Blue Economy Holds Out Hope for Kenyan Youth

Elimu Resource Centre
byElimu Resource Centre

It all started with empowering the youth who frequent Elimu Resource Centre with information to better their lives. In that pursuit we found ourselves entering into the Blue Economy conversation – that is currently a huge focus across the globe as the world’s next frontier of economic growth. Kenya hosted the intrenational global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi in November 2018 sponsored by the Canadian government. This was followed by a series of Blue Economy forums specifically for youth that were organized by the Youth Congress in partnership with the Canadian High Commission and UN-Habitat.

Elimu is situated in Malindi, one of the major towns along the coast region. It’s obvious that youth from Malindi and Kilifi County at large should be well informed and highly engaged with the Blue Economy conversations and activities. Due to this Elimu took the initiative. We invited the Canadian High Commissioner and Mr. Raphael Obonyo, the founder of the Youth Congress, to join the youth of Malindi during our December Info Forum. They came to engage with youth and talk to them about the Blue Economy. The initiative has been applauded by all who attended and the event has brought fourth more invitations to other B.E forums. We also had representatives from the youth congress at our e-Learning Open Day who gave an in-depth presentation about the Blue Economy opportunities for youth, a session that motivated most high school graduate to start inquiring more about courses in this sector.

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Elimu was also privileged to be part of the 2nd Jumuiya ya Pwani Agribusiness & Blue Economy Investment Conference 2019 also in December 2019 in Malindi. We also sent representatives to the first and second Youth and the Blue Economy forums in Mombasa and the multi-stakeholders forum in Kisumu in February. (This was a special honour since we were the only organization considered that is not from within the Kisumu Lake region.)

All these forums have given us insights and we are now working to engage youth around Malindi and Kilifi County on how to get involved in the Blue Economy to reach for untapped opportunities and gain skills that can help them get job opportunities within the lucrative Blue Economy sector. We shall be reaching out to high school students so that we can sensitize them early and the interested students can be able study relevant courses and thereafter access jobs or business opportunities related to the Blue Economy. The Blue Economy is not really something new. The sector of water-related economic activity has always been there but opening up the sector in Kenya to international players is creating new opportunities that hold vast potential for meaningful work and income generation for Kenya’s young generation. In Kenya we say “water is life”. Today, we can also say “water is livelihood”.