Youth’s perceptions on the influence of youth empowerment in promoting sustainable peace in Kikuyu sub county, Kiambu county, Kenya
Youth empowerment is a strategy to deal with youth issues such as youth unemployment which negatively impact on the developing countries. Empowerment of the youth through financial support, education and skills would enable the youth get employed hence be independent and improve their living standards. High population growth of the youth is a global challenge and just like many African countries, Kenya has a disproportionate large population of young people who are facing a myriad of challenges which include unemployment, drug abuse, exclusion from active participation in the society and poverty. This trend is a threat to social cohesion and political stability as the idle and disenfranchised youth are easily manipulated by political elites for their own selfish interests, engage in crimes or are recruited into illegal groups. Empowerment of the youth would therefore prove to be successful only by considering the forces that entice the youth to crimes. The study explores the influence of youth empowerment on promotion of sustainable peace in Kikuyu Sub County. The objectives of the study includes: to assess youth’s perceptions on the influence of youth financial empowerment in promoting sustainable peace, to establish youth’s perceptions on the influence of youth education for empowerment in promoting sustainable peace and to determine youth’s perceptions on the influence of youth acquisition of practical skills in promoting sustainable peace in Kikuyu Sub County. The study used descriptive research design and targeted 39,873 youth between the age of 18 to 24 with a sample size of 380 and the two officers in- charge of the youth affairs in the Sub County. The study used stratified proportionate random sampling method while data was collected using a questionnaire for the youth and an interview schedule for officers in-charge of youth affairs. Data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics with the help of a statistical package for social science (SPSS) version 15.0 for windows. The study established that majority of the respondents were unemployment: an indication that they are in dire need of empowerment due to lack of quality education and skills for employment either formally or informally. Lack of funds was also a hindrance for youth self- enterprise and upward mobility. Majority of the youth had just basic education and skills which did not match the needs of the job market hence were unemployed and depended on others for basic needs. This contributes to their vulnerability to exploitation, recruitment in illegal groups and crimes that undermines security and peace in Kikuyu Sub County. Education was still not affordable to the vulnerable youth despite introduction of free education. The study therefore recommends the following; the Ministry of Education reforms the education system and training to make it relevant to the job market by integrating ICT skills and entrepreneurial skills. The government should also ensure education is affordable to the vulnerable youth by allocating more funds for bursaries. Vocational institutions should be re-opened and be well equipped with modern equipments by the government to offer quality training to the youth which would translate to their employability and engagement in productive economic activities.