The young people in Kisumu County have been plagued by the problem of unemployment over the years yet the county is leading the region in terms of natural and physical resource endowment. Young people below the age 30 comprise three quarters of the entire population. Although most of them have college education, they continue to be dependent on the older population that consist of the working class. Educated and uneducated youth remain hopeless with no promise of a better day.
A section of the population is employed in the fishing industry, others are in agricultural activities and others are engaged in commercial ventures and public service such as Boda boda within Kisumu city. A common denominator in each of these occupations is the limited income prospects. These people cannot get enough income regardless of how hard they work. Poor and unsupportive structures just can’t allow them!
The population is increasing fast, more young people enter the market and the pressure on available employment opportunities is terribly growing. As a result, we see heightening crime rates as the youth have a lot of unutilised time in their hands and very little income generating work to do. They need incomes but they cannot get it. Why are the youth so poor in a region so rich with resources?
Kisumu County SWOT Analysis
The county holds a strong promise for the tourism industry yet majority of this remain unexploited. It is not hard to notice the great sand and the shallow front of Lake Victoria’s Winam Gulf. What if this dock could be unlocked and opened up for proper tourist activity? The warm temperatures of the region and the clean waters added to the Impala Animal sanctuary could make for unimaginable attraction. The region has all it takes to be the hub of both domestic and international tourism. Needless to mention the lucrative opportunities this would bring for youth employment.
Young people toil in the lake just to have their fish go all the way to Thika to be processed. Imagine how many jobs would be created if all the fish were processed right within the county. We buy groceries from outside, yet the cane fields of Kibos, the rice fields of Kano and the highlands of Maseno lie with a great promise of wealth. The little that is produced there is processed outside just to return to be sold to us at exorbitant prices. Are we really serious?
What can we do?
We can alter the root of all these problems: create structures. How? We change the political landscape of our county to reflect our drive for change. The problem lies with our politicians and that is the very platform we must reform to resolve youth unemployment. Let’s elect into office change driven leaders whose desire to change Kisumu county for the better is more than their love for money! This starts with you and me… the voters! We have amongst us good leaders with great passion for developmental change. Our only hope lies with giving them the responsibility through our votes so that they help transform our county using the local resources.
Let’s also teach the youth that employment does not just refer to white collar jobs but anything legal and income generating! Let’s change our mindset from being job seekers to job creators! This can be done and the sooner the better!
Let’s stop sleeping on wealth! It’s time we chose the path to prosperity. We can no longer stand on the fence and watch all the bad things happen to us. We are powerful if we air our voices. Let us be heard. The time is now!
- By Ryanne Achieng, via Facebook