In summary

  • In his rather powerful four minute talk, Thonke expressed his confidence in the Kenyan youth who he describes as optimistic and very energetic
  • Thonke gave an example of a youth movement that happened in Denmark five years ago about climate change

Entry into the People Dialogue Festival taking place at the National Museums of Kenya, it’s a beehive of activities.

Very busy with different types of booths, booths of youths doing live podcasts, youths discussing election processes and youth being empowered and advised on how to move to the next level.

It is the International Women’s day, the theme being  Innovation and Technology For Gender Equality.

I stroll down to the Youth Village session convened by youth led organizations among them the Coalition for Grassroot Defenders, Siasa Place and other partners.

 A charged group of about 1000 youth seated on haystacks with Ankara knots has filled up the place and is keenly following the sessions.

I walk in time to find the youths giving their response to one panellist who was giving them advise on how to take up their places.

 “Tumekusia fiti sana madvise zako ni poa but pia lazima uelewa eti siyo siyo wasse wote wako na opportunities same. (We have heard you well Kendi and we will take your advise, but you have to know that not all of us have the same opportunity)” one youth holding a microphone says.

The Danish Ambassador to Kenya Ole Thonke then takes up the podium, he is teased to a dance by CGHRD convener  Rachael Mwikali , who is one of the  Royal Danish Embassy  in Kenya Youth Sounding Board member and member  of the Global Advisory board member For Denmark minister of Development Co-operations, who then passes on the microphone to him.

“What if the youth in Kenya used their drive and energy to influence movement that will forever grant them spaces in the decision making tables,” he poses to a keenly following audience.

Expresses confidence in Kenyan youth

In his rather powerful four minute talk, Thonke expressed his confidence in the Kenyan youth who he describes as optimistic and very energetic.

“The Kenyan youth are extremely powerful, they have a lot of drive and energy, they are aware of injustices around them and also have a clear stance on them,” said Thonke.

Thonke gave an example of a youth movement that happened in Denmark five years ago about climate change.

“There was a youth movement in Denmark called Fridays For Future about climate change. I don’t think the youth in Denmark are not different from the youth in Kenya in terms of hope and aspirations for the future. They also often time feel that they are not heard and listened to by the political leaders.

“So what happened was that they thought climate change was not high enough of the agenda of the political leaders in Denmark so they staged demonstrations every Fridays in Denmark and climate change ended up being number one topic in Denmark at that time.

“Something similar could really happen in Kenya if the youth in Kenya came together and really made a strong movement over a topic they want to discuss.”

Rachael Mwikali the convener of CGHRD in her stature gave a powerful talk of how women are not protected in the digital spaces.

Mwikali on exile

Mwikali who has been forced to go on exile because of violence meted on her on digital and physical called for the safe creation of spaces for women to bring the gender parity.

“Many women have been bullied out of these spaces hence the domination by men. This has happened mainly because of patriarchy. We want the bullying to stop, we want the abuse of these digital spaces to stop as well because not all women are strong willed to come back after they are bullied,” she stated.

Thonke’s panel was moderated by Swaiba podcast host Nyambura Mundia and had some pretty powerful speakers and included Nominated Senator Crystal Asige.

PDF in Kenya is premised on an understanding that democracy is more than democratic institutions and writted rules.

It is a culture that has to be nourished through the creation of spaces and platforms where people can physically get together, talk to each other, get inspired, exchange opinions and debate their ideas.

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