When I was growing up, every single morning this song would play – Someeni Vijana.. Muongeze pia bidii, mwisho wa kusoma.. mtapata kazi nzuri sana (go to school young ones, and work hard and in the end you will get a good job). This was the anthem we were brought up to.
So we did that, we went to school, and worked hard on our grades and the fortunate ones when to college and university. For a developing country Kenya has a very large percentage of graduates. It’s probably the song that motivated up, but a lot of people are well educated.
Then comes the final part of the song, good employment…..only for a vast majority this is not the case. As of 2012 the unemployment rate in Kenya stood at 40%, this is a staggering number considering how many capable, educated and hard working people exist.
This has led to a lot of brain-drain, meaning a lot of Kenyans are migrating to different countries and regions in search of employment, it was so deeply ingrained in us that we needed to be employed in order to survive, in order to provide and meet our needs. However, a lot of the people who leave the country in search of better pastures, end up doing menial jobs, they do the jobs that the original people of the area they migrate to, don’t want to do. And they therefore end up, under employed. Not using their skill sets or degree.
Therein lies the problem, no one ever taught us how to be unemployed, it never existed as an option, no one equipped us with tools to deal with unemployment, no one told us it was a possibility. On the other hand, no one told us that there was a possibility of being under employed, no one told us it was possible to do something that didnt utilize your skill set, no one told us that you might work under someone who knew a fraction of what you know, and how to cope and deal in that kind of situation.
And finally self – employment, no one taught us that this was a viable option, no one taught us how to think outside the box, to look for ways to employ yourself and in turn create employment for others.
We are therefore left with a generation that is frustrated, depressed and alcohol and drug dependant. We need to do a better job in bringing up the next generation; we need to equip them with the tools they will require to make it in any of the above situations, because even employment security is no longer guaranteed.
This issue exists everywhere worldwide, there are no longer any greener pastures, we need to learn how to be innovative and create our own employment. Let us learn how to be the change we want to see.