The 2nd Adolescent Health Symposium this year kicked off with a Youth pre-symposium on the 1st day. CSA was happy to host one of the side events at the Youth pre-symposium. Our side event was about ‘Realization of the Demographic Dividend’ which was attended by nearly close to 150 people. The participants in this forum included young people between the ages of 19-24 years, civil society organization representatives and officers from both national and county governments. This was such a wonderful platform to discuss and propose action points on what Kenya really needs to harness the demographic dividend.
The highlight of our side event was the eloquent, elaborate and passionate youth panel that we had set up. We identified strong and articulate young people from our work on Youth and Demographic Dividend in Kenya. We had a blend of both members of the Youth Advisory Group (YAG) and the vibrant Youth and Demographic Dividend Champions who work across 22 counties in Kenya. Our panelists were; Alex Omari from Marie Stopes Kenya (YAG member), Imali Ngusale from DSW (YAG member), Lameck Mageto from Kwale County (Youth Champion) and Dollarman Fatinato from Nairobi County (Youth Champion).
The panel gave insights on education, health, economy and governance. They outlined the situation of young people in Kenya today and gave out clearly recommendations that touched on policies that are developed for young people in Kenya. After their submissions, a more lively and interactive plenary session made significant contributions on what Kenya really needs to do to achieve the demographic dividend. The advocacy tool “We are Kenya’s Future” video was played at the side event just before the plenary session. You could see the reaction from the plenary after watching the video. They were moved and ready to take action.
“County governments in Kenya should be more inclusive and expand their structures to accommodate young people especially in their decision making organs like the county technical working groups and committees” said Dollarman as he was finalizing on his views on what should be done about governance.
The most exciting this is that young people from this side event were able to develop a communique which was forwarded to the organizers of the symposium. We shared advocacy materials with the young people and policy makers who were present in the room with the hope that this conversation about Kenya’s future will be carried beyond the symposium and actions will be done to improve health, education, economy and governance in Kenya. By positioning young people at the center of all these actions, then we are on the right track to harness the demographic dividend by the year 2030.
Read the Youth Communique here.