Dillons Hosts The First Ever Youth Congress In Kiambu On Drug Abuse Prevention And Economic Empowerment.

Johnstone Ndegwa presenting some game kits to youth clubs in Ngoliba Ward during the youth convention on prevention of drug and substance abuse at Dillons Highway Motel.
Over 2,000 youth on Friday gathered at Dillons Highway Motel for the first ever youth congress in Kiambu County geared towards fighting unemployment and drug and substance abuse.

The convention that had gathered young men and women from across Ngoliba Ward in Thika East Sub-County addressed many issues that affected the Kenyan youth, how stakeholders could facilitate action plans and identify strategies that would empower youth leaders in drug prevention campaigns.

Participants, who included counsellors, youth mentors and county leaders spoke to the youth on how to develop personal and life skills including communication, self-esteem, assertion and decision-making, as well as enhancing their leadership skills on how to relate and deal with the menace.

“Youth voices play a very important role in national development, not only through their injection of fresh ideas, but also in empowering them into the stewardship of tomorrow’s new world order. Our young people are today overly misunderstood and neglected to a point of despair. They are a particularly vulnerable at-risk population whose concerns are never given the attention they deserve,” explained Johnstone Ndegwa who hosted the convention.

It is for this reason that Ndegwa liaised with other stakeholders to host this convention to create a medium where youth in the area could share their common concerns, formulate action plans and homegrown solutions to their own challenges.

“One thing has been certain, our youth have been a dejected lot as no one seems to listen to their cries. I would like to thank the department of liquor and Substance abuse in Kiambu County for honouring our invite and for their contribution towards this convention. The time has come when the youth got to be full participants in the running of the affairs affecting them and more so in governance,” said Ndegwa.

Ndegwa reckoned that the challenges facing the youth could only be tackled if leaders came together and set up programmes to empower them economically.

“Majority of our youth, especially those who have successfully completed school, are living in denial after missing out on opportunities due to lack of proper guidance. Nobody understands them this eventually leads them into drug abuse,” he said.

While addressing the same gathering, Kiambu Governor William Kabogo said that he had been thoroughly impressed by what he witnessed in the workshop. To accommodate the youth quitting alcoholism and drug abuse, the governor pledged Ksh. 1 million and 20 motorbikes to boost investment and income generating activities for the youth in Ngoliba Ward.
Some of the participants at the convention that had brought together over 2000 youth from Ngoliba Ward.

“My government will, through our Biashara Fund, allocate Ksh. 1 million to boost investment and income generating activities to the youth of Ngoliba Ward. I also instruct my Ward Admin to ensure that 20 bikes are issued to these youth before 15th of April (2017),” said Kabogo.

Michael Kang’ethe Gachanja, who is Kiambu’s Director of Alcoholic Drinks Control, admitted that the timing of this workshop was perfect considering the fact that the country was now in an electioneering mood with some politicians hell-bent in misusing the youth to cause chaos. He added that his department was doing the best it could to ensure that no underage children accessed alcoholic drinks or drugs.

“We are doing everything possible to fight both the supply and demand for drug abuse amongst our people. Our priority now is to prevent the abuse as its cure has proven very expensive and challenging. It is also good to point out that our youth have resulted to miraa and bhang abuse after our successful fight against illicit brews. The dangers brought about by bhang and miraa are worse and we need to come up with stringent measures to curb the same,” said Kang’ethe.

Youth leader Ernest Kilonzo Tito was all praises for the facilitators and organisers of this fete. He reckoned that they had learnt a lot from the workshop.

“Our only appeal to the organisers and the County Government of Kiambu is to support the youth in this area in income generating activities as this would keep them away from drug abuse. We have been facing myriads of challenges as youth because once we complete school, we find no place to go. 

We need a polytechnic in Ngoliba to help our youth gain skills that will assist them in accessing employment as well as creating their own,” said Kilonzo.

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Meanwhile, Johnstone Ndegwa, who is also aspiring to be Ngoliba Ward MCA, has expressed some fears that very many members will be locked out of the upcoming Jubilee nominations due to the lack of party smartcards.

“The Jubilee leadership must put their house in order especially in relation to the registration of new members. Some of these cards are not also getting activated, thereby failing to achieve their intended purpose. Another great challenge is that these cards are unavailable in the party headquarters regardless of the fact that we are holding the primaries next month,” lamented Ndegwa.

He also expressed fears that if the IEBC will not adjudicate in the process, rogue politicians will most likely apply clandestine tactics to rig themselves into being nominated.

“Any unfairness in these primaries will definitely affect the turnout of voters during the General Elections in August due to voter apathy. There are also people going round claiming to be in possession of the Jubilee nomination certificates. Otherwise, we are ready to fight it out to the end as we cannot afford to succumb to sheer intimidation.”  
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