Youth in school and out of school in Kenya are lagging behind in terms of effective leadership and life skills. Most young people in Kenya get engaged in alcohol and drug abuse early in life, often gets recruited into violent extremism and is at increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS
The out of school youth is in even greater risk. In addition to being at greater threat of recruitment into violent extremism, they also engage themselves in alcohol and drug abuse and all forms of crime including rape, robbery and mugging.
With this analysis in mind, Youth Ventures Initiatives has embarked on leadership and life skills targeting the in-school and the out-of school youths. In-school-youths are educated on how to choose what is right, how to manage peer pressure, how to relate well with their parents and how to excel in school. We teach them about the falsehood around the narrative of violent extremism and how to avoid being recruited. Through high school holiday forums, we are able to reach those youths in high schools with similar messages. Youths out of school are mobilized and educated through sports. The Ambassadors of Change who are peer educators also help in reaching out to fellow youths with life enhancing messages. They reach them on one-on-one basis and in group discussions in homes, churches, at weddings, funerals, market centers, shopping centers, tea-buying centers, literally anywhere in the villages and slums where we work.
Youth Ventures Initiatives also works closely with parents through joint forums where parents and their youths participate with the help of a trained counselor. These forums mainly target the parents with the aim of educating the parents on how to nurture effective relationships between them and their youths. The assumption is that, when such relationships are good, then parents are able to get closer to their youths and be able to counsel and guide them and recognize early when their youth are falling into trouble.