25 September 2017

Kenya: Drive Launched to Keep Youth Away From Crime

The Kenya Red Cross has embarked on a programme aimed at preventing the youth from joining gangs and terror groups by helping them get jobs.

The "Conflict Prevention, Peace and Economic Opportunities for Youth in Kenya" drive focuses on school dropouts and those without any education, the most vulnerable for gang recruitment.

In Kenya, approximately five million youth are unemployed.

Criminal groups in the Coast region such as Wakali Wao and Gaza Boys tend to recruit the youth.


On December 2016, 89 gangs in Kenya -- including 42 Brothers, Wakali Kwanza and Islamic State -- were outlawed.

These startling figure caught the attention of politicians at the highest level.

Mr Mohammed Rajab, the Kenya Red Cross county coordinator for Mombasa, said President Uhuru Kenyatta approached the organisation to find the underlying factors and come up with ways of taking the teenagers off the streets.

"We decided to approach the youth, sit down with them and engage in dialogue. They cited many challenges," Mr Rajab told the Nation.


Unemployment was the major factor.

"They are joining the gangs so that they can earn a living," Mr Rajab said.

The Kenya Red Cross then applied for a European Union grant to carry out its project, and was given an equivalent of Sh669,098,468 over four years.

The funds will be used in working with a total of 2,500 youth in the five coastal counties -- Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu -- as well as Garissa, Wajir and Mandera in northeastern Kenya.


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