County-Youth Collaboration in Kwale
Kwale County Government has been working to build collaboration, cohesion and understanding between local government and youth.
Between November 2019 to February 2020, the Kwale County Forum on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, with the support of Young Cities, implemented a project in Kwale County aiming to build bridges between youth and the local government.
Working with youth, the County government identified that youth were not participating in political processes, especially around devolution. They wanted to understand why this was the case, and wanted to build the understanding and capacities of youth for civic engagement through training and dialogue.
The government conducted initial research to gauge the understanding among Kwale of the functions of governance and paths available for policy engagement. They used the findings to hold community, dialogue and sensitisation forums to ensure youth were aware that government wanted to engage with them and of the avenues they could choose to do so.
Identifying a Roadmap for Future Collaboration
The sessions involved youth and government representatives from all 4 sub-counties of Kwale: Matuga, Msambweni, Kinango and Lunga Lunga. They invited youth from ‘Neither in Employment, Education or Training’ (NEET) from communities to participate in those sessions.
The survey results that guided those sessions demonstrated clear challenges that the sessions needed to address: almost 80% of respondents felt that unemployment was the most significant hindrance to political participation. And less than half of respondents had never interacted with local government officials.
Kwale County government invited more than 500 youth to dialogue forums to help address these issues. They sent representatives from all the key and relevant bodies: members of the County Assembly, Ward Administrators, Area Chiefs, the County Department of Social Services and Community Development, as well as the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs.
Across 5 of these forums, and follow up plenary sessions, youth and government were able to identify a roadmap toward future collaboration. The project resulted in:
- Increased knowledge among target youth of the structures and functions of the County government.
- Enhanced awareness among youth of the importance of engaging at the community level, by leveraging platforms such as the community development forums.
- Improved understanding of youth needs among local leadership, particularly Ward Administrators and Area Chiefs.
The County government will be working closely with youth over the next two years to ensure the results are capitalised and acted upon.
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