of them were not very well qualified,” Mr Murugu said.
Already they have posted one instructor per polytechnic but he says that more will be recruited to ensure that all instructors paid by the central government.
The government has in the last few months intensified efforts to revamp the institutions most of which closed down in the 90s. Since the closures, youth in the rural areas where most of the institutions were located were left without access to technical training.
He is challenging the young to explore leadership training, saying “We cannot all fit in the 210 parliamentary seats.”
Regarding the acrimony between the young and the old the PS says the cure is in accommodating each other. While he challenges the old to orient the young, he says they too ought to how responsibility.
He however appreciates the entry of young and energetic legislators but with a caution.
“They have to remember that most of their votes came from their counterparts so they can’t afford to disappoint them.”
And his parting shot: “the future is bright. There are enormous opportunities in this country, the youth are the future.”