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January 24, 2015 / bswitaba

Areas that would have the biggest impact in reducing poverty in Kenya


One of the UN Millennium Development Goals was to end extreme poverty.
As the MDGs target date elapses in 2015, Kenya’s populace is left wondering if the country is anywhere close to achieving this milestone despite the economy’s growth in recent years.
The continued flow of huge amount of foreign aid into the country has not helped either; Statistics indicate that of the 16 million unemployed Kenyans, 80% are young people.

This is a clear indication that successive governments have done way too little to arrest the unemployment situation, resulting to majority of young people languishing in poverty.
In order to effectively tackle and root out poverty in Kenya, I have identified two key areas discussed below in-depth.

Restructuring 8-4-4 Education system
Ideally, the 8-4-4 education system teaches everybody a little of almost everything. It however teaches very little on just what the learners ought to know in order to make their way successfully in life. More so, the system doesn’t put into their hands the tools they are best suited to use, and thus a production of mass failures in life.
Furthermore, the system doesn’t acknowledge that we are all gifted differently be it psychologically and or skill wise. Everybody taking the same exam for a fair selection is like asking an elephant, a monkey, a fish and a dog to all climb the tree to see who the genius of them all is. In this case, if you judge all the animals by their ability to climb a tree, some will live their whole lives believing they are stupid!

In order to be competitive in this fast changing world, what the youth need is a system that will equip them with vocational skills – and not just an exam based system where passing means everything and skills mean nothing.
Mere book education leaves the youth in a weak position. Ignorance and lack of skills relegates the youth near the bottom of the ladder in the economic sphere – making them unable to compete effectively for opportunities.
The government therefore needs to restructure the 8-4-4 system to one that will embrace talent academies. Additionally, the adopted system should advocate for an improved relation oriented curricula, for high quality of education starts with better relationships – with the learners and educators.

Youth Empowerment Programmes
My take is that to best economically engage the youth, the national government in conjunction with relevant stakeholders, should set up talent and vocational centers that will help inculcate technical skills to the youth.
After completing their respective vocational and mentorship trainings, the youth should then be allowed access to grants and or micro-finance to help them set up income generating projects that will uplift them from poverty and aid in attaining economic self reliance. In this case, the Uwezo fund would come in handy in the quest to help in job creation and economic self reliance for the youth. This is a key pillar that will help Kenya attain MDGs and eventually Vision 2030.



Leave a Comment
  1. saomcol / Jan 24 2015 10:11 pm

    Didn’t know that you’re now evolved into such a great writer! Valid points in the above argument.

  2. Fabian Mwoshi / Jan 25 2015 12:29 am

    Good points, individually the youth need to take responsibility for their own fates. Idling by roadsides, watching videos and English premier league religiously will not bring meaningful change. We need to have an innovative mindset, thing like there is no box, re-invent the wheel, be creative, move out of victim mindset”tunaomba serikali” to victor mindset “I can do and be anything or anyone” I want to be regardless of prevailing circumstances.

  3. bswitaba / Jan 25 2015 10:16 am

    @Sam once in a while am inspired to blog. @Fab true that then it all points to lack of empowerment programmes. An engaged youth will not have time to idle at “jobless corners” or video joints. This post is meant for the World Bank. I hope they can “act”.

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