There is a growing global recognition of the need to engage youth to participate in governance at all levels of societal, political, economic and social development (Riungu, 2011). Despite these progressive instruments, globally, the levels of youth participation in politics and other spheres of life remain low. Young people unfortunately, remain amongst the marginalized groups that do not get enough attention from the authorities and the legislator.
CMD-Kenya conducted a baseline survey with the overall objective to assess the status of implementation of Article 55 (b) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 by different actors. The Article states that ‘the State shall take measures, including affirmative action programmes, to ensure that the youth have opportunities to associate, be represented and participate in political, social, economic and other spheres of life.’ Actualization of this Constitutional provision requires deliberate interventions by the State to enhance youth participation in political, economic, social and other spheres of life.
The launch convened on the 17th Sept 2019at the Nairobi Safari Club Hotel, was successful in bringing together all actors mandated with the role of implementation i.e. CSOs, the Executive, Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP), Political parties, elected leaders and youth from institutions of higher learning among others.
The main objectives of the launch were to present findings and have candid discussions on the implementation of recommendations on youth in involvement in political dialogue. The baseline survey conducted found out much has not been done in implementation and effectiveness of the youth programs by the various organizations established by the government, and the same institutions seemed to be lacking in policy implementation. A proper monitoring plan was agreed upon and should be initiated by the state to track the effectiveness of the affirmative action measures, policies and programs aimed at enhancing the levels of youth participation at various levels of society. Proper results must be documented out of such processes and be used to inform decision-making processes on matters related to youth.
The discussions led up to and included the discussions on memorandum submitted on the new National Youth Council act and the fact that it was watered down in final reviews submitted. Young people in political parties took up the mandate to ensure actualization of Article 55(b) of the COK 2010, particularly, in regard to political participation.
The baseline survey is set for implementation, and CMD-Kenya shall seek to have engagements post the launch to convene consultative meetings with key stakeholders to disseminate and discuss implementation of recommendations of the baseline report, including influencing youth programming and policies.