Building a Youth Development System in Kenya: Comparing Kenyan Perceptions of Local and National Systems

Lawrence R. Allen, Barry A. Garst, Edmond P. Bowers, Kennedy K. Onyiko


The purpose of this paper is to begin a dialogue of developing a integrated and comprehensive system for youth in Kenya by identifying factors impacting the creation of a youth development system and exploring recommendations supporting and advancing such a system.  The results of two collaborative assessments of the needs and strengths of Kenyan youth and the youth-serving programs based on the perspectives of practitioners, policy-makers, and scholars of youth-development are presented. The study was framed from the perspective of a systems approach to youth development in Kenya (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006; Overton & Lerner, 2012). Osgood (2012) identifies four steps for developing a systems approach for serving the needs of youth: (1) self-assessment, (2) goal identification, (3) planning, and (4) networking. The first step, self-assessment, was initiated through a SWOT analysis with two different groups of youth development professionals across a 2-year period (2014-2015).  The 2014 SWOT analysis presented the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to developing a youth development system from a national level, whereas the 2015 SWOT analysis focused on these same factors but from a more local level of youth development programs and services.  The results of these two analyses are presented and initial recommendations for building a more integrated and comprehensive youth development system in Kenya are presented.  The need for further input and investigation is also discussed.


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Copyright (c) 2017 Lawrence R. Allen, Barry A. Garst, Edmond P. Bowers, Kennedy K. Onyiko

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