How to curb unemployment among the Kenyan youth

Sunday August 02 2020
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Youths participate in the Unemployed March at Uhuru Park in Nairobi on October 9,2019. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By Allan Kiprotich Chesang

An estimated 800,000 Kenyan youth join the labour market each year. However, unemployment rate among the younger generation is estimated to be 35 per cent compared to the overall national unemployment rate of 10 per cent.

This figures are staggering, but there is hope. Everyone has a natural gift or talent at something. We also have the ability to learn a skill of trade. When you are caught between a rock and a hard place, you realise that we can still survive.

Ask yourself, what you are good at, what you can do to income. What is important is taking that first step. Let us stop thinking about achieving much at once. Instead, we should take one step at a time. 

A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Then a step at a time, we shall find that we are actually moving forward. It is so important to move forward always. If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl as long as you keep moving forward.

So have some alone time to think critically. What am I good at? Growing up, at school, what did your fellow students casually comment on your gifts? What did your teachers say you are naturally good at? Is it writing, drawing or sports? Is it music, drama? If you can’t think of anything, then let us open our minds to learning a new skill.

Today, there are a lot of things that we can do. Identify what you are good at, then market yourself. Don’t be shy, seek help.


Then before you know it, you will have moved from step zero to step one, then step two. If before you didn’t have a thousand shillings, now you can earn it. You will find the motivation to move you to the next step.  And as time moves by, you find that you actually have a running business that is earning you income.

Then you get capital to expand your trade. Do more on a larger scale. Then before you know it, the workload becomes too much for just one person, and you hire help. You just created employment.  

For those of us who are blessed with the capability to create employment, I urge you to give a chance to the Kenyan youth. Remember that many a folk strive for high ideals and your risk may just turn into a profitable venture.

Give a friend that job you need to be done. Give the youth a chance and they may surprise you with their talents. Let us support local traders rather than rushing to import goods. As consumers, let us buy from local manufacturers instead of going for the expensive imported products.

Let us support our own because we have the solution in our hands. We have to think outside the box and push ourselves beyond our comfort zones. The human brain can accommodate new ideas.

Allan Kiprotich Chesang is a commentator on socio-political issues