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Africities Summit roundtable advances regional youth crime prevention agenda

20 May 2022, Kisumu - A shared commitment to give the region’s children and youth who are vulnerable to crime better access to technical vocational education and training (TVET) was one outcome of a side event held yesterday at the 9th Africities Summit in Kisumu, Kenya.

A key recommendation from the side event – staged by UNODC in partnership with the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA) – was to harmonize the efforts of government agencies, legislators, community-based organizations and the East African Community by collaborating with the National Youth Councils in the region to create livelihood-building opportunities as a crime prevention strategy.

With the theme Prevention of Crime Among Children and Youth through Leveraging on Sustainable Livelihoods in Intermediary Cities, the session’s objective was in line with the African Union Plan of Action on Drug Control and Crime Prevention (2019-2023) which stipulates that the steps to be taken in curbing drug use and crime include alternative development and promoting alternative means of livelihood.

Among the speakers were Hon. Chris Mark Said – Member of County Assembly Laikipia County, Mr. Moses Taybiwa – Youth and Gender Expert at the East African Community, Ms. Ruth Areri – Directorate of Children Services, Mr. Clement Okech – Kenya’s Probation and After Care Service, Mr. Peter Ouko – Crime Si Poa and Elizabeth Njambi – Wakilisha Initiative. The session was moderated by UNODC’s Ms. Vanessa Kaniaru and Ms.Jennifer Githu.

In attendance were young people themselves who deliberated on the current climate with regard to crime amongst children and youth, and how to build resilience and create other opportunities to prevent crime. There was a good representation from grassroot organizations such as Crime Si Poa (a Youth Safety Awareness Initiative) and Blue Cross Initiative who enrichened the conversation by challenging the policy makers and stakeholders to look into policies and capacity building initiatives that need to be prioritized so as to ensure that young people have access to education, employment and entrepreneurial initiatives.

Further, it was recommended that the East Africa Community would bring together the National Youth Councils from the region, to work towards the implementation of the East Africa Youth Policy, which prescribes strategic priority areas and actions to guide the implementation and address youth challenges, including crime prevention through sustainable livelihoods. 

National Youth Councils are strategically positioned to lobby the respective stakeholders to ensure young people from vulnerable communities and backgrounds have access to innovative opportunities, including government empowerment platforms such as Kenya’s Ajira Digital Program.

Through the National Youth Council - Kenya, it was also recommended that counties revive county industrial estates that would enable young people to work on the local economies of their respective counties, including agriculture and local businesses. 

UCLGA will host a series of follow-up meetings geared towards the structuring of the recommendations adopted at the conclusion of the roundtable and their implementation. This will be through a follow-up committee comprising the hosts of all the side events at this year’s Africities Summit, including UNODC. 

The six-day Africities Summit, staged under the High Patronage of the President of Kenya H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, concluded today.

The summit, whose theme was The Role of Intermediary Cities of Africa on the implementation of The United Nations’ Agenda 2030 and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, brought together close to 5,000 delegates from across Africa, comprising local government leaders (mayors, governors, and Members of County Assemblies), non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations and the private sector.

The roundtable also heeded to the UN Guidelines for cooperation and technical assistance in the field of urban crime prevention, which spells out various principles including ‘Local Approach to Problems’ that encompasses, inter alia, the establishment of consultation mechanisms promoting closer liaison, the exchange of information, joint work and the design of a coherent strategy.

More information

- Vanessa Kaniaru, UNODC Programme Associate 
UNODC at Africities Summit 2022: Roundtable 
Africities Summit 9