Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in collaboration with the National Youth Council held the inaugural Intergenerational Dialogue Forum at JKUAT Main Campus Juja, Friday April 13, 2018.
The forum that brought together 500 students from 12 local universities was part of an initiative to tap the ingenuity of the youth in the country. Dubbed ‘Building Opportunity Bridges’,the forum aimed at creating awareness on empowerment opportunities available to Kenyan youth focusing on, Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO), enterprise development, innovation, ethics and values.
While giving his keynote address, Chairman Bidco Africa, Dr.Vimal Shah, implored the students to have a vision of the future with a clear action plan in their entrepreneurial endeavors.
“You need enough dissatisfaction with the status quo and be the candle that lights the path to prosperity,” advised Shah.
Dr. Shah who is also the Chancellor of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, said lack of values among the youth is the detriment of our society and urged them to understand what their responsibility is in paving the way for the next generation.
“To shun issues like tribalism and theft of public funds in the country, the youth need to be the biggest champions of good values,” said the entrepreneur, adding that we live in a world with great opportunities that can empower the youth to be job creators and be ambassadors of better value systems.
In a speech read by the Deputy Vice Chancellor in-charge of Academic Affairs, Prof. Romanus Odhiambo, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga, said JKUAT is keen on transforming the youth into useful members of society as epitomized in the University’s vision of becoming a University of global excellence in training, research and innovation.
She implored the youth to implement the knowledge gained from the forum and leverage on the President’s Big Four Pillars of development particularly food security and manufacturing.
“I would like to inform the youth that agricultural entrepreneurship is one of the untapped areas with great potential. I know most young people see agriculture as being old fashion but I would like to inform you that investing in agriculture is more effective at eradicating poverty and improving your well-being,” opined Prof. Imbuga.
The C.E.O National Youth Council, Raymond Ochieng, said the forum was designed to give the youth a platform to interact and create strategic networks with institutions and industry players illuminating their path towards entrepreneurship, innovation and self-reliance.
The National Democratic Institute Country Director, Dickson Omondi urged the youth to make use of their window of opportunities to solve the challenges facing the country thus ensuring an enabling environment for the full realisation of their potential.
Prince Oduk, a student participant of the forum, said that being a young innovator, the forum gives him an opportunity to interact with industry players and sharpen his skill and knack in taking his innovation to the next level.
His counterpart, Molly Abende acknowledged that the forum was key in identifying problems facing the youth and curve out an action plan and solutions to the problems.
“I also hope I will be able to network with the participants present and identify opportunities available for the youth,” said Abende.
The one day forum was crafted in a bid to build synergies between the youth, academia, government and private sector towards youth empowerment agenda.