International Youth Day




‘Youth and Mental Health’

The theme for this year’s International Youth Day (IYD) was ‘Youth and Mental Health.’ Youth with mental conditions often face stigma and discrimination. This can lead to isolation and discourage them from seeking help for fear of being labelled. This year the aim was to raise awareness of this issue.

Celebrations to mark this day were held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi on the 12th August. HOPE worldwide Kenya’s Bold Ideas for Girls program, with sponsorship from Grand Challenges Canada, brought 10 girls from Mukuru informal settlement to participate in the event. Despite the rain and gloomy weather, the girls were clearly excited when they arrived at the event.

The Cabinet Minister of Information Communication and Technology Hon. Dr. Fred Matiangi Okeng’o leads the lighting of the IYD Torch

Youth make up about 60% of the Kenyan population but face significantly higher rates of unemployment than the general population. The government of Kenya and the private sector are struggling to offer opportunities to the youth. Dr Manu Chandaria, a Nairobi businessman, spoke about the urgent need to provide adequate services and care to young people with a mental disability. He outlined how high unemployment among the youth can lead to drug abuse and other behaviors that cause or worsen mental health issues.

A collective effort is required from all partners to address mental health issues among the youth. The event provided an opportunity for the girls and Bold Idea for Girls program to understand the government initiatives for the youth such as Uwezo Fund and Kenya Youth Enterprise Fund.

‘A country is as prosperous as its young people’ were the words that concluded the event, expressed in the deputy president’s speech delivered by Cabinet Minister of Information Communication and Technology Hon. Dr. Fred Matiangi Okeng’o.

The event was also graced by the Principal Secretary (PS) for Planning, Eng. Peter Oganga Mangiti; PS of Health Prof. Fred Segor; Kenya Young Parliamentarian Association Hon. Johnson Sakaja; The Deputy Governor, Nairobi County, Mr. Jonathan Mueke; the UN resident Co – ordinator and head of UNDP Ms Nardos Bekele – Thomas; among other guests

Through our Bold Idea for Girls Program, HOPE worldwide Kenya seeks to empower young

girls with training in life and vocational skills. This will reduce not only their risk to HIV infection, but also dependency and unemployment and ultimately have a positive impact on their mental health.

If you wish to know more or how you can support our work with the youth in Mukuru, please contact us here

Bold Idea for Girls beneficiaries at the IYD event