Actualizing Dreams

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Susan Mwongera

Chif Executive Officer


Like most profound acts, the dream began with something simple. Two people kept a paper and a pen near their bed and from time to time shared in bits the simple words and desires. In 1996 the two invited five more to share their desire. They were all prepared to write, draw or jot notes about what they had seen or experienced as soon after they woke up. In some instance they experienced a kind of half-awake, half-asleep state but would state it anyway when they first woke up, so much the better. They took advantage of it!

In interpreting the dream, they asked questions and provided the answer themselves. In some instances they allowed their imagination to guide, not their intellect. Usually, the first thing that came to their mind was the most valuable. They gave birth to Youth Agenda a national Youth Organization in Kenya.

  • In 2010, we documented the journey and impact of Youth Agenda’s work in a publication titled We Dared to Dream, A Reflection of Youth Agenda 1996-2009. Youth Agenda( YAA) has come a long way, with many tracing its history to the first National Youth Convention held at Limuru Conference Centre on 7th to 11th March 1997. At its inception, many young people faced serious challenges in terms of social, economic and political opportunities. YAA’s intervention attempted to reverse this anomaly of a generation confined to being foot soldiers implementing plans that they would not influence. It was in this context that YAA provided platforms specifically designed to be spark –plugs to set in motion a process that would catapult the youth of Kenya from the peripheries of political and policy realms to a more influential, dignified and rightful position in the society. The youth had noted that by design and default the sector had been relegated to the background in crucial formulation and decision- making processes with regards to matters that affect them such as the Constitutional Review Process, Education System, Employment, Economic Empowerment and Leadership.
  • By 2013, Youth Agenda had experienced a metamorphosis. This was however made possible through various interventions ranging from student debates in public and private universities, profiling of youth leaders, promoting youth cohesion in high schoo50yr impactls through clubs, facilitating intergenerational dialogues, monitoring petty corruption using SMS Web Interface, providing civic and voter education, mobilizing citizens to vote for young women, rallying an affirmative action within affirmative action campaign country wide, operationalising Kenya’s National Youth Council, facilitating a quiz nights to create youth awareness on Kenya’s Vision 2013, influencing the 2013-2017 Vision 2030, Medium Term Plan, researching and declaring Youth Unemployment a National Disaster, producing twenty (20) resource materials on youth among other interventions. Details in our Cocoon to Butterfly, Real Metamorphosis Youth Agenda Impact Report 2010-3013
  • In 2014, the journey continued. Youth Agenda was keen on ensuring that the many elected leaders in the history of Kenya, remain focused, accountable in delivering Kenyas youth agendas including tackling the national disaster “ youth unemployment”. Towards this, the Kenya Young Parliamentarian Association was revived and a new strategic plan developed, elected and nominated young women were provided with technical support to deliver as legislators, Peer Accountability Forums convened and a Youth Situational Analysis 2014 released . More strategically YAA in partnership with the Ministry of Devolution and Planning convened a joint conference between National Government and County Executives in charge of Youth Affair. The objective was to deliberate on the how to mainstream youth agenda and promote a coordinated approach at the county and national level. Details in our 2014 Annual Report
  • In 2015, our journey to mainstream youth agenda at the County and National Level continues. We are currently influencing a Youth Affirmative Action Framework ( Legislative and Policy) to operationalise article 55b and article 100 of the Kenyan Constitution and similarly monitoring youth access to economic opportunities. Making the Youth Factor Count continues to be our mission