UNV Kenya capacity builds Scouts Leaders for peace and development

Feb 19, 2017

UNV Kenya interact with Scouts during the inaugural Rover Moot Event

Youth in Kenya remains one of the social groups most seriously affected by inequality, exclusion and poverty. In spite of the significant efforts by the government and development partners, there are about 75% of young people unemployed among 500,000 youth graduates from various tertiary institutions every year.

In result, the country experiences significant tension among young people, high level of youth crime, youth inter-community conflicts and insecurity. At the same time, young people, if provided with respective opportunities, could become an instrumental part of national development and peacebuilding, by bringing up innovations, enthusiasm and inspiration for well-being and prosperity of the nation and local communities.

Kenya Scouts Association (KSA) is a registered member of the World Organization of Scouting Movement and is the largest Youth Movement in Kenya, with over 1,000,000 boy and girl Scouts and a support team of over 40,000 Scout Leaders. Scouting is an international voluntary, educational, non-political Movement for young people. Scouting in Kenya was established in 1910. Its objective is the development of young people into responsible, active citizens, who will positively contribute towards societal progress.

Upon invitation, the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Kenya programme partnered with the Kenya Scouts to support and facilitate the inaugural Rover Moot Event between 15th and 19th February 2017. The Rover Moot was an event for young adults and scout leaders aged between 18 to 30 years aimed at promoting peace and development through leveraging the strength of the scout movement and building the capacities of volunteer scout leaders within the Africa Regional Scouts network who were to commit and be guided to further build the capacity of their communities.

The UNV Kenya activity adopted a participatory approach by sharing knowledge and capacity in an open and open-ended format. Kenya Scouts Association provided the base and infrastructural framework for the capacity building activities by UNV Kenya, while UNV Kenya provided complementary technical support through leveraging the technical resources within the United Nations and UNV Kenya Community.

UNV Programme support officer, Mr. Kevin Ochieng who facilitated the UNV Kenya and scouts’ sessions encouraged the young scout leaders to take up volunteering opportunities, “Volunteering is a two-way traffic, it is not just about you helping somebody else, you sharpen your skills too. It is therefore important as young people to take up these opportunities for us to actively participate in creating solutions for our own problems, “he remarked.

The scouts also shared their volunteerism experiences. “I am an accountant but I have always had this passion for helping people. I have been a scout for 13 years now. In addition to my usual duties as a rover scout, I encouraged a group of friends in scouting to get Information Technology (IT) training and now we train other scouts on IT, said one of the scouts’ leaders, Mr. Edgar Kabaale.

Mr. Kabaale has been able to roll out this Programme to the community, and now trains people who have not gone to school in the community. “We   have received support in the form of laptops and routers from a donor, and we now use these to train willing people in community. IT is a skill; you don’t really need a lot of theory to grasp skills. We have trained people who have gone on to build websites!” Mr. Kabaale proudly says.

The scout leader says that he believes that young people have in them what it takes to better the society. Unfortunately, they are not exposed to opportunities and leadership at an early age. He encourages the youth to seek every opportunity that exposes them to skills that can help them progress, and says volunteerism is one of the ways that this can be achieved. Edgar, 24, is a graduate of Makerere University.

Another scout leader Ms. Faith Nduta also shared how volunteerism is key in leadership. “In 2014, I was nominated to represent the Kenya Scouts in a mission that was going to introduce scouting in Dadaab. Dadaab is not a place one would easily say yes to, but I quickly jumped on the opportunity. In the beginning it was difficult, especially for the ladies to join scouting especially because they had to match in their hijabs and burkas, but we designed an acceptable uniform for them and now in Dadaab we have over 200 women in scouting. Accepting this voluntary mission enabled me to attain a two bead holder position, which is equivalent to a degree in scouting. As a scout leader, I encourage young people to say yes to opportunities that arise, that is how you stand out.”

A total of 120 scout volunteer leaders drawn from all over the country and neighboring countries were reached. The other countries that participated in the trainings were Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. The leaders were trained as trainers to further train their communities through the structures of the scouting movement.