By Bernard Mwendwa
The State Department of East African Affairs launched an East African Club at St Paul’s University on the 22nd October 2015.Coming on the “morrow” of the Kenya’s Mashujaa Day Celebrations, this launch marked a significant step and a confirmation that institutions of higher learning have embraced the EAC integration process at a sonic pace. The initiative by the university’s Nairobi Campus EAC club to launch the same in their Nakuru Campus is a clear indicator that EAC Integration process can only get faster and better.
The occasion provided an opportunity for the youth to understand the EAC integration process and their place in the regional integration agenda as they pursue their individual careers, and socio-economic development goals. This was clearly enumerated by Kamau Chege a Social Affairs Senior Assistant Director who officiated the ceremony. Mr Chege underscored the copious opportunities provided by the Community and called upon the students to strategically place themselves in readiness for the ready market offered in the region in the spirit of full implementation of the Common Market Protocol signed in July 2010.
Steps such as these are in line with the East African Treaty Article 120 (c) which provides for adoption of a common approach for involvement of the youth in the integration process through education, training and mainstreaming youth issues into EAC policies, programmes and projects as one of the strategic interventions towards the realization of a fully integrated Community hence placing the youth of East Africa as important stakeholders in the EAC integration processes since they form a substantial part of the population.
The set up clubs are identifiedas key preparatory steps for future leadership roles at regional and international levels. The Youth Ambassadors platform intends to roll out this program to all institutions of higher learning as a measure to provide a smooth transition for the junior youth from secondary schools whose EAC clubs were launched in Nairobi Region recently. This was emphasized by Ms.Rachael Makokha, the current Deputy EAC Youth Ambassador to Kenya. She challenged the students to actively participate in the newly established club which she identified as a training process towards skills and leadership development among others. Ms Makokha informed the students that the process of identifying Youth ambassadors was rigorous and required deep insights on the EAC integration agenda challenging the university to make sure they participated in the next group of EAC Youth ambassadors’ challenge.
In his address, Mr Chege indicated that in addition to the economic, infrastructural and other areas of integration, the integration process has a social facet aimed at; harmonizing the Partner States’ Education Systems and Training Curricula, promoting regional harmony through shared Culture, Arts and Sports activities, initiation of social welfare activities and also developing Regional Policies on Health and HIV /AIDS. The integration agenda, he said addresses issues of good governance, corruption eradication with ultimate aim of developing and establishing a Political Federation. He challenged the students to explore the numerous opportunities that this process provides.
The Patron of the newly established club, Mr. Moses, who represented the Dean of students thanked EAC for choosing the Campus for such a noble initiative and undertook to ensure the club succeeded in spreading the integration agenda to the fraternity.