Yes! we can do it! We have the power.
Did you know that youth age is prime to every one? And that’s why every youth should aggressively and responsibly take charge of one’s life, but one would ask how? The future depends on strong youths and if most youths understood that they are the strong pillars and assets of development, the nation and the future will mot remain the same.
One would ask, why are the youths not involved in the government, business, politics and social movements? Most youths desire more access not just to job opportunities but to quality and good life, how many youths have jobs but are still victims of date rape, Homicide, media influence, crimes and drugs and violence? In regard of media influence most youths are affected with what they see, hear in the internet, televisions, magazines, movies, and even video games. The youths can easily mitigate media influence by being media literate, by choosing what to listen to, how and why. By being media literate help the youth think critically on the message passed to them, how the message is going to affect their future life. It also helps the youth in creating the media responsibly and in the long end they will be smart consumer of information and message delivered to them through the traditional media.
In Kenya, research shows that house-break in, pick-pocketing, massive looting; mugging and fraud are the prime crimes. Pick pocketing sound mere, but most Kenyans concurs that they have lost items in crowed places, public ground and vehicles. One crime that has affected high percentage of my country Kenyans is house break-in, armed robbers (mostly are youths in their early 20’s) believe that most houses lack concrete weapons of defend themselves, so they take advantage of these families by robbing them valuable substance from their houses and the owners surprisingly watch as they go with the items. The incident takes place during the day or even at night. Fraud cannot go without mentioned among the crimes that take place in Kenya five out of ten Kenyans have experienced this crime. One is usually promised something of big price in exchange of something else that he/she has to give to the fraudsters. One realizes this when its too late and nothing can be done to salvage the incident. Massive looting, this mostly done with a large crowd of people, they move in crowds then loot mostly in hyper markets like supermarkets and large shops.
Youths in their early 20’s abuse drugs, research shows that most youths and teens in Mombasa (one of the counties in Kenya) are known to be great addicts of drugs. They have their own places of meeting, where they inject themselves the heroine, take drugs like narcotics, Bhang not forgetting alcohol (homemade) If the youths can overcome this menace of crime and drug issue then the youths and our teenagers will take nations to a higher ground.
Which nation would grow and develop if the youths are thieves, robbers and fraudster?
All this crime can easily be dealt with by first helping our youths overcome these crimes and drug issue by first addressing the unemployment issue, most youths become perpetrators of crime because of being idle hence being tempted to try something new which they end up taking drugs that leads them to crime, I personally believe by the youths being kept busy for example, participating in the community and society activities like talent search, clean up exercises, performance and speech deliveries then they will not remain the same, because through this activities they will be educated on the effects of the drugs on their bodies and how the drugs will affect their families, and would like to be victims of bad circumstance in their bodies and end up hurting their families? Through talent search one would easily identify his talent then work on it for example if its singing, dancing, playing guitar, all the way from playing soccer, playing net ball, then it becomes superb when the youth has it in mind why he /she is doing this, then it becomes beneficial to him and to the nation. On the clean up exercise, when the youths take part in cleaning their community, through collecting the garbage, cleaning the polluted areas, installation of clean water with the help of the government, and planting of trees, trusts me! The nation will not remain the same because the youths would have made themselves valuable.
Majority of youths do not get to access formal education because of some reasons like, insufficient school fees, poor performance in academic work, lack of parental engagement and lack of parental support. Youths, that does not mean that your life ends there, through the introduction of informal education among the youths, becomes very important to them because through this informal education they will learn something outside the normal traditional classroom. Did you know that informal education gives more room for students to develop their own ideas, morals, values and ambitions and gain more knowledge? Research shows that in this century, one can become more successful in informal education than formal education, do you know why? In informal education one improves in advancing his/her skill and in the process gains more years of experience in certain work or area compared to formal education that deals more in theory work than practical side. Informal education is more interesting, relaxing and interactive, which makes one understand and gains the skills easily compared to formal which has set rule that must be followed to the latter. Lastly informal education gathering and collecting to information is much easier owing to the fact that there is internet where one can easily do research and come up with cognitive content. it just needs one eagerness of learning with a motive of better future. Lastly it gives more room for learners to practice, experiment what they have learnt, in the process they end up being great and mature in the field.
Through taking part in informal education, the youths can become more productive and end up making them busy hence unemployment -free nation will be formed.
Can the youths recognize problems and save them? Yes, they can, but the question here is how? By them recognizing their rights and freedoms for example if the youths knew that they have a right to be protected from harmful practices and exploitation, they have a right to access to employment, they have a right to get the opportunities presented and participate in political, social and economic activities in the country, then I believe that the youths will not remain the same, because by them knowing their rights they will be enlightened and at the same time empowered and trust me! They will be productive to the nation.
The youths can also solve problems around them by active networking, through networking one tends to share his experience and ideas with others regarding what is trending in the current market, networking also opens one’s insight on something, it also encourages someone if he/she was doing, for example, a project to continue and what to consider. The youths can also hold and host summits.
Summits makes one educated and nurtured, through training and holding seminars among themselves, by doing this the youths will have positive attitude towards changing their society and community at large. Being creative is another way youth can solve problems in their society. Activities like, graffiti, designing, drawing, art, crafts and photography keeps the youths engaged and busy makes the youths independent in life through earning their own money. Lastly, learning about local issues helps the youth identify what affects their community and work on them. The youths should learn on how to mitigate the challenges facing them to overcome the social, political, and economic challenges to attain the millennium development goals.
A strong nation is a nation that has healthy people especially the youths. Research shows that more than 2milllion youths are affected with HIV/AIDS age between 15-24 years and other sexually transmitted infections. Unprotected sex, sharing of syringe while injecting the drug e.g. Heroine leads to the spread of HIV/AIDS. Young people can mitigate this challenge by Abstaining, avoiding alcohol and drugs that make someone lose self-control and easily engage oneself to unsafe sex. Too much of alcohol also causes violence among people which can later cause premature death. It can also cause health problems which causes early death and health problems in future life. It is advisable for young people to go for HIV/AIDS tests and counseling because through testing one will know his/her status such that if one is positive, then ARVs will help and the number of mortality rate will reduce in a nation. Another way of overcoming this is by using contraceptives to avoid unprotected sex which most of the times leads to unplanned pregnancy among the youths. Raising awareness of health issues among the youths will make them enlightened and more educated.
Healthy diet and being physically fit are also important in any youth’s life. One can easily stay healthy by choosing what to take and not what to take. Being healthy is not something that happens overnight, it takes, patience, and sacrifice and determination. Healthy habits include: eating well, exercising and avoiding harmful substances that can hinder one’s health from thriving. To have a healthy diet one must include: vegetables, it’s recommended for someone to take plenty of them to avoid chronic illness and gain more nutrients which boosts one’s body. whole grains which helps in digestion, it controls weight gain, lowers blood sugar, regulates blood sugar which happens to be the main function and it lowers cholesterols, Dairy it can include (yoghurt, cheese and milk) and it should have reduced fat. Dairy has vitamin D, which makes one’s bones and teeth strong. Then one should avoid added salt and sugar before consuming the food or drink. Not forgetting water consumption which is very vital for one’s. It helps in removing waste, aids in digestion and it prevents dehydration hence the body becomes healthy and active. Healthy diet generally increases the energy level, improves immunity and lowers high cholesterol. By youths living healthy lives they will be avoiding diseases like obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack and even death and the nation will end up having strong youths in the nation. Let’s encourage the youths to lead a healthy life for brighter future.
Can the youths take charge of their lives? I personally believe YES. Engaging the youths by creating a room where they express their ideas, opinions, and challenges. This can easily be done by creating forums or rather organizations where the ‘youth talk’ takes place. By having this talk, the youths will feel free to share for example, why they take drugs, why they engage themselves with pre-maternal sex, why they engage themselves with violence and conflicts in the society, through being listened and understood then they can be given the right directions and guidance on how to overcome these menace, with well trained teachers and facilitators. They become free when they are given the amicable chance of explaining themselves, that is without harassing them or taking advantage of any kind.
Another greater way of engaging them is by equipping them with knowledge, skills and great experience, for example having a vocational training, carrying out informal learning, personal development discussion, media or engaging them with art and sports. This will make them feel wanted in the community hence end up doing their best. Additionally, engaging them with all these activities is not enough when they are not being monitored or evaluated, a survey or even interviews should be held in conversational manner with an aim of knowing if they are making any impacts or not.
Lastly the youths, lets direct our energies to something that will be beneficial to our future successful life, by identifying what we are good at and then put more effort in them.
Youth, we can do it! We have the power.
Edith Atieno Omondi
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