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Clear mandate on youth mainstreaming as a strategy for change following CHOGM

12 June 2018

Commonwealth Secretariat’s Head of Social Policy Layne Robinson reiterated the agreements on youth mainstreaming outlined in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Communiqué during the opening of the Youth Mainstreaming Strategy Consultation in Nairobi this June.

The three-day event, hosted at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi saw more than 60 stakeholders - young people, government and non-governmental players and observer participants from Tanzania and Uganda - deliberating and agreeing on a vision mission and strategies for youth mainstreaming, marking a significant new step in commitments to ensure youth priorities are met in all of government planning.

There was a clear mandate on youth mainstreaming provided by Heads at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in April 2018 and Kenya has made commitments to engaging with the Commonwealth Secretariat in the development, and eventual implementation of a comprehensive youth mainstreaming strategy. “Youth mainstreaming is a strategy for change; let us commit to youth empowerment and youth development from this point forward” said Layne Robinson.

Safina Kwekwe Tsungu Kenya’s Principal Secretary, Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs said in her opening address that “youth mainstreaming should be viewed as a comprehensive approach for achieving equal opportunities for young men and women. We anticipate that this workshop will guide us to a youth mainstreaming strategy that leads to actionable steps on programming and budgeting for youth in Kenya”.

The consultation in Kenya was to increase understanding and consensus on the principles, approaches and outcomes of youth-centric national planning, and to enhance participant capacities in the use of tools and techniques of analysis, planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation for youth mainstreaming through group workshops and presentations.

Participants reported that the workshop process was seen as significant in enhancing their understanding around youth empowerment and cross sectoral planning.  Margaret Maina, the Senior Youth Development Officer for the Kenyan Directorate of Youth Affairs said of the workshop that “all of the important issues were brought into the agenda in the best way possible. The workshop provided an opportunity to dissect them clearly; it set in place the motion towards comprehensive youth mainstreaming".

The youth mainstreaming strategy framework will be finalised and produced to the Directorate of Youth of the Ministry of Public Service Youth and Gender Affairs within the next few months by the Commonwealth and consultants. The Consultation was informed from earlier planning meetings in Kenya in April, where the Commonwealth Secretariat met with youth groups from Machakos and Kajiado counties.

Layne Robinson said that while youth polices of East Africa all mention youth mainstreaming – this workshop moved forward in bringing out the tools and knowledge to implement youth mainstreaming. “There is a need for vertical policy coherence to integrate young people at all stages of development planning, and the Commonwealth Secretariat welcomes the progress and commitments made by Kenya in this”.

The workshop took place in parallel to the youth policy review process in Kenya. The implemented youth mainstreaming strategies within selected sectors of government will support the overall implementation of the youth policy in Kenya.