With a population of approximately 46,000 people, the Junda ward is one of the most populated wards in Mombasa County. Situated in the northwestern part of the county and representing a bigger share per population per capita of Kisauni Sub County. Junda ward residents have played a key role in choosing the leadership of their ward and the county in general. Since the inception of Tuyazungumze Community Initiative, the residents of Junda were the key targets in regards to the implementation of the project and mainly on addressing constitutionalism, bill of rights, citizen participation, and devolution. The ward has been sidelined for many years, minimal involvement by the county government, poor drainage systems, insecurity, and minimal employable opportunities for youths, have affected the residents of Junda in a bigger scope especially when it comes to development. In 2013, the county government was given the mandate to support communities and citizens of Mombasa county through the provision of a devolution system, however, the citizens of Junda ward have been sidelined when it comes to participation inward and county development agenda. One such group of citizens is Brain Youth Group, which was formed back in 2011 to bring youths together in the provision of environmental conservation, education, and awareness it seeks to tap into the creativity, energy, and initiative of the youth to provide for positive interventions in the management of the environment, educate and create awareness among the youths on sanitation, and to develop alternative businesses to provide the youth and women with employment, income and poverty alleviation within the county.
Brain Youth Organization during a Mangrove planting session.
‘’Since the inception of our group we have had many challenges both internally and externally; youth turnover has been one of the greatest challenges and hence maintaining them within the group has greatly impacted the growth of the organization’’ said Crispers Kithi, he continued, ‘’ on the side, availability of funds impeded us, since we needed to create awareness and plant mangrove seedlings in a larger scale. As a group, we approached different donors who were not ready to support our initiative due to the nature of our registration and so over the years, we had to work on a smaller scale up until when Kwacha Afrika, through its civic educator Mr. Wycliffe Omira who approached us as a group, he took us through civic education sessions where he covered matters to do with the constitution of Kenya 2010, devolution and participation. He took us through several sessions in which he enlightened us on the importance of participating in county development processes and aided us to realize the importance of our group to formally register to increase our credibility. Since our registration we have been able to approach several donors who have been willing to support us with funds as well as capacity support to implement our initiative, recently, Equity back has supported us with funds to plant 20,000 seedlings of Mangrove trees in Junda –wangwani area. We are in the process of applying for world bank groups’ support funds which will play a big role in supporting our activities and even youths. Through civic education, we have been able to approach the forestry department which has donated 100 acres of Mangrove friendly beach land where we can do our activities and plant more mangrove trees for the betterment of our environment. Through the civic education sessions, we also learned the importance of incorporating the COK 2010 mandates with whatever we were doing for example article 42 where indicates the right of every person to live in a clean and healthy environment, and this has enabled us as an organization to encourage our communities to re-use and recycle items to prevent pollution and degradation of the environment. Currently, we working with communities to collect dairy milk packages that we are using for planting our seedlings “he concluded.
Mr. Crispers Kithi, Secretary Brain Youth Organization.
Inclusive participation is a fundamental political and democratic right as highlighted in the Constitution of Kenya 2010. Article 55 of the Constitution elaborates on the rights of the youth and their contribution to national development. It places an obligation on the state to take measures, including affirmative action programs to ensure that young people have access to education, training, and opportunities for association, representation, and participation in political, social, economic, and other spheres of life. Article 100 further charges Parliament with an obligation of enacting legislation to promote the representation of women, persons with disabilities, youth, ethnic and other minorities, and marginalized communities in Parliament. Kwacha Afrika through sustained civic education ensured that Brain Youth Organization also can understand the importance of electing better leaders within the ward, ‘’ As an organization during the session, we were enlightened on the importance of electing formidable leadership to ensure that issues about development within the ward are addressed, in which we are also using the knowledge imparted to us by urging youths within our organization to participate leadership and election processes. ‘’ Crispers concluded.