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Youth in Politics in Kenya 2023: A Rising Force for Change


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International Girl Child Day, African Girl and Education

Girl Day is celebrated every year on October 11 as an opportunity to raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by girls around the world, especially in Africa, and the importance of providing them with quality education. In this article, we explore the Day's importance in the context of education in Africa, the challenges faced by girls, and initiatives aimed at improving their access to education. Education is a human right and the basis of personal and social development. However, African girls often face many barriers that prevent them from accessing education. These issues may be cultural, economic or political, but they all contribute to gender inequality in education. Girls' Day provides an opportunity to address these issues and work for gender equality in education.One of the most important problems faced by girls in Africa is early marriage and pregnancy. Cultural norms in many African societies dictate that girls should marry at a young age, often forcing them to drop out of school. Additionally, the lack of comprehensive sex education can lead to unintended pregnancies, further hindering their educational progress. Initiatives that raise awareness about the importance of delaying marriage and pregnancy until after completing their education are crucial.Another major obstacle is poverty. Many families in Africa struggle to meet basic needs, and education can be costly due to expenses like uniforms, books, and transportation. Girls are often the first to be withdrawn from school when a family faces financial constraints. To address this issue, scholarships, school donation programs, and affordable school supplies can help reduce the financial burden on families and support girls' education.Additionally, especially in rural areas, the distance to school will prevent girls from going to school. Unsafe travel and long distances can put them at risk. Building more schools and providing transportation closer to communities could help solve this problem. In many African countries, boys are expected to be encouraged in education and girls are expected to work within the family. It is important to change these attitudes and promote the value of girls' education. Social awareness programs and inclusive education programs that challenge stereotypes can play a key role.Child labor is another problem affecting girls. Many girls have to work to support their families, leaving little time for education. Government policies and international organizations can work to eliminate child labor and ensure girls have the opportunity to go to school.Unfortunately, conflicts and conflict in many parts of Africa have disrupted education and made it difficult for girls to access education. Efforts to build peace and improve education in post-conflict regions are critical to providing girls with a stable and safe learning environment.One of the best ways to improve educational opportunities for girls in Africa is to support and train female teachers. Many female teachers can act as role models and make it easier for girls to stay in school by creating an inclusive environment.Investing in girls' education in Africa has many long-term benefits. It can break the cycle of poverty, improve women's health, and promote gender equality. Girls who receive an education are more likely to make informed decisions about their health, family, and career. They are also more likely to become financially independent and contribute to their communities and economies. Several organizations, both local and international, are actively working to improve the education of girls in Africa. Plan International, UNICEF, and the Malala Fund are just a few examples. They provide resources, advocacy, and support to ensure that girls have equal access to quality education.In conclusion, Girl Child Day serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by girls in Africa when it comes to education. The challenges they face are many and include cultural barriers, financial constraints, and gender stereotypes. But through a combination of advocacy, policy change, and organizational efforts, progress can be made to ensure that girls receive a quality education just like boys. Investing in girls' education is not only a human rights issue but also a key driver of economic growth in Africa. This is something worth celebrating and encouraging on Girls' Day and every day.

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In the heart of Kenya, a nation brimming with youthful vibrance, an inspiring transformation is underway. With a staggering 75% of its 48 million people under the age of 35, the youth have emerged as the driving force behind a burgeoning political revolution. For far too long, this dynamic generation has endured marginalization and exclusion, grappling with the harsh realities of unemployment, poverty, corruption, violence, and divisive ethnic tensions.

But behold, change is stirring in the Kenyan air. In the recent general elections of 2022, the sheer power and potential of the youth as catalysts of progress were unveiled. They stepped boldly into the realm of local politics, eagerly seeking various offices such as members of county assembly, national assembly representatives, senators, and even governors. Empowered and united, they seized the opportunity to make their voices heard, molding the very fabric of their nation’s destiny.

Within this remarkable tapestry of transformation, one name stands out—a beacon of hope and inspiration. Mary Wanjiku, a remarkable 25-year-old woman, etched her name in the annals of Kenyan history, becoming the youngest member of parliament. Unfazed by the dominance of ethnically based parties and coalitions, she fearlessly ran as an independent candidate. Her rallying cry centered on empowering the youth, championing gender equality, education, healthcare, and environmental preservation. Leveraging the immense power of social media and grassroots networks, she galvanized her supporters, securing funds through humble donations and contributions. In a landslide victory, she triumphed over her closest rival, amassing a staggering lead of more than 50,000 votes.

But Mary Wanjiku’s triumph is not an isolated tale. A tapestry of young leaders has emerged, their kaleidoscopic diversity breathing life into Kenya’s political landscape. Ahmed Abdi, a passionate 28-year-old activist, broke barriers by becoming the first person with albinism to be elected as a county assembly member in Wajir. In a remarkable stride towards gender equality, Fatuma Hassan, a 30-year-old lawyer, shattered glass ceilings to become Garissa’s first female senator. John Mwangi, a visionary 32-year-old entrepreneur, etched his name in the annals of history as Kenya’s youngest governor, conquering Nakuru.

United by a shared vision, these young leaders herald a new dawn of change, transcending regional, ideological, and socio-economic boundaries. They tirelessly advocate for democracy, human rights, social justice, economic development, peace, and security—issues that resonate deeply with their generation. Collaborating and forming alliances that transcend political divisions, they weave a compelling tapestry of youth-led politics, revitalizing Kenya’s spirit.

As the nation eagerly anticipates the next general elections in 2023, the role of the youth in politics is poised to soar even higher. The message is resoundingly clear: the youth are far from apathetic or disengaged. On the contrary, their passion and unwavering commitment to shaping their future reverberate throughout the nation.

Nerima Wako, the insightful executive director at Siasa Place, a prominent youth empowerment organization, aptly highlights the urgency of recognizing the trends in youth engagement. Failing to heed this call would be a grave oversight—a potential threat to democracy itself. Wako astutely observes, “When youth disengage, they are often saying they don’t have a high level of confidence or trust in existing economic, political, or social entities.”

But fear not, for the youth of Kenya are far from disengaging. In fact, they are embracing their roles with unparalleled zeal. They are seizing the reins of power, leaving an indelible mark on the pages of history. These young trailblazers are not merely the leaders of tomorrow; they are the leaders of today.

Together, the youth of Kenya are embarking on a remarkable journey towards a brighter future. They are defying the shackles of the past, dismantling the barriers of ethnicity, gender, disability, sexuality, and class. With unwavering determination, they champion the causes that resonate with their generation—their hearts ablaze with the pursuit of democracy, human rights, social justice, economic prosperity, peace, and security. United in purpose and undeterred by the challenges that lie ahead, they paint a vivid portrait of a revitalized nation.

As Kenya prepares to embark on another chapter in its democratic saga, the youthful voices are set to reverberate louder than ever before. With each passing day, their collective strength grows, their conviction deepens. They embody the spirit of hope, the embodiment of a nation that refuses to be defined by its past.

So, dear reader, let the tale of Kenya’s youth ignite your spirit. Let their unwavering courage and unwavering determination inspire you. Bear witness to a nation on the precipice of transformation, propelled by the unyielding energy of its vibrant youth. For in their hands, lies the promise of a brighter tomorrow—a future in which dreams are realized, barriers crumble, and the spirit of unity prevails.

As you immerse yourself in the chapters that lie ahead, remember this: the youth of Kenya are not just a force to be reckoned with—they are the architects of their own destiny. Together, they shall reshape the narrative, inscribing a legacy of hope, progress, and unparalleled resilience.

So, let us stand alongside the youth of Kenya as they embark on this remarkable journey. Let us bear witness to the birth of a new era—one fueled by hope, courage, and unyielding determination. Together, let us usher in a future where dreams know no bounds, and the youth emerge victorious as the harbingers of change.


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