We were left out in innovation centre launch, Isiolo youths say

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A few days after the highly publicised launch of Kenya School of Government (KSG) pioneer innovation center in Isiolo town, a section of youths claim they were not involved in its establishment. They have now disowned the project which is aimed at harnessing and honing talent.

The disgruntled youths complained that they were not involved in the planning process ahead of last Thursday’s launch which was graced by ICT and Youth CAS Nadia Abdalla and governors Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) and Alfred Mutua (Machakos) among other dignitaries.

Addressing journalists in Isiolo town on Sunday, the young people maintained that the Isiolo county government should have involved them, not only as the targeted beneficiaries, but also in the project’s decision making, planning and implementation for the envisioned gains to be realised.

Mr Mohammud Ahmed, who is among the first 50 youths who were facilitated by Mohamed Kuti’s administration for various courses at the Kenya School of Government in Embu, claimed that none of the graduates was invited to the event and that they learned of the launch on the material day.

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Criteria questioned

The youths questioned the criteria used in selecting attendees and complained that those who spoke on their behalf during the event were not their representatives.

“Those who were invited to the event to represent us are not our leaders and are way above the youth age bracket and cannot, therefore, speak on our behalf,” said Mr Ahmed.

The innovation centre was established through a partnership between the Isiolo county government, KSG and other development partners to identify and nurture youth talent for national development.

The residents insisted that for them to own the project, their members from across the county must be involved in the entire process.

Another youth, Ms Felicity Mwendwa, said they will not stop complaining about the “unfairness” until the matter is resolved.

“We want to see youths benefit and not cronies of the county government. We will not stop speaking against the unfairness,” she said.

Selection of beneficiaries

The youths said they fear the entire process of selection of beneficiaries will be flawed.

Many youths in the county are threatened with depression for lack of jobs and they could easily get lured into joining terror groups to earn a living. But if the centre’s potential is fully utilised, this will make them fully engaged and keep them informed about available government opportunities that they can take advantage of.

The centre is expected to be a game changer for youths in the region largely affected by radicalisation, drug and substance abuse which threaten their productivity, adversely affecting the local economy.

During the launch, Kenya Film and Classification Board CEO Ezekiel Mutua said selection of the beneficiaries will be based on talent and not academic qualifications.

The trainees will, after selection, undergo a six-month free online learning and three months of practical classes before getting certificates which they will use to apply for various jobs.

Amid the youth’s concerns over unfair engagement, Governor Kuti said that the selection process, to be done by the end of the year, will be fair and transparent and that the beneficiaries will be picked from all the 10 wards in Isiolo.

The county boss said his administration will continue engaging youths productively to minimise negative energy such as radicalisation and drug abuse besides reducing unemployment.

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