15 September 2006
By Mobafa Baker, Pan-Commonwealth Youth Chair
Young people from the Kibera slums of Nairobi began the third instalment of the Global Youth Employment Summit (YES), by calling on their President, Cabinet ministers and MPs to honour their promise.
In an interesting poem created by the young people they called on their leaders to provide sustainable employment as a means of reducing the levels of poverty and joblessness experienced by young people. The poem so moved the audience that the young people received a standing ovation after they stated that "During campaigns, you tell us that you will abolish all taxes and give us white collar jobs, that you will make us prosper…all that is nonsense" yet they added "If you are wise enough to make a voting decision, then you are equally wise enough to hold a leadership position".
In an immediate response President Kibaki, who was the chief guest during the Opening Ceremony at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, told the delegates from 54 countries that his Government was concerned about unemployment among the youth who constituted the biggest group of Kenya's population. To address this problem, he said the Government had invested in human resource development through the introduction of free primary education to ensure every child goes to school. The Government was also expanding secondary and post-secondary institutions to equip Kenyan youth with relevant skills.
The opening ceremony also heard from several members of the Kenyan Government, Executive Director of YES as well as the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq.
Find out more about the YES campaign by visiting their website (http://www.yesweb.org/2006/).