BY ESTHER NELIMA
In Kenya, unemployment and underemployment are major concerns as they hinder full utilization of resources despite the growth in the economy over the years.
Statista analyzed Kenya’s Youth Unemployment rate between 1991 – 2023 at an average of 13.84%; youth unemployment refers to the share of the percentage of the total labour force aged between 15-24 without work but available for and seeking employment.
The skills mismatch, demand and supply, business cycle and technical changes have exacerbated the unemployment and underemployment amongst the youth in the region, resulting in vulnerability to violence and other mental health disorder amongst the youth.
Due to their vulnerability, youths in relationships often feel they have no choice but to endure intimate partner violence from their partners, hence making us more dependent to our sexual partners leading to increased gender-based violence.
Many youths are subjected to intimate partner violence for fear of losing their partner, fear of reporting to the relevant authorities that may lead to a partner being imprisoned or further facing more violations because of the unfriendly existing legal system for reporting cases of IPV.
Cultural and social norms also playa very crucial role in responding and preventing domestic violence. This helps to stem harmful ideas like “Vumilia Tu hivyo ndiyo ndoa hukuwa” which discourages the person from reporting the human right violation and seeking sexual reproductive health rights services; contributing to a high level of internal stigma, and not willing to lose the only source of livelihood.
Intimate partner violence is a concern in the country amongst the youth and we need to address the causes and consequences by making available and acceptable youth-friendly services in the legal systems for reporting incidents of IPV.
The government and duty bearers should provide employment opportunities non-discriminatively to the youth and make the education system more efficient and appropriate in that it can equip the youth with skills and knowledge to create opportunities.
Local and county governments should also encourage the inclusion of the youths in interventions and integration in addressing GBV using the existing national mental health policies and the development of county mental health policies to address mental disorders that might exacerbate GBV in the region.