Growing the grassroots

By Tabitha

It ought to be beyond the norm when youths drink themselves to death or slay each other in the name of love or anger or dive into immense addictions or crimes that entangle them in futility.

It should be right if they stand as pillars, holding strong the foundations of this nation. They should be the agents of change for a better tomorrow.

Seeing youths as reckless and ignorant is like watching a nation drink itself to utter desolation and futility, drowning in deep waters with no straw to clutch onto. This is what it means when we call our youths leaders of tomorrow; they waste today waiting for tomorrow. And when tomorrow comes, they will be no more.

Through interactions with youth-led initiatives in Kakamega, it is outstanding how they offer an open door for young people to become representatives in governance and decision-making structures. Youths are essential stakeholders on crucial issues around political action, especially for a more informed future generation. But the big question is, how can they take part?

Many NGOs in Kenya have programs to involve youths in matters of decision-making. Siasa Place, as one of them, has immensely contributed towards this by engaging youths to be agents of change from the community level. Recently, while in Isukha Central, Shinyalu, after a community engagement, nine youths volunteered to steer an accountability team that will voice the community’s concerns to their political leaders.

The chance to allow the youth to participate is worthwhile, owing to the idea that such youth-led initiatives help to amplify the youth’s voices. It also enables them to contribute to knowledge generation. We assimilate this to ‘growing the grassroots’.

Importance of Youth-led Initiatives

Youth-led Initiatives are a place of learning, growth, and change for our youth.

Youths in such initiatives develop exemplary leadership skills. Identifying community issues and collaborating to involve leaders in finding solutions addresses local problems and contributes to capacity building in leadership.

Being part of seeking out the issues raised in the community helps to develop empathetic citizens. While interacting with community members, they understand where the shoe pinches the most for residents. They relate to the matters raised and carry the gravity of it on their shoulders. They grow to become empathetic citizens and leaders as well.

For most youths, they end up gaining work experience. It is a success to lead a team of youths to achieve goals set and aid in solving community needs.

Similar to that, it grows a generation of advocates. Through the issues they have handled and solved, they champion change. They learn the importance of helping and being part of the solution.

This is the path we want the youths to take. Let’s grow the grassroots.

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