, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 15 – President Mwai Kibaki on Tuesday said there is need to equip the youth with knowledge and skills that will empower them to embrace opportunities that come their way and overcome challenges they encounter.
The President pointed out that in order to realise the envisioned development goals under Vision 2030, the youth must fully be involved in both planning and execution of the country’s development agenda.
President Kibaki was speaking at State House Nairobi where he presented gold awards to 463 young Kenyans for their invaluable contribution to national development through free services at various levels of the President’s Award-Kenya programme.
The Head of State emphasised that in order to enhance harmony and cohesiveness among Kenyans, young people must continually be empowered with skills, knowledge and positive attitudes required for nation building.
In this regard, President Kibaki said the Government has come up with programmes like the Free Primary Education and Free Tuition Secondary Education to give youth knowledge and skills.
“These programmes are intended to mitigate the hardships brought about by the tough economic times as a result of the global financial and economic crisis and high cost of food and fuel,” the Head of State said.
The President, therefore, called on individuals, leaders and institutions to join the Government’s efforts by coming up with initiatives that positively engage young people in productive activities.
Said the President: “This way, we shall realise higher national economic growth, higher incomes among the youth, stable and more peaceful country.”
Saying the noble work of the organisations that support the youth such as the President’s Award Programme should be supported, the President urged investors in Kenya to make the programme part of their corporate social responsibility activities.
On his part, President Kibaki pledged Government’s continued support to the President’s Award-Kenya Programme.
The President expressed satisfaction that the programme has continued to make the country excel regionally and internationally as a lead trainer.
Noting that Kenya has been nominated to host the 2011 International Gold Award event that will bring together teams representing over 120 countries, the President said his Government has already committed Sh14 million towards the event’s preparation and hosting.
President Kibaki congratulated all the young people who participated in this year’s President’s Award activities and encouraged them to be ambassadors of positive change and progress wherever they go.
“I believe you have what it takes to mentor other young people for the benefit of our country and humanity. You have my best wishes,” President Kibaki said.
The President commended the awardees for their involvement in environmental-conservation initiatives such as tree planting, clean up campaigns, as well as roads and dam construction during their 18 months participation in the President’s Award Programme.
In addition, President Kibaki, who is also the patron of the award programme, observed that the participants were exposed to life skills like HIV/AIDS awareness, first aid and fire-fighting.
“With such exposure, I am confident that the experience you have gained will help you to contribute meaningfully to our country’s development. This is important because one of the core objectives of the President’s Award- scheme is to impart positive life skills in young people,” the President said.
The President noted, with appreciation, that the award’s alumni members were engaged in the public and private sectors, contributing to the socio-economic progress of the country.
Said the President: “I am particularly happy to note that more young people have graduated to be Young Fellows in the Award by contributing financial support towards extending the reach of the Programme.”
He thanked the Board of Trustees, the Director and the Secretariat for their hard work that has enabled the President’s Award Scheme to perform well.
The Head of State also commended heads of learning institutions, teachers, parents, guardians and stakeholders for facilitating the involvement of many young Kenyans in the programme.