British Council launches Next Generation Kenya research findings

Many young Kenyans cite corruption, crime, violence, insecurity and unemployment as some of their key concerns.

  • Young Kenyans are ambitious, positive and keen to shape the future of their country.
  • Competition for scarce opportunities, corruption and inequality are frustrating their efforts.

Empowering this next generation will be critical to realising the country’s full economic and social potential.

According to research findings from the British Council’s Next Generation Kenya Report young people have a strong sense of pride in Kenya; with 91 per cent of those who responded to a national household survey saying they love their country, and 86 per cent agreeing that both the heritage and identity of the country are important to them.

“We are delighted to be launching the Next Generation Kenya report which gives us an opportunity to listen to the voices and aspirations of young people in Kenya. Kenya’s youth have made their voices heard in this report, and they have spoken clearly about their passion for their country, and their eagerness to contribute to its future. Like young people around the world, they hold strong views and are keen for their opinions to be heard, heeded and acted upon. And yet there are grave concerns that the education young people are accessing, in increasingly large numbers, may fall short in equipping the next generation with the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to thrive in the 21st century.”  Said British Council Country Director in Kenya, Tony Reilly.

However, they blame corruption and a ‘rigged system’ for high unemployment rates, a lack of opportunities, growing social inequality and an education system that is falling short, according to this report.

In the research, that explores the hopes and aspirations of young Kenyans, a majority of Kenyan youth feel the country has made progress in recent decades, with 62 per cent of respondents saying they believe their generation’s lives are better than those of their parents’ generation. Young people also see nationality as their strongest source of identity, ahead of family, religion and even ethnicity.

Opportunities remain a key determinant of where young people want to live. 71 percent of those interviewed expressed a willingness to emigrate to other parts of the world or of the country in search of better opportunities.

Many young Kenyans cite corruption, crime, violence, insecurity and unemployment as some of their key concerns, and believe these problems will become more serious in future due a ‘broken and rigged system’ in the country that doesn’t listen to the voices of young people.

Below is a sample of quotes from young people who participated in the in-depth focus group interviews across the country as part of the Next Generation Kenya research:

“There is no safety. Because our leaders are corrupt, the whole system is corrupt, meaning that even those people who are supposed to be protecting us like the cops are also corrupt. In institutions like the police, money becomes power.” Female, Nairobi, aged 16.

“If you want to be successful in Kenya, you have to give up some morals.” Male, Turkana

“Getting people to employ us - it’s like a dream that you will probably die without achieving. Our youths have so much talent- youth need to be given access to employment.” Male, Mombasa.

Next Generation Kenya is a project of the British Council, with co-funding from the UK Department for International Development (DFID).  Part of a global series, Next GenerationKenya follows similar British Council Next Generation projects in Tanzania, South Africa, Pakistan, Nigeria, Turkey, Ukraine, Bangladesh and the UK.

The overall aim is to listen to and understand the hopes, fears and aspirations of young people in countries experiencing a youth bulge.

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