By Ben Mwendwa
For. Public Communications
The EAC Youth Ambassadors Kenya Chapter 2016/2017 has officially taken over from their predecessors with great optimism and zeal to steer and maintain the momentum set by their predecessors.
In a colorful ceremony presided over by the East African Affairs Principal Secretary Ms Betty Maina in the state Departments Boardroom, the Fred Aluda led team was presented with an opportunity to exploit the set up clubs and explore more prospects towards realizing their mandate as the EAC Youth Ambassadors.
Introducing the new Leaders to the Principal Secretary, the Director in charge of Social Affairs Dr. Alice Yalla enumerated numerous success stories courtesy of the joint efforts of the Department and the subsequent Youth Ambassadors. She cited institutions of higher learning which have embraced the integration process to the extent of setting up sections specifically for the same. Some institutions the Director indicated; United States International University (USIU), University of Nairobi, Bondo University which has set up an institute of Research on matters Integration and Moi University which is on course.
The Director applauded the outgoing team for working tirelessly in initiating many clubs and engaging robustly in social media which has so far attracted over 800,000 following. She challenged the incoming team to maintain the momentum and ensure the already initiated clubs remain active as a way of maintaining their sustainability.
The outgoing group listed the activities they have engaged in during their tenure with the last happening in Pwani University where an EAC Club was launched in December 2015 attracting a huge gathering never witnessed before. The group, according to the Outgoing Deputy Ambassador Rachael Omukhulu also engaged in Community Social Responsibility through tree planting and charity work. She appreciated the overwhelming support given by the Ministry which she supposed made their tenure very successful. The outgoing Ambassador, Robi Chacha indicated the challenges the group underwent but with optimism that all were surmountable.
The Principal Secretary in charge of EAC integration, MS Betty Maina extoled the programme indicating was in tandem with the Governments agenda. She indicated that Youth engagement is at the core of the Government and such programs ought to be supported since the youth has a wider reach hence spreading integration through them was a sure way. ”Partnering with young people is one of our core focusses as a Ministry.” Said the PS.
She encouraged the new Ambassadors to implement the already set programs before initiating innovative ones noting that the success of the established clubs will determine the successive steps in this course. She lauded the social media platforms and encouraged physical participation where the group could engage very key stakeholders. “Let’s make efforts and cascade this worth program to get the real issues from the main stakeholders like the truck drivers, vendors, border posts Managements, EALA MPs and other key stakeholders”. This, the PS said will be a sure way of dealing will the real issues affecting the pace of the Integration process. She gave an assurance of the ministry’s support and partnership towards success on the same.
Mr Kamau Chege; Senior Assistant Director, who has been coordinating the Youth activities in the Department indicated that the process of identifying the ambassadors is merit based and as such their diligence is assured.
The 2016/2017 team will be led by Fred Kahi from Technical University of Mombasa deputized by Ms. Vivian Ouya of the Moi University School of Law.Others are; Mutua James, Victor Ndede and Valerian Gakenia.
The ceremony was also attended by Barrack Ndegwa, the Integration Secretary and other Heads of Departments.