My name is Jacqueline Waweru from Kilifi County a youth leader working with a youth-led organization named Leadership for Impact as the executive director. The MEAT project engaged youth leaders from Kilifi through a training of trainers on civic education to enable young champions to become key role models to ensure that full participation in the promotion of peaceful youth inclusion in political, democratic, and governance processes was achieved. When the MEAT project was launched in Kilifi through approaches of mobilization of different Kilifi youth leaders that take part in pursuing impact meant to benefit the youth.
MEAT project gave us the champions the opportunity to take interest in joining different political spheres that saw young people getting an opportunity to make their voices heard is that the election season had well set in. Personally, I? had very negative thoughts when it comes to election periods because of the traumas that had affected me in the past years during election time. The fear that I have had in engaging in politics, directly and indirectly, was well managed by the MEAT project, ?I am very proud to say that MEAT project supported by VOICE made me active in the political field?. These whole engagements showed me that I needed to bring out the trust that many youths were losing in their political, democratic, and governance rights.
MEAT project provided the youth of Kilifi with an opportunity to also engage with diverse youth leaders from different counties on matters of linking and learning on best practices to exercise our civic rights in the field of democracy, governance, and politics. Kilifi county is vast but MEAT project implemented by Stretchers Youth Organization ensured that activities were taking place accordingly without biases with regards to having to reach even the remote areas.
MEAT activities that took place brought a motivation of us as young leaders of Kilifi to be taking active roles in the political field, we got to understand how to join political parties where people concerned in making decisions that affect us as the youth are mostly present, it was also amazing that most of the civic education champions in Kilifi actually ended up being directly affiliated with leaders that had the good faith to support youth agendas and for other champions, they actually ended up being political aspirants for various elective position, after the elections, we saw some of the civic educators in Kilifi being nominated to hold different positions in the County Government posts and some also becoming personal aides for elected leaders, this is a success for Stretchers Youth Organization under MEAT project and a win for the youth.
I also felt that my fear in relation to politics was more solved when the affiliated political party that I aligned with ended up being the place where the elected president of the 2022 Kenya general elections came from. Being provided the opportunity to also create a rapport with the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties in Kenya was a good platform because we learnt all the roles and rules that govern political parties and the opportunities that youth can take advantage of to ensure that they are part of political parties to propel and promote their political rights. Honestly, MEAT project gave me the opportunity to have a different experience in the political space and that led me to be exercising by democratic rights and also being a role model to generation-Z on the path of promoting youth inclusion in the political sphere where young people are ready to continue engaging in the governance and democratic processes peacefully even past elections because of the ignited passion to see positive change in their communities.
ASANTE SANA Stretchers Youth Organization for making me and fellow civic educators enjoy the process of promoting youth inclusion in the political, governance, and democratic processes, VOICE, thank you for funding SYO to come to Kilifi to bring the change that has impacted us and the lives of Kilifi people.