Assessment of Youth participation in Community Development in Tetu Sub-County, Nyeri, Kenya.
The youth constitute 32 percent of Kenya's population, and the largest human resource for active contribution to community development. The purpose of the study was to assess the youth participation in socio-economic activities in Tetu Sub-County in Nyeri Kenya. The study looked into community activities engaged in by youth groups and how personal attributes and family background variables influenced participation and contribution to community development. Relevant literature together with the Bronfenbrenner's theory of the ecology of human development was reviewed. The study employed a descriptive survey design and targeted 1,030 youth aged 18-35 years who were registered in youth groups across Tetu Sub-County. A stratified random sampling on the basis of gender composition of the youth group members was used to select 204 youth group members. A pre-tested structured questionnaire and a focus group discussion were used to collect information from the sampled youth group members. Data analysis was performed with the help of SPSS VERSION 19. The study found that the youth engaged in various socio-economic activities; informal micro-finance groups known as Chamas and animal rearing were the two most popular economic activities that youth groups engaged in while peer education and participating in steering committees for social functions were the two most popular social activities. Data analysis revealed that gender (p=0.015), age (p=O.013) as well as level of education (p=0.017) were the personal attributes that had significant relationships with social economic contribution. Parental education level (p=0.012) and parental occupation (p=0.01) were the family background variables that had significant relationships with socioeconomic contribution of youth. The study found that there was a significant difference between male and female youth groups and type of socio-economic activities (p=0.029) as well as significant differences between males and females in income levels (p=0.000). The study concluded that the older male youths who had higher education and training levels contributed more to socio-economic development of their communities than those who had little or no formal education. Males participated more in paid work and income generating activities compared to females, who focused more on unpaid housework and voluntary work. The study also established that selected family background variables influenced youth's socio-economic contribution. Parents' education level and occupation were significant in youth's participation in socioeconomic activities for community development. Youths whose parents had higher levels of education and better paying occupations, participated more in socio-economic activities compared to youth from less privileged family backgrounds. The study recommended that emphasis should be placed on education and training of youth in entrepreneurship skills, business planning and basic financial management. This would promote participation of young men and women in socio-economic development of their local communities.