Makueni youth raise awareness on need for talent development and drug abstinence

–           Average youth unemployment has risen from 17.1% in 2011 to 17.4% in 2014

–           Survey shows high use of drugs and alcohol by school going teenagers

–           JIACTIVATE keen on providing a platform for elevating voices of Kenyan youth

Makueni, 8th February 2018 – Makueni youth have listed drug abuse and talent negligence as the key issues affecting their development during a forum convened by a social movement dubbed JIACTIVATE. The lobby group organised the forum that brought together youth, county leaders and other special groups that support youth development such as Kenya Red-Cross and Siasa Place.

According to JIACTIVATE chairlady Ms. Sheenan Mbau, “The youth in Makueni lack the platform and opportunities to nurture and grow their talents into a meaningful skill and make a living out of the acquired skills and hence resort to drug abuse as a result of idleness.”

She added that, “World Bank statistics show that unemployment among Kenyan youth has averaged 20 per cent in the last 10 years rising from 17.1 per cent in 2011 to 17.4 per cent in 2014. This points to the need of government and policy makers to empower youth on talent development”

JIACTIVATE was keen to point out that Kenya ranked 97th out of 118 economies in the Global Talent Competitive index underlining the need for counties and national governments to develop youth talent.

The JIACTIVATE Coalition Partners further called for interventions such as awareness and behavior change campaigns that will help youth to discover and sharpen their talents. This will be in addition to other long-term interventions such as setting up of rehabilitation centers for youth addicted to drugs.

A recent survey in 17 counties on alcohol and drug abuse Conducted by The National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) showed a high use of drugs and alcohol by school going teenagers with alcohol being the most abused while prescription drugs the most accessible.

“Much as drug and substance abuse are on the rise, Makueni County lacks rehabilitation centres for the victims to access relevant services,” said Alex Ayub, the Youth Officer at Kenya Red Cross Society.

Following the engagement, Makueni youth called on their county leaders to establish rehabilitation centres so as to assist rehabilitate drug-addicts and boost awareness campaigns against drug abuse.