Factors influencing engagement of the youth in promoting positive behavioural change: a case of National Christian Youth Network in Nairobi county
This study examines the challenges the youth in Kenya face that lead them to engage in diversionary or what can be referred to as negative behaviour. Many initiatives have been started by the Government, the Non-governmental Organizations and other groups in an attempt to address these problems to the benefit of the youth. This research explored a number of these initiatives in order to determine the main factors that promote and influence the youth to engage in positive behavioural changes. The study focused on the youth affiliated to the National Christian Youth Network (NCYN), adults working with the NCYN as well as other youth and youth leaders in Nairobi churches. The study was based on responses of a sample of 286 respondents who included the youth and youth leaders. The main instrument for data collection was questionnaires. The research used qualitative and quantitative paradigms. Data was ana lysed and reported through descriptive statistics according to the objectives and research questions. The study results revealed that supportive and available parents played a major role in shaping the behaviours of the youths. One interesting outcome from the research was that the youth rated economic empowerment more highly than even training. Hence, the significance of economic empowerment implies that any planned initiatives have to include measures that allow the youth to develop skills that can generate some form of income. Otherwise, side-lining or keeping the youth on the periphery of activities will not enable the building or exploiting of their abilities or confidence for any positive transformation. The positive results for parental guidance signify the importance of the parents being available and taking up the responsibility of inculcating in their children progressive thinking, building optimism, and supporting and shaping the behaviour of the youth. Therefore, the role of parents, teachers, religious leaders and other leaders in creating an atmosphere where the youth feel comfortable to approach, consult with them and discuss their needs and challenges is critical. This will go a long way in inspiring, mentoring and designing activities to promote positive behaviour change. The relevance of available training opportunities and other youth activities suggests that youth organizations and other training institutions have to offer programs that impart skills, knowledge and create opportunities for the youth to utilize their time in positive character building activities.