For the past two decades, Kenya has had a history of inter-ethnic violence, often erupting following general elections. The worst violence was that experienced in 2007/8 which, according to the Waki Commission Report (2008), left over 1000 people dead and hundreds of thousands more displaced from their homes. The political stalemate that Kenya found herself in following these disputed elections necessitated addressing long standing issues that were the root cause of inter-ethnic violence. Eight key reform areas have since been identified.

Youth awareness of the reform agenda and their active participation in reform activities is critical if Kenya is to reap the fruits of a successful reform process. The reasons for this are three-fold:

  • The youth comprise over 50% of Kenya’s current population hence for effective change to take place, their involvement is critical
  • Youth are the main beneficiaries of successful reform process because they are young and have their whole future ahead and
  • They are the group that politicians often take advantage of in instigating violence related activities, as was the case in 2007/8.

The Youth Leadership Development for Reforms Project was implemented jointly in Kenya by the Center for Transformational Leadership (CTL and the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), supported by a grant from USAID/DAI. The project objectives were (1) to help young people in the Rift Valley have a greater appreciation for themselves and others and a greater understanding of leadership principles; (2) to support young people to work constructively in teams with peers from other tribes and boost youth participation and contribution to the reform agenda, and (3) to enable youth to enact civic service project(s) that advance the social good and improve relations in the community. This project involved youth from Egerton University, Njoro Campus and 10 selected high schools across three districts, Molo, Nakuru and Njoro.

The key activities under this project included youth mentorship and leadership training, action learning program and civic engagement programs. Through trainings, some 289 youth were reached directly, equipping them with leadership skills and increasing their knowledge of the reform agenda. A further 1,950 young people were reached through six distinct civic engagement events held throughout the project. Through a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation strategy, CTL and CCL captured in detail the project impacts and outcomes, and a summary of those is contained here.

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