NAIROBI, Kenya May 15 – The government is undertaking a major revamp of the National Youth Service (NYS) to make it a better institution for youth employment.
Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru said changes in the institution include increasing the number of recruits each year from 2,000 to 21,870; the use of new technology and engaging in services like construction and security.
Waiguru explained that the high number of recruits will also undergo a social transformation training that they can use to influence other youths to reduce those operating in militia groups or as vigilantes.
“We have decided that the vision of the new NYS should be to catalyse transformative youth empowerment in the country in line with a commitment of the Jubilee manifesto. NYS will be recruiting more youth per year, in fact his Excellency (President Uhuru Kenyatta) wants this number to increase to 60,000 but we have been recruiting 2,000 a year and we thought it safe to start with the 21,870 and then build up to this number.”
She said that those who undergo training at NYS will be expected to mentor some 227,670 youths and the group will then be divided into squads of 15 youths per team who are to build each other economically and socially.
“The squads will also have a savings scheme where each member will contribute Sh100 monthly and they will be eligible for a loan under the Uwezo or the Youth Enterprise Fund or a match grant from the ministry where they can buy for example motorcycles and start off a joint business.”
“This will ensure that our training goes to more youth who may be unemployed and with nothing to do they opt to engage in activities that are illegal.”
“There has been a debate over the arming of guards in the private security firms as a security measure but with this new restructuring, the trainees can instead be used as security detail and the Members of Parliament can consider arming them, after all they are trained under paramilitary standards.”
“The service will also open its very own security firm where the recruits can be deployed to work as security guards,” the CS explained.
According to the CS, the trainees who will be recruited in two tranches in January and July will further be deployed to the counties to assist the governments in their operations like controlling traffic and slum upgrading.
“After the paramilitary training we will be involved in programs such as integrated dam constructions. The new recruits will build 1,100 dams and pans every year. They will also undertake mechanised and manual road construction at county level, they will help in roads such as murram roads.”
“The recruits will be deployed to Huduma Soup Kitchens across the counties which will be providing basic food to the poor Kenyans that cannot afford to buy food; this will boost their interaction with the society.”
Further they will assist with revenue collection at county level for the county governments. The demand for this is very high. In Uasin Gishu only, NYS collected revenue for the county and increased the collection from Sh500,000 to Sh2.7 million in two weeks. The idea is to have NYS replace Mungiki and other illegal militia groups in revenue collection.
Waiguru’s remarks were met by praise with Members of Parliament saying that incorporation of the more youth in the service was a step in the right direction.
Runyenjes Member of Parliament Cecily Mbarire said, “I thank the ministry and we are excited. I ask the CS to see whether part of the equipment can be cascaded to the village polytechnics, otherwise you have our full support.”
In line with restructuring of the NYS, Waiguru on Tuesday appointed Nelson Githinji the new Director General to replace Kiplimo Rugut who served for just a year.