NGO launches drive to keep city youth away from crime

Saturday January 6 2018

Mr Denis Wendo

Mr Denis Wendo, founder and director of Integrated Development Network (IDN) which has launched a programme aimed at keeping the youth in Nairobi out of crime. PHOTO | PAUL LETIWA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PAUL LETIWA
More by this Author

A city-based non-governmental organisation has embarked on a programme aimed at preventing the youth from joining gangs and terror groups by helping them engage in social activities.

The Peace and Conflict Prevention and Opportunities for Youth in Kenya drive focuses on school dropouts and those without any education, the most vulnerable for gang recruitment.

Mr Denis Wendo, founder and director of Integrated Development Network (IDN), a non-profit organisation founded after the 2007/2008 post-election violence, said they are also coming up with ways of taking the teenagers off the streets from where they are most likely to join criminal groups.

"In most of our programmes we approach the youth, sit down with them and engage in dialogue. They [often cite] many challenges,” Mr Wendo told Nation.

Last year police named the Gaza gang, which operates in Kayole, Superpower in Eastleigh and 40 Brothers, based in Eastlands, as the most dangerous gangs in the city.

UNEMPLOYED YOUTH

Records shows that there are approximately five million youth who are unemployed in Kenya.

Last year, the government outlawed 89 gangs in Kenya.

These startling figure caught the attention of the National Security Council and politicians at the highest level.

Mr Wendo says IDN is collaborating with well-wishers to help youth in Nairobi and other areas in the city to engage in activities like general cleaning, opening of drainage systems and participate in sports activities like soccer to avoid engaging in crime.

"We mostly use popular musicians like Kevin Wyre who is our peace ambassador and comedians when doing roadshows to spread messages of peace. The youth in these areas love them and connect with them easily," he added.

INTER-SLUM MEETINGS

The NGO also has a programme that focuses on inter-slum youth meetings to curb drug and substance abuse, muggings and robbery among other criminal activities in parts of Nairobi.

“We work closely with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission to spread peace messages through different initiatives. We mapped Nairobi especially the areas affected by last year’s election chaos and took our peace caravans in those areas,” he added.

A survey commissioned by IDN and conducted by Infotrak Research and Consulting three months to the elections mentioned Kawangware, Kibera, Kariobangi, Kayole, Baba Dogo, Mathare, Korogocho, Huruma and Dandora as the most affected areas.

“Our survey shows that most of the youth are joining the gangs through peer pressure and to earn a living,” Mr Wendo said.