Young people have been challenged to work on their soft skills such as emotional intelligence and personal development even as they endeavour to seek opportunities in the market place. Makueni Senator, Mutula Kilonzo Junior, challenged young during the Elimika workshop for youth leaders that was hosted at Acacia Resort, Makueni on January 22, 2020.

The Workshop was sponsored by Ford Foundation in partnership with the University of Nairobi Elimika Program and Makueni County. Youth leaders from all corners of the country were given the opportunity to share their experiences about leadership.

While address the audience, the Senator gave a detailed account of his years as a young advocate working in his father’s law firm and the lessons passed down to him by one of Kenya’s greatest legal minds. “Do something well or don’t touch it at all. My father would tell me. Write down your dreams or aspirations in a notebook. Aspire to the highest standards of integrity: hard work, integrity and attention to details, “he pointed the critical lessons passed down to him from his Father, Mutula Kilonzo.

The Senator stressed the importance of young people getting mentors, experts in their fields of trade who will coach them to be the best in their given areas of operations.  He challenged young people to seek 30 percent worth of tenders reserved for Women, Youth and Persons living with disabilities. He observed that young people are not aggressively following up the tenders. He criticized the Jubilee government for not appointing young people to the Cabinet despite the law providing for the same.

“Young people must begin to talk loudly and take part in the development of our economy. I went to Japan and found young people busy manning the equipment that monitor social media and cyber security. I went to Germany and found young people fixing Bosch engines. Our young people need to be actively involved in the economic development of this country, “he said.

Quoting extensively from Martin Luther King Jr and Winston Churchill, Makueni Senator urged young people to keep hope alive. “Let nobody paint any bad picture of the future. Optimism is radical. Optimism is all we need in times of despair. Optimism is our instinct to inhale while suffocating. Inhale or die. We must not lose hope, “he said.

Elimika Initiative is a program that has been running since 2013 and has been to all the 47 counties engaging young people on the best ways to improve their economic activities, wealth creation, improve security and generally handle the challenges facing the youth. The program is funded by Ford Foundation and is run by Prof. Judith Bahemuka, Chancellor,  University of Eldoret.