This week Mzalendo Trust launches Project Mchujo, a project that hopes to spark a peer-peer conversation among the youth with regards to the upcoming general elections. Mzalendo recruited youth from all over the country who are now tasked to generate articles, videos and podcasts about issues that matter to them and deliver it in a voice that they understand and on platforms that they meet in. Project Mchujo has been developed in conjunction with Livity Africa of South Africa which ran similar youth project in the lead up to their last election.
The August polls are only a few weeks and the youth constituency which forms slightly over 50% of the voter base have a chance to reshape Kenya’s governance through their choice of leaders. Sadly these constituency appears to have a weak voice. In most youth led forums by those who seek to engage them politically, it has emerged that the political class see them mainly as a group that can be used to threaten opponents violently or mobilized to demonstrate support, yet issues that matter to them are sidelined.
Candidates at different levels have not been clear on their agenda for the youth other than their usual rhetoric on job creation. The media too hasn’t been able to properly capture what exactly this large constituency is looking for in politicians and particularly the sort of leader they need in an election year. Project Mchujo therefore hopes to meet this gap by having youthful content creators get election related stories from their peers and generate them in formats that are both accessible and easily consumed by this demographic. Mzalendo and Livity Africa on the other hand will amplify their messages on every available platforms in the hope that indeed all the youths can get involved and begin discussing earnestly their issues in the lead up to the general elections in August 8th.
The project is a mirror of Livity Africa’s project Demo, popular in South Africa where young people were recruited and became content creators amplifying the voice of the youth ahead of the 2014 elections in South Africa. Here in Kenya, the aim is to spur authentic youth conversations and make their issues important to those running for office as well as demystify some of the myths associated with the youth during the electioneering period. This project is funded by the Indigo Trust.