, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 3 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday stated that he was not looking to, “militarise the youth,” through the National Youth Service (NYS) rebranding campaign.
President Kenyatta who was speaking when he hosted 800 high school students graduating under the President’s Award Scheme said the NYS rebrand and goal of growing the number of recruits drafted by five times from 4,000 to 20,000 was simply aimed at constructively engaging the youth for the benefit of the country.
“I am not militarising the youth. What they are doing is good for them and the country,” he said.
He gave as an example the clean-up exercise the current NYS recruits were currently undertaking in the Kibera slum. A slum he said had been neglected by previous leaders.
He therefore urged employers to look favourably upon those who’d volunteered in the NYS.
“Those who volunteer to work for a better Kenya should be given a priority when it comes to getting jobs that pay,” he said.
He also called on the private sector to supplement his government’s efforts at empowering the youth through the NYS, the Uwezo fund and policy that 30 percent of all government contracts go to the youth by providing such opportunities as mentorship.
“The private sector has many wonderful statements of corporate social responsibility goals: they would be even wonderful if they recorded achievements for our youth,” he said.
President Kenyatta’s defence of what his government is trying to accomplish through the NYS came as those interested in joining were cautioned against being taken advantage of.
“This is to inform the public that recruitment to National Youth Service has NOT yet began. Recruitment dates and venues will be made public through an official announcement in the press,” @NYS_Kenya tweeted on Friday.
Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi on Friday also advocated for more schools to factor in the President’s Award Scheme onto their list of programmes making the case that participation fosters leadership skills.
“It teaches them how to survive hardship, how to lobby, how to negotiate and many other skills,” he said.
According to PA Kenya’s Director Edwin Otieno, Kenya is currently ranked at the top of the scheme’s participating countries on the continent and number four in the world after the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong.