Youth in Nakuru County Engage Authorities on Best Ways to Shan Crime

On Friday 26th November 2021, 200 youth from Nakuru County, participated in a civic education session on active citizenship, access to justice and the institutions around it, and how they can avert being in conflict with law enforcement authorities in Kenya. 

During the session held at the Nakuru Players Theatre, most youths from Nakuru town and its environment complained of victimization and unwarranted arrest from the law enforcement officers. This has led most youths to lose trust and hope in the system.

“We have been arrested countless times while going about our boda boda business. Unfortunately, we had to part away with money even though we had done no wrong. The boda boda owner also had to bribe the police despite proving that we had not broken any law,” said John, one of the youths attending the meeting. 

This was echoed by fellow youth who have found themselves wrongfully arrested for crimes they haven’t committed.

However, according to the police representative present, Ann W Lucy most youth should make efforts to know their rights and how to defend themselves rather than rushing to bribe even in incidences where they are innocent. 

“Our offices are open for complaints, especially where youth have been victimized by law enforcement officers. Always report such incidences to enable us to reform the police force and offer better services to citizens,” said Ann W Lucy. 

Other than a representation from the National Police Service, the event organized by the Youth Safety Awareness Initiative (Crime Si Poa ®) was also attended by representatives from the Office of The Director of Public Prosecutions, Boda Boda officials, and civil society players from the region. 

Youth were urged to ensure they participate in public discourse on issues affecting them and exercise their civic duties and democratic rights such as registering as voters to be able to elect viable leaders who will represent their interest at all levels. 

“Youth must engage in decision-making, especially by participating in the electoral process come 2022. As a youth, we must ensure we vote in leaders who have our interests at heart and will represent our issues at both the county and national level,” concluded, Abubakar Bilal of Uraia.

From the intense engagements during the forum, it was noted that there is a need for more collaborative efforts to help tackle issues of youth, civic education, and crime. The Crime Si Poa team promised to organize more forums to foster a crime-free society.

The conversation on Youth and Mental Health in Kenya

Mental health among young people in Kenya has been said to have a major impact on families, communities, the country’s health, and socio-economic development. An effective evidence-based multi-sectoral intervention is much needed to curb the situation.

Crime Si Poa, in partnership with  Digital Media Institute (ADMI), held discussions with students on matters of mental health among the youth and different tricks and tactics available that young people can employ to maintain stable mental health. 

Speaking during the session held at the ADMI on 19th November 2021, Terry Gachau, a psychologist, touched on entitlement, a personality disorder that starts a negative trait that develops into a mental health disorder over time.

“Entitlement is an issue that stems from childhood and is often displayed through recurring actions like, throwing tantrums to get your way or refusing to share personal items i.e toys”, Said Gachau. She further added, “If the behaviour is not tamed at a young age, it evolves from a habit to a personality trait that may also lead to mental health issues.” 

Gachau gave the youth some insight on how the personality disorder comes across and the characteristics they can look out for, not only in others but also in themselves. 

“Entitlement is not an achievement,” warned Gachau, urging students to seek help from a psychologist to handle such mental health disorders. “The first step towards change with disorders is acknowledging that you have a problem and seeking help,” she added.

According to Hemstone Mugala, a Crime Si Poa, Resident Psychologist, mental health is all about maintaining balance, knowing how to manage both the negative and the positive situations in life. He further emphasized on the importance of self-awareness in maintaining positive mental health. 

“It is important to identify your triggers, know how they affect your mental state, and note the things that give you fulfillment,” said Mugala. 

The session was very interactive with students deeply engaged in the discussion offering their point of view and asking questions. Most of them identified the use of hobbies as a tool to get their minds off negative situations. 

“I play football to get my mind off the issue,” said one of the students. ADMI students acknowledged that such sessions on mental health gave them the insight needed to deal with everyday challenges and prevent a lot of mental issues from arising.

Youth Safety Awareness Initiative Wins 2021 Juliette Gimon Courage Awards

May 20, 2021 

The Youth Safety Awareness Initiative (Crime Si Poa ®), is proud to be among the winners of the Juliette Gimon Courage Award granted by the Global Fund for Children.

 “We’re pleased to recognize Youth Safety Awareness Initiative and Free Minds for their incredible work ensuring that children and youth impacted by incarceration have the tools they need to achieve their goals and create change in their communities,” said John Hecklinger, President and CEO of Global Fund for Children. “These organizations share the brave and passionate spirit that made Juliette such an extraordinary advocate for children around the world.”

Crime Si Poa ® and Free Minds Club were among the two publicly named winners hailed for championing the arts and education as tools to empower young people in conflict with the law. The two organizations were also acknowledged for advocating for criminal justice reforms and supporting young people who are directly impacted by incarceration as they lead efforts for change.

Crime Si Poa ® recognition was primarily due to its work under the community outreach program in empowering incarcerated and formerly incarcerated youth.

This award honors and validates Youth Safety Awareness Initiative’s courage in boldly undertaking a paradigm shift on community leadership narratives,” said Peter Ouko, the Executive Director.

 “Crime Si Poa has borrowed the Global Fund for Children model of trust in localized solutions, and so by equipping and empowering children and youth – irrespective of their backgrounds – through education, access to justice, and social enterprise, we envision realizing a safe and crime-free society for all.”

The award not only serves as a motivator to the organization but more so vouches to the important work the organization is doing in the community.