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  • Member of Parliament, Taveta, Hon. John Bwire
  • Representatives from the County Administration
  • Representatives from the local Administration
  • Timbila Catholic Church
  • COVID -19 Recovery Project Co-Ordinator, Mr. Cornelius Mnene
  • Development partners/Friends of the Award
  • Graduands
  • Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to be participating in this auspicious occasion!

I bring greetings from the Board of the President’s Award – Kenya led by Fr. (Dr.) Dominic Wamugunda and the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation.

The COVID-19 pandemic had economic and social impacts that disrupted all aspects of our lives. For young people, and especially for vulnerable youth, the COVID-19 crisis posed considerable risks in Education, employability as well as mental health. Young people and future generations continue to shoulder much of the long-term socio-economic consequences of the crisis.

However, the disruption in their access to education and employment opportunities as a result of economic downturn put the young generation on a much more volatile trajectory in finding and maintaining quality lives.

As a result, the Global Youth Mobilization (GYM) an initiative of young people and voluntary organizations backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) took action to improve the lives of young people now and in the post-COVID-19 world.

The Big 6 Youth Organizations consisting of (The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation, World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), World Alliance of Young Men’s Christian Associations (YMCA), Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) came together around GYM initiative to shine a spotlight on young people whose lives were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The need to tackle a global crisis in education that worsened since the pandemic, rising unemployment, a mental health crisis, and increased domestic and gender-based violence, in particular for young women and girls, and for under-represented and marginalized communities gave rise to the COVID – 19 Recovery project and Taveta sub-county in Kenya became a recipient of a global initiative.

PA-K would like to thank Mr. Cornelius Mnene a retired Principal and an Award Holder for leading the implementation of the covid-19 recovery project in Kenya to provide opportunities to alleviate the negative impact of the pandemic on young people and their communities through improving livelihoods.

The project opened its doors to the community in September 2021, with the help of Volunteer Trainers and community Leaders. It is scheduled to be operation until its termination, after which it is anticipated that with the support of community, the Centre will continue its operations as learning and recreational centre for the young people of this community.

The project is designed to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic on young people and empower them to support their communities to overcome the challenges caused by the disruption. As such the Centre offers skilled based courses which are relevant to the market needs of the area. Such as tailoring, baking and traditional food making, hair dressing beauty and Barber, soap and bead making.

Ladies and gentlemen,

A majority of the 377 graduands from diverse backgrounds particularly the marginalized, at risk and adversly affected by the pandemic have embarked on their career paths in ensuring sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their communities. 75% of the trainees are young mothers who were unable to continue schooling after conceiving.

The centre is open to PA-K participants interested in participating in the various aspects of the project activities, in line with their programme goals. The participants have been exposed to different support service opportunities offered by the Government.

For example, exposure workshops have been facilitated by representatives from various Government ministries to educate young people on available opportunities for youngpursue on completion of their skills training.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Uwezo fund, State department for social protection – Community Capacity, Support and Development Division, Youth Department – ICT and County Commission Sub-county office for the support they have given our young people in realizing their full potential.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In the Award, PA-K believes that not all learning happens in the classroom and therefore our operations are in terms of guiding institutions on how they can structure their free time such that as much as learning happens in the classroom, the learning that happens outside the classroom is intentional therefore we provide a framework. We work with young people and take them through processes that make them ready for life.

This set of framework encourage young people to explore new frontiers, push their limits, and learn from both their successes and their mistakes. Through doing their Award therefore, young people can be empowered with not just the confidence but the desire to create meaningful change; to find their purpose, passion and place in the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is important to note that even as the Big 6 focussed on alleviating the negative consequences of the pandemic on young people, they have each committed to deliver quality non-formal education and learning programmes.

In a position paper signed by the Big 6, there is urgent need for increasing the recognition of non-formal education and its learning outcomes as well as increased investment in providing educational opportunities that go beyond the formal education system and underscores the importance of non-formal education and learning to tackle the global education crisis.

This is particularly crucial to achieve gender equality. Worldwide, 132 million girls are out of school and girls face many barriers to accessing the education they need to take the lead in their lives

Access to diverse and accessible learning opportunities is critical for young people to thrive in a fast-changing world. Non-formal education, best suited to help young people acquire life skills, values, and resilience to social changes, is often underestimated. We need to recognize the benefits of non-formal education to enable young people and communities to reach their full potential.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Finally, I wish to commend and recognize the efforts by Timbila Catholic Church, the local authorities and the project coordinator Mr. Mnene in ensuring successful operation of the project. It is equally very encouraging to witness the efforts you have taken in playing a critical role in promoting training for both men and women. You have mentored the trainees to define their goals.

I also wish to congratulate the graduands. Connect with and build more resilient communities.

PA-K is proud to see how the GYM has empowered young people of Timbila location to apply the skills and values they have gained and identified ways of bettering themselves and their communities.

You have put the country on the World map! You are WorldReady! Go for it!


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