Meaningful Youth Participation – Bernard Mbugua

Youth Alive! Kenya - January 16, 2023 - 0 comments

Bernard Mbugua is a Programs Officer and the Chairperson at Absolute Power and Light CBO, a member of our Murang’a County Working Group. He is a Disability Inclusion Champion and a youth advocate. He was the first runner-up of our Young Leaders Stories Competition. Below is his submission.

In 2017, I participated in a youth-seeking-elective-post mentorship forum organized by Youth Alive! Kenya. After the training, I mobilized various youth groups to conduct mentorship as well as plant more than 500 trees at Peter Kariuki Primary and Secondary School. Subsequently, after Youth Alive organized a training on community engagements, we were involved in HIV & AIDS awareness in Kabati Town.

In 2018, Youth Alive team led by Zaina Kombo trained us on budget advocacy at Kandara children’s home. Since it was the year when CIDP and ADP 2018-2022 was being developed, we were involved in public participation in all wards. 

Youth Alive Kenya later conducted capacity building training at Kenol where we were given booklets by USAID and  AHADI on social accountability. As a result of the learnings from that training, we partnered with Wakimara Youth group and other youths to conduct social audits at Kigoro, Gitiri and Ndakaini dispensaries. The audit unearthed various gaps. We took the results of the audit to the county government of Murang’a and after follow up, they brought an incinerator as well as stocked drugs. We also audited the Gatunyu borehole and after follow up, the county government provided a water pump and the borehole became functional.

In 2019, after Youth Alive working group elections, in partnership with green globe CBO, we cleaned Ndunyu Chege and Kirwara markets. Victoria Nyokabi together with other Youth Alive staff conducted capacity building training on advocacy and the importance of partnership. After training, we partnered with WRUA and Kigomo CBO and planted over 1000 Bamboo trees along the river beds.

In 2020, we engaged with partners and donated foodstuffs to over 100  homesteads, 3 wheelchairs to youth Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and linked over 30 youth PWDs to the  National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD). We also conducted disability awareness and capacity building workshops for caregivers of PWDs. We linked student PWDs to get bursaries from NCPWD. In July 2020, we had a program on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), where we donated sanitary hampers through partnership with Warembo Wasome CBO.

In 2021, after Youth Alive’s  peer to peer exchange program training, we petitioned the ministry of water to enable youth to access water by drilling boreholes in Lower Gatanga. Courtesy of a grant by Youth Alive Kenya to Murang’a  working group, as member organization, we got trained on the importance of participating in democratic process of voting and as well running for elective posts.

In 2022, Youth Alive organized the PARTICIPATE! National Conference. I gained skills on participation in democratic processes. I led our organization and sensitized youth on the importance of registering as voters. 

I was involved in the campaign by UNDP and Youth Serving Organizations(YSO). I got the opportunity after Youth Alive’s Levi Juma shared a link to join Fursa in Democracy challenge.

I was also involved in a campaign in partnership with IEBC, where we were massively involved in dissemination of voter education materials to youths.

In October, Youth Alive Kenya conducted International PARTICIPATE! conference in Mombasa bringing along participants from Kenya, Zimbabwe and Denmark. I was among the participants who were trained on designing  change projects and advocating  for change in their communities. 

After the  training, as members of Absolute Power and Light CBO, we got engaged in formulating Murang’a County Youth Policy. During the third review of the County Integrated Development Plan over 15 members  gave their views and opinions. 

I continue sensitizing  youth on budget making and the importance of attending CIDP public participation. 

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