Population and Age Structure
Kenya’s population is wide based and skewed towards children and young people; those below 25 years are 66% of the population”1 Ages 10 – 24 constitute about 36% and when extended to 30 years, about 40%.
Although the number of Std. 8 leavers proceeding to secondary increases yearly, more than half of primary school leavers do not gain places in secondary school or any other gainful engagement.
Key Social Economic Indicators: The grim reality
Poverty and its effects
Poverty remains a major impediment to fulfillment of basic needs of Kenyans especially women and children. On the other hand, the high incidence of poverty has greatly undermined the government’s ability to address the pressing needs in such critical sectors as primary health care, nutrition, and basic education
Youth are adversely affected by the increasing incidence of poverty, which limits their access to social services such as basic education, health, water and sanitation. Females are disproportionately affected. Young people constitute a major potential resource for Kenya’s economic development … Because many of the decisions people make in adolescence and youth influence them for the rest of their lives, it is imperative that people in these age groups be supported to make responsible life choices.
In view of these grim consequences from people living in poverty, such as crippling diseases, it is a source of great encouragement that positively oriented and equipped youth can create opportunities to get themselves and their communities out of poverty. This potential in youth is one of the factors that spur UZIMA in its work with youth.
Youth as Leaders
In spite of this difficult social environment, we have noted that once the thick blanket of hopelessness is thinned, youth leadership emerges. Youth are not only leaders of tomorrow. They are the leaders of today in:
- In promoting peace and justice through fair-play without attention to tribe or race and in conflict resolution and management
- Open to finding new solutions to old problems to better their lives and those of others
- Capable of analyzing and standing up to bad governance and corruption
- Re-establishing an environment of compassion
- As engines that create opportunities for wealth creation out of youth
- Optimism and channeling energy to good use
Download the full UZIMA Foundation Strategic Plan 2006-2010 here [PDF 4.5 mb]