International Youth Day at the Githurai Youth Empowerment Centre: Meet Joshua Ongwae

On August 12, the Githurai Youth Empowerment Centre in Githurai, Nairobi County, Kenya celebrated International Youth Day and hosted a panel to discuss vital issues affecting youth in Kenya, namely teenage pregnancy, youth unemployment, and access to family planning measures. Photographer Brian Otieno interviewed participants about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected them personally, how access to information on family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) has been impacted, and what they hope for the future.

Brian spoke to Joshua Ongwae, a DSW Kenya staff member.

Joshua Ongwae, photographed by Brian Otieno for DSW.

“Even with COVID-19, there are still opportunities for us to exploit. I see people are already adapting to the changes brought by the pandemic like wearing a mask, social distancing, and working from home. I see a future where young people will capitalise on technology, which they are good at. More than 20% of the Kenyan population are young people between 15 to 24 years of age.

I see us capitalising on the demographic dividend from the young population to transform this country. I know there are challenges such as youth unemployment, teenage pregnancies, and poor access to SRH services, but I see hope. I see information being disseminated through online platforms like social media and young people accessing them to improve their lives.”


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