President Uhuru Kenyatta today at State House, Nairobi, launched President’s Award Scheme five-year strategic plan. This is a self-development program that is open to young people across the country and equips them with life skills and ethical values
The 2016-2020 Plan focuses on enhancing the scheme’s reach, relevance, visibility, structure and sustainability to promote youth and national development goals in line with the country’s Vision 2030 and the Constitution.
The launch of the Strategic Plan coincided with this year’s Kenya Gold Award presentation where 1073 young people – including for the first time 14 young women from Lang’ata Prison – received certificates for their sterling service to the community.
Speaking at the event, President Kenyatta affirmed the Government’s commitment to empowering the youth to cope with the challenges of modern life.
“It is becoming increasingly important that young people are equipped with cutting-edge academic and non-formal education, so that they are able to engage competently with the challenges that they may encounter anywhere in the world,” said the President.
As part of the Government support to the youth, women and people with disability, 30% of all public procurement tenders have been set aside for them.
“I am happy to note that this platform has led to many young people owning companies with some of them already tapping into foreign markets. This is an encouraging return on our investment in young people,” the President said.
He pointed out that the Youth Enterprise Development and Uwezo funds have also stimulated the innovation of young people, contributing to wealth and job creation.
President Kenyatta thanked the private sector and individuals who have supported national development including providing opportunities for youth development. The Head of State disclosed that the Government is investing heavily in the Information and Communication Technology Sector to accelerate interaction across various spheres of development.
“Young people being techno savvy are at the forefront of embracing ICT and I encourage you to make good use of such existing opportunities,” the President urged.
He expressed optimism that the digital administration of the President’s Award-Kenya will offer a learning hub for young people and other key stakeholders.
“I wish to acknowledge your efforts of being the first Award Programme in Africa to sign off participants on the digital platform. This is in line with the Government’s ambition of digitalizing its services,” he said.
The President also took the opportunity to explain the purpose and the working of his mentorship programme to young people known as the Pupils Rewarding Scheme (PURES).
He said the programme – which gives young people from across the country the opportunity to be guests at State House for a week – is aimed at demystifying Government institutions and encouraging patriotism and national pride at an early stage in life.
“The country belongs to all of us and especially to young people. We need to prepare them sufficiently in advance to inherit it,” he said.
He said during the mentorship programme young people are conducted on a tour to various places including Government institutions like the Parliament, Judiciary and Defense Headquarters so that they are able to have a clear understanding of how the Government operates.
Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi urged participants to continue maintaining high standards of discipline, saying the program is useful in empowering them.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru said the program has been useful in equipping young people with life skills that enhance their capabilities to cope with serious responsibilities that come with adult life.
President’s Award-Kenya Executive Director Ms. Niele Munala said the new strategic plan intends to reach over one million young people – five times the program’s current enrolment.