The vast majority (an estimated 75 per cent) of Kenya’s population is under 35 years old. Young Kenyans face many challenges, including high unemployment and a lack of opportunities, which can be factors behind their involvement in political violence and susceptibility to exploitation by the political elite. During elections – a long-standing source of division in Kenya – it is crucial that young people have opportunities to speak and be heard. This is particularly important as young people often bear the brunt of heavy-handed state responses to protests or activism around elections. Without proper representation – economically, socially and politically – young people will continue to be excluded from opportunities for peace, justice and democracy in Kenya.
Saferworld and partners are working to ensure that young people can engage peacefully with elections in Kenya. We create spaces for youth dialogue, and promote peaceful alternatives to addressing grievances and frustrations. In the run up to the 2017 elections, we worked closely with young people to support them in participating in the election process, providing platforms for them to engage in conversations both pre- and post-election. We also supported youth-led and youth-focused organisations to be at the centre of coordination efforts by civil society organisations towards ensuring peaceful elections. Since 2019, we have worked with young people to enhance their influence in ongoing national conversations regarding cohesion, inclusivity and better governance.
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