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“Unemployment Plagues Kenyan Youth: Struggles and Resilience Amidst Job Hunt”

By Fridah Okachi

In Kenya, the youth population is estimated to be 13,777,600, which accounts for 29 percent of the total population. Disturbingly, recent data from the 2019 census reveals that 38.9 percent of the youth population is unemployed, equating to approximately 5 million young individuals actively seeking job opportunities.

Among those affected is Linus Gitanga, a 26-year-old professional chef, who finds himself among the 38.9 percent of unemployed youths in the country. Gitanga shared his story, expressing his distress over the situation. He narrated how he lost his previous job when Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja assumed office.

“I used to work in a bar and restaurant in Kileleshwa. Unfortunately, some of my jealous colleagues started spreading false rumors about me using drugs. Look at me, do I seem like someone who uses drugs?” Gitanga paused, questioning the accusations made against him. “Do I appear abnormal to you? Regardless, fate had its way, and I was eventually fired. Months later, when the governor took office, he enforced the closure of bars and restaurants in residential areas, sealing the end of my employment.”

Gitanga, a resident of Gatina ward in Dagoretti North constituency, currently relies on sporadic event opportunities to sustain himself, covering rent and purchasing essential food items.

I encountered Jane Moraa, a mother of three, just a few hundred meters away. She was engrossed in grading a box of tomatoes worth Kshs. 9000. Moraa shared her struggles in the face of the soaring cost of living. After five years of fruitless job hunting, she decided to start a business in the area to support herself and her family.

“I hold college qualifications. I spent five years tirelessly searching for a job. But what I realized is that in this country, you need connections or someone to guide you. Those of us from poor backgrounds suffer even to meet basic needs,” Moraa explained.

Moraa added that the high cost of living made it challenging for her to provide three meals a day for her family and pay for her children’s education. Additionally, she expressed concerns about her chances of securing a job at the county level. Despite applying for the few positions announced by the Nairobi County government, Moraa has yet to receive any feedback or be shortlisted for an interview.

“We are still waiting for the 2023/2024 budget to be announced so that I can enroll these young people in technical institutions. I also encourage the youth to form groups that will enable them to access loans for their businesses. I’m doing my best to identify organizations that can provide microloans to them,” said Kennedy Swaka, the Gatina MCA.

Kennedy Swaka is actively advocating for youth in Dagoretti North to pursue entrepreneurship as a means of generating income. He also urges young people to consider joining technical institutions to enhance their future prospects.

Kamadi Amata
I am a digital content creator with niche in Health, politics, and Human Interest Features.

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