Empowering youth is a process of shaping, guiding and nurturing the youth talents, potential or skills. This empowerment is often through financial support, ideas and so on. The immense potential that the young people have usually tap through the proper empowerment scheme and can go into a long way in shaping the lives of the youth for the greater good.
The Kenyan politician however has a different perspective altogether of empowerment. Often, you will see them buy a handcart, motorcycles for ‘boda boda’ and line cameras to capture the glimpse of it to hoodwink the public that they are touching and empowering the youth. This actually is populism and the strategic target of handcarts and boda boda is use the poverty to hoodwink the masses to thinking you are good leader and possibly re-elect you or elect you to the office.
While I will not pour cold water to the ‘waheshimiwa empowerment’ I wish to outline the ways we can adequately empower the young people;
Give youth tools to collaborate, solve problems and brainstorm
Provision of the knowledge and information to the youth through seminars, workshops, trainings and resources to actualize their dreams and aspiration. Through this, youth can become change agents in the communities and solve problems.
Encourage them to tap talents and passion for greater good
This can be done through investing in art, theatre and facilities like standard football pitches, running tracks. Through the investment in such facilities and strong endorsement, the youth can tap in their acting, football, running passions and can change the community through them.
Consider their opinion, ideas strongly and help when you can
Make them part and parcel of key decisions. Listen to their needs and concerns and offer solutions or champion for whatever they are asking for. If their thoughts and opinions and the ideas matter and heard then be rest assured, they can inject bold, realistic points of view.
Invite and support them launch a project or idea
Support them when they come up with ideas and projects financially or otherwise. Allowing them carry out their vision with coaching, cheering and support is a special empowerment experience which makes them feel supported and appreciated.
Counteract negative messages by touting youth-led successes.
Youth success may seem elusive and impossible to some people thus the negative messages but by telling stories of younger and even giving them chance to encourage and talk to other youth will be an empowerment and dispel the notion of failure.
Failure is part of the process
Let the youth learn and understand that failure is not fatal neither is it final but part of the process to be better and succeed.
The politicians therefore should save us time and the photo-ops but embrace proper empowerment techniques that are sustainable and poised to create the impact substantially for positive change in the society.