For a long time, the youth in Viwandani Ward of Naivasha Sub-County were largely disinterested in civic and democratic processes. Several reasons cited for their lack of participation included inadequate civic education on the importance of public participation, voter apathy attributed to the notion that the seasoned politicians did not want to give chances to the youth in the political space, and corruption in the political space such that only the financially able persons would have an undue advantage at participating in the political processes to the disadvantage of the youth.
“In the past, I perceived participation in any public engagement as a waste of time. I never knew that my contribution was necessary to bring the change I wanted to see for the youth in Viwandani Ward,” Simon Wakaba, the Chairperson of Mtaani Konnect-a youth group in Viwandani.
On 21st March 2023, Midrift Hurinet through the support of USAID & Act! held a civic education forum for the youth from Viwandani and Lakeview Wards. Following the meeting, the youth from Viwandani Ward formed a Whatsapp Group (Viwandani Youth Platform), where they were sensitized on the importance of participating in the Public consultative forum scheduled for the 3rd and 4th April 2023, to prepare for the Financial Year 2023/2024 Budget Estimates.
Since most youths from Viwandani Ward were not in formally registered groups, they worked under the guidance and umbrella of Mtaani Konnect (a Youth Organisation in Naivasha) and drafted a memorandum which they presented to the Viwandani MCA during the Public Participation forum held on 4th April 2023.
Their proposals included the youth being assigned the caretaker and management role of the Viwandani Social Hall so that the youth could get a ready venue to showcase their different artworks and creative talents. Other proposals included the County Government allocating funds to install electricity in and around the Social Hall and construction of a perimeter wall to enhance security, clearing the accrued water and internet bills, and equipping the social hall with a public address system.
The outcome of these proposals once implemented, will be an increase in the number of youths utilizing the social hall to harness their creative talents, thus leading to a decrease in recorded crimes among the youth in the community.
After the session, a participant who is a music artist noted that; “….we now see the importance of the public participation process. The presented memorandum will help us to make follow-ups with the MCA. For us to succeed, we must consistently follow up to ensure that our proposals are implemented.”
Mtaani Konnect has pledged to make follow-ups on the presented memorandum to ensure that it is fully implemented.