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The current socio-economic conditions in Kenya blocks the progress of the Kenyan youth. I’m a strong  believer that problems relating to young people should be attacked at their roots. Such effort should aim to inform, educate and orient youth so that they can better face their lives. These young men and women comprises about 45 percent of the general population in many African nations Kenya included and have before them about 40 years of work life. A worthy resource to tap into don’t you think? Unfortunately,in Africa abundance of resources only equates to nothing less to disgrace.


My teen age came at a critical time; a time during which my beloved country Kenya was going through a lot. An economic downturn, political unrest, highest levels of unemployment (especially among the youth) heightened poverty levels, unbearable national debt, rampant corruption,terrorism and extremism at it’s peak. Myriad hardships that were not in any form restricted to any one ethnic or religious cohort. Giving up in such a world was part and parcel of the equation if not the equation itself. Life always became unbearable more so upon graduation only to find a job market saturated with similar qualifications having spent all your years fighting your way to gain the credentials. In the same way as a result, most youth have no much of an idea as of their responsibility in the society and have nothing whatsoever to offer to this society. They are not sure if that they are decision-makers and contributors to the growth and advancement of their society. Despite their high academic credentials and great potential, they are yet to comprehend their position in the society. The society needs them, it’s indeed ready for them, it’s indeed ready for them, but the youth aren’t ready to engage it because they are unsure about whether they have this capacity.


This alone could almost make anyone justify Donald Trump’s sentiments of Africa being a ‘shit hole’, which I greatly object. Africa is great and it has great people who are satisfied with nonperformance. Anyway pointing blame fingers will never save what is at stake here. We can only win this battle by synergism this is not the time for separation and blame games. I therefore decided to write this article as a wake-up call to all young people in Kenya. The time is now, you don’t have to wait until you know who you are to get started, just get into action right now.


Ever had the saying,”you either control your destiny or your destiny will control you.”Well, in his superb book Steal like an artist Austine Kleon puts it very clearly,If I’d waited to know who I was or what        I was about before I started “being creative,” well, I’d still be sitting around  trying to figure myself out instead of making things. This is exactly what is ailing the youth a sidelined youthful life. In my experience, it’s in    the act of making things and doing our work         that we figure out who we are. A lot of these young people don’t even realize that they have been sidelined in their own lives. They don’t realize that you don’t have to wait until you know who you are to get started.


During one of the Teestep in-college career fair I addressed a group of students and in between my address one of the students cut me short and asked me, “If as you say each and every one of us has a destiny and above everything else we are all destined for greatness then, why is it that there is only a handful successful people?” In Kenya with only a negligible portion of the population falling within the ‘wealthy bracket’ and the rest languishing in poverty answering such a question posed by an undergraduate will need you to take caution not to end up feeding your addressee with some feel-good mumbo-jumbo. I knew this and so I didn’t make that mistake, I responded by first making them understand that success has divergent meaning to different groups of people. A lot of wealth may be one’s measure of success but ordinarily stunning health could be another’s definition of success. To some among them graduating could mean success, to some graduating with good grades is their success, but to others landing a job upon graduation is their success. Having put them into perspective by countering the notion held by many that wealth means success I now answered the question by saying, ‘the only reason people considered to be successful exist is because they did what needed to be done at the right time and in the right way.’ It’s not like they knew what needed to be done, nobody does they just found victory while in an action. They possibly could not even see anything past the idea they had but they couldn’t as well stand by and watch things unfold. They aspired to be the force behind the happenings and went for it.


To the young people things are never really as they seem until you get involved. How many times have you admired doing something great only to feel unready to put on an equal measure of effort for the moment and promise to revisit later? Go out there make great things happen. Nothing is guaranteed in life and if only we knew this earlier we would get started a little sooner. So does this mean now that I’m a little old that I can’t control the direction of my life? Hell no! Your past is gone, tomorrow is far beyond our ascertainment but we all have our earliest moment which is now. We all have our inbuilt abilities use them now not tomorrow not the day after. The good thing is, down here there is always something for each one of us the problem is until we try each one of them nobody knows for sure what he is purposed to achieve. The best journalists did not just wake up and found themselves airing a big show neither did the most outstanding managers find themselves on top of the ladder of a fortune 500 company out of sheer luck. Probably they even tried barbering, drawing, politicking, singing and all sought of things. The point is by doing they realized where their strength laid, this way they were more prepared to face just anything on their way of succeeding.


The problem with by-standing is that you watch people succeed in what you knew very well you would have done it even better than them. You feel weak and just let life happen. Either way with or without you life will still take place but your gap can never be filled. At this juncture I wouldn’t less agree with Zig Ziglar when he wrote, you are the only person on earth who can use your ability. And your ability is just another solution to the problems of mankind. There is always a thing to be done about every situation but nobody does it better than you.  You’ve got to rise up and believe in the greatness that resides inside you, unleash it and you will never again be sidelined in your own life. You will be a dream come true. The earlier you get involved the better you learn the ground rules. Just get into it, sit tight and ride your dreams by the horns. When chasing your dreams stay as fierce as the wind.


Githuto Mutahiis the Managing Partner and a Senior Human Resources consultant at Teestep Kenya Limited(www.teestep.co.ke). A leading human resource company based in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, that offers an array of HR service ranging from HR consultancy, Recruitment and staffing, Payroll services, Temporary staffing, Interview training, CV writing among others.

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