It is evident that youth in Africa still feel left out of major government functions and decision making forums that affect them directly.
It has been observed that even with an increased call for youth participation in business ventures and central government organs, the youth still don’t get to be in the top leadership positions that set policies and make decisions for them.
This is quite an interesting scenario considering a country like Kenya where 67% of the population is made up of young people below 35 years.
In Nanyuki, Mt Kenya region of the republic of Kenya, a group of young people under the @mtkenyayouthhub, an initiative by the local youth and ActionAid’s Activista came together for two weeks to gain skills and knowledge on how they can collectively advocate for a change in the status quo.
This was coordinated by young social transformers David Macharia, Vincent Otieno and Damaris Rabenza.
Based on my work at The UniLife Movement, I was selected to be one of the two lead trainers on developing a Youth Social Movement, working closely with the great @sunguoyoo of Advocates 4 Change.
The youth in Mt Kenya in Laikipia County agree that more has to be done in involving the youth in matters of national concern, most importantly those that directly affect them such as entrepreneurship, poverty elevation, sexual health, county and national leadership, unemployment, art & talent development among others.
However, these young people claim youth have spend decades whining and complaining to politicians for what is not done for them. These cries have yielded no fruits.
They have vowed to stop the idle complains and set up a youth social movement, as a platform upon which all focused youth that need a change in the status quo can take a central role in achieving this rather than sitting back, complaining and being used by greedy politicians
Actually it is for this reason that I accepted to interact with them for a week as a facilitator, my objective was to help them form a great team of united youth with a common goal and vision.
In fact these youth already had a vision; all they needed was motivation and correct leadership from within themselves to achieve it!
This meant that the first step was to help them realize that a leader is part of the team and everyone has a role to play in the success of the team; coming together is a beginning, Keeping together is progress and working together is success!
Success here meant seeing the vision achieved, bit by bit!
I committed myself to giving them knowledge on basic leadership in group, commonly referred to as Middle leadership where everyone can actually lead within the group.
Looking at the various examples of leadership styles in Africa that were effective was a good inspiration for this group of social transformers.
I also gave them a taste of communication skills as a vital part of the success of a team.
Now that they have a team focused a common vision, it was crucial that they learn how to communicate effectively with each other and give feedback correctly, whether constructive or corrective.
Listening skills too is an integral part of communication that I couldn’t leave out in helping this group form a solid focused founding team for the social movement.
I saw it necessary that they get exposed to basic conflict management skills too. Being a team of youth with varied opinions, it is expected that they will have conflicting ideas occasionally.
Conflicting isn’t really a problem, but the way a conflict is managed could either build or destroy.
For this reason, I had to help them develop good conflict management skills that focus on building the team as well as attaining a given task successfully.
We also had a dozen of team building and motivation activities that ensured they understand each others’ strengthens and weaknesses, while learning the essence of team work.
It was a motivating moment to see every one of them performing a task for the mutual success of the whole team, without any instructions.
With all the team building and motivation it was prudent that they practice setting goals and defining tasks that can lead to achievement of these goals.
This turned pout very effective and helpful to the second week trainer @sunguoyoo, who assisted them to define a goals and objectives that they will start working on as a social movement.
We couldn’t leave all the effort at that, without creating some social media buzz, courtesy of the social media campaign skills from Global Platforms.
We initiated the ongoing #ForgottenMajority twitter chat to highlight the views of youth across Africa on how we can get actively involved in Leadership and decision making for the benefit of Africa at large.
It was an inspiration for me to see how the youth here presented their objective arguments and suggestions on the matter.
The group skype call with @bonifacemwangi was all we needed to join #teamcourage and take the first step towards activism for change!
I believe that every young person, regardless of the location has an idea of how well we can fight poverty, promote social impact projects and kill vices like corruption.
If only we the youth could stop whining, complaining and allowing ourselves to be manipulated by rogue politicians, then we can truly be the change we dream about every day!
Let’s borrow a leaf from these upcoming social movements like The UniLife Movement and the Mt Kenya Youth Hub Social Movement, to create youth movements that will inform, motivate and include every youth in constructive dialogues and activities.
As I wish the Mt Kenya Youth Social Movement the best in their endeavors: I wish to recognize and appreciate groups, companies, organizations and @ActionAidKE in particular for their commitment to empowering young people to get challenged, and create the change they want to see in their society, rather than spending years complaining and doing nothing, we are together in this journey for Social Transformation!