The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: How NYS Will Become 'Social Change Army'

THE government is launching a plan aimed at revamping the National Youth Service to accommodate more recruits and enhance their training.

The State says NYS has been mismanaged over the years and has thus failed to reach it full potential.

A document prepared by the Ministry of Devolution and Planning shows that one of the strategies is to increase the NYS recruitment from the current 2,500 youths per year to 21,780.

The plan involves having the 21,780 NYS graduates train a total of 227,670 youths in different skills in the 47 counties per year in a period of between four to six months.

"If NYS can reach the 227,670 in one year, the intention is to create the one million youth match in four years. This is a social transformation army, armed with skills and charged with the responsibility of transforming the other youths," the document states.

The government ays that once trained, the youths will be linked up to the Self Employment Programme Unit for start-up loans. The new NYS programme has set aside Sh1 billion for this unit to support those who graduate from it.

"During training, the youth will have to make a mandatory saving and SEPU will match the savings with some funds to enable them start up," the document states.

The government also plans to have the new recruits build 1,100 dams and pans each year as well as do mechanised and manual road construction at county level.

Some of the recruits will also be sent to the counties where they will be involved in revenue collection.

In Uasin Gishu, NYS collected revenue for the county and increased the collection from Sh500,000 to Sh2.7 million in two weeks.

The document also says that the recruits will take over traffic control in selected parts of the country and provide security for slum areas and in non-strategic government installations.

"NYS will have a security firm where Kenyans can hire NYS guards to protect them. The intention here is to make NYS the alternative to militia groups and vigilantes. But to also create a cadre of youths who can be used as agents of social transformation in Kenya," the document states.

The ministry's evaluation says the NYS potential has been squandered by mismanagement, corruption and incompetence. It says that some senior managers are school drop-outs and this makes it easy for them to be manipulated by politicians and cartels.

Former State House Comptroller Nelson Githinji is the new director general of the National Youth Service replacing Kiplimo Rugut.

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