The Graduating class of 2015,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to join you once again at this year’s pass-out parade, which marks the culmination of intensive training and re-socialization of the largest and most diverse batch of cadets yet.
I am informed that 10,736 young men and women from all parts of the country have benefitted from the revised training curriculum aimed at developing patriotic citizens of great social impact and vocational promise. I note with satisfaction that young people from severely underprivileged backgrounds have had the chance to overcome their challenging circumstances and claim their place in the nation-building project.
Those among you who live with disability have demonstrated once again that disability is not inability. You have shown the world that the only thing that stands between you and your dreams is access to opportunity and personal discipline and motivation.
The purpose of my government’s commitment to intensify, expand and enrich the training offered at the National youth Service is clear. We promised to absorb all our young people into development and economic activity.
We have pledged to ensure that our young people acquire the opportunity and capacity to assume civic duty and engage in transformative economic activity.
This is why we expanded the NYS intake five-fold, growing it from 4,000 youth to 20,000 youth every year.
They will benefit from a 5-point training programme aimed at aligning the personal development of the cadets with national sociopolitical and economic goals.
I note with satisfaction that the Service has made patriotism, solidarity and national service cardinal elements of its training ethos, together with vocational training and enterprise.
By welding these pillars of quality citizenship into one training programme, the Service meets my Government’s vision of empowering our youth to contribute significantly to enhancing national unity, elevating livelihoods and taking economic development a huge step ahead.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Already, the NYS has registered notable impact in our communities, enabling young people to connect directly and transformatively with Kenyans in need of services.
The empowerment projects in Kibera, Mathare, Mukuru kwa Njenga, Korogocho, Kiandutu and Nyalenda has enabled over 18,000 youth to obtain gainful employment.
All over the country, young people who were previously unengaged are generating, on average, 10,000 shillings every month. In the process, they have constructed over 200 water pans in arid and semi-arid areas.
Moreover, these noble young men and women have put up 96 ablution blocks, 3.1 kilometres of road and helped the Beyond Zero campaign to fabricate, equip and deliver 9 clinics.
Additionally, these young patriots have lit up high-density settlements with high-masts and constructed police posts to bolster security for residents and their property.
To ensure that this community empowerment initiative is sustained, the Service has subsidized grain milling in 9 posho mills, built 72 fish tanks populated with hundreds of rapidly maturing fish varieties. Additionally, 13,000 urban agricultural kits have been assembled to enable urban communities engage in food production.
Routes and paths have been cleared and lit, sewer lines connected to improve sanitation, accessibility and security. A Huduma Centre in Kibera is enabling residents to enjoy quick, convenient access to Government services.
Newly registered youth cooperative societies have already pooled 145 Million shillings. The funds will be used to engage lending institutions into lending bigger amounts to support youth enterprise.
These initiatives have greatly bolstered the comfort and security of high density settlements, supported economic activity, improved nutrition and enhanced the dignity of the residents and young people. The National Youth Service is paving the way and showing the many ways in which young people can make Kenya great.
We now have a good idea of the magnitude of transformation that the contribution of young men and women can yield.
Without a doubt, Kenya’s economic prospects have been improving by the day. We have passed the threshold and joined the league of middle income countries. Although we are at the lower band of this category, we are one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
Our promise is great. We will ascend the ranks rapidly and soon become a upper-tier, middle-income industrialized country in fulfillment of our Vision2030.
We are committed to do everything to ensure that this progress results in greater sharing all over the country. We want the opportunities accompanying our growth to reach every Kenyan wherever they live and work. We want our youth to be part of the transformation all the way; to share the labour and the harvest. This is why we have embarked on empowering the youth in every way possible.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Youth Enterprise Fund is playing its role. Through it, my Government has made available financing for youths engaged in film-making. Interested applicants have access to loans ranging from Ksh. 500,000 to Ksh. 25 million to cover pre-production, production and post-production costs. Kenyans are waiting to be thrilled, educated and informed by creative young people.
As I have mentioned earlier, there are many Government contracts that are now being serviced by young people all over the country. We are now fully implementing AGPO, which reserves 30% of the value of all government procurement to the youth.
Our youth are a major pillar of national transformation. My Government will maintain its commitment to actualize all the potential in our young people to change this country positively. I call on all young people to look towards the opportunities available and those being developed.
I urge young men and women to focus on the opportunities before them. No one should be barred from their chance at progress for any reason. No one is too poor, too disabled, too young or too marginalized to be a Kenyan.
Similarly, no circumstance should obstruct or hold back the youth from their opportunities. Speak out and reach out – to your MCA, MP, Governor, and every relevant department of my government – and ensure that you get all the help you need to move forward.
Let this country see what you can do for yourself, your family, the community and the Nation.
Because our youth are our security in a fast-changing world, they must rise up to take charge of their, and ultimately our, destiny. This can only happen if the youth embrace unity, integrity, patriotism and passion in all their undertakings. Kenya will become truly great when its young people exemplify our best attributes: perseverance, loyalty, consideration, selflessness, unity and solidarity.
To do this, the youth must reject divisive messages and destructive ideologies. The opportunities that we are perfecting are meant to enable you grow and mature, not to be perverted and derailed.
We want more young men and women to apply for loans. We want to change our challenge from looking for applicants into catering for all the applicants. This is your country and these are your opportunities. Use them wisely and make your mark.
Finally, I speak to the graduating cadets. The journey has been long. You have learnt a lot. The people of Kenya have invested a lot to make you role models and citizens of great impact. A lot is expected from you.
We expect you to be model youth, model citizens and model workers, business people and members of the community.
We expect our communities to be busier and safer because of you. We expect your example to inspire many more youth to join the NYS and to serve their country. You will be ambassadors of national unity and selfless dedication to the people.
You have to be ready for your critical role. You must be ready to help us strengthen our communities by applying the essential values of democracy and the rule of law. You must stand up for our freedom, integrity, human rights and socioeconomic transformation.
Today, you announce to all Kenyans that you are ready. Regardless of the magnitudes which will confront you, despite the difficulties and dangers that lie in your path, you must be ready to make Kenya strong, proud and forward-looking.
I congratulate you and wish you all the best, with the expectation that in a short while, you will be fully in action.
Thank you and may God bless you.