Kenya: Retired civil servants should create space for youths

By The-star.co.ke (STACEY CHEPKEMOI)

The recruitment ban at entry level cadres in the civil service that was put in place by the Treasury has not only affected management succession but also created a backlog of unemployed youth who are graduating from colleges every year.

The suspension of recruitment has affected service delivery across government agencies. The Public Service Commission proposal to hire new civil servants and promote some in the next financial year is a step in the right direction. Treasury should lift the moratorium so that government and its agencies can create jobs and deliver services.

There are many civil servants who, for long, have stagnated in one job group for years. They could not be promoted because there is no budget. PSC is unable to retire some senior civil servants because of the skills they have and allowing them to leave without a replacement is a risk that should not be considered.

Therefore Parliament should proceed and allocate sufficient financial resources to this docket if indeed the MPs mean well to the millions of unemployed youth in Kenya.

However, if Parliament approves the PSC budget proposals, the same MPs should make sure that the recruitment process is transparent. It is not uncommon for nepotism to rare its ugly head in this type of situations.

We all know that the recruitment process in government is never transparent and largely depends on whom you know and not what you know. We want to see recruitment on merit and which adheres to PCS policies. This is the time to keep in mind affirmative action that ensures candidates from every corner of Kenya is gets a chance to serve his or her country.

The government should stop recycling employees in the public service, once somebody has reached retirement age, they should proceed on retirement so that the youth are given a chance to bring on board fresh ideas that can propel this country to greater heights.

Why should we have civil servants who after attaining the retirement age of 60 are appointed to plum government jobs only weeks later? If indeed the government is genuine in resolving youth unemployment, which we all agree, is a time bomb, why not give these positions to the youth?

In fact, all the Chief Administrative Secretaries positions that were created by the Jubilee government through PSC should have all be handed to the youth as part of mentorship so they can gain experience on how to run a government.

It is unfortunate they all went to politicians who have had their chance in public service.

The former Bomet county senatorial aspirant spoke to the Star

Kenya: Delegates at UN-Habitat’s second Youth Blue Economy Conference call for action on jobs

By Unhabitat.org

Over 250 youth met with representatives of the private sector, government and the UN to explore ways to boost young people’s employment in the Blue Economy at the second conference on youth and the Blue Economy.

The youth at the two day conference, entitled Pathways to the Blue Economy, agreed to set up a Pathways Taskforce for Youth and the Blue Economy to mobilize governments, local authorities, private sector and other stakeholders to support youth. The conference, which took place a few days before the official opening of the first UN-Habitat Assembly, was supported by UN-Habitat, the Canadian High Commission in Kenya and the Commonwealth Youth Programme.

“The taskforce’s overall goal will be to take forward the great work of youth and both youth Blue Economy conferences and ensure that youth in Kenya and globally are fully engaged in the Blue Economy,” stated Elly Savatia, who at 18 was the youngest delegate at the conference held at the UN Office in Nairobi (UNON) where UN-Habitat has its headquarters. “We need more than conferences – we need action!”

The Taskforce will create a Youth and Blue Economy Fund called “Youth Blue”– to support youth-led enterprises and startups. It will also develop Youth and the Blue Economy policy guidelines, through a consultative process, and drawing from previous conferences and ensure the private sector involved in the Blue Economy hires youth.

UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director Victor Kisob addresses youth delegates of the Pathways to the Blue Economy conference in Nairobi

“My team together with Canadian High Commission, Youth Congress, Government of Kenya and indeed all of you will work together to establish this Taskforce and create a programme to address the areas highlighted,” said the UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif, “I am optimistic that the programme will provide opportunities within the Blue Economy to increase youth employment.”

Canada’s High Commissioner to Kenya, H.E. Lisa Stedelbauer, expressed her country’s full support to ensure youth involvement in the Blue Economy.

“We are so excited to be partnering with you on this event. The Sustainable Blue Economy Conference was such a great success; we need to keep the momentum going,” stated Ms. Stedelbauer, “Did you know that there are 350,000 jobs in the Blue Economy in Canada? How many can be created in Kenya? Through partnerships with the private sector we can help to create jobs for the youth in the Blue Economy.”

Conference delegates engaged with over 25 private sector groups World Urban Cafés.featuring private sector hosts who shared their “pathway” on how they established their business.

Representatives from the Government of Kenya expressed their strong support.

“The Government will continue to develop and build capacity for the youth in the Maritime Sector,” stated Raymond Ochieng, Kenya’s Secretary for Youth Affairs, “This entails educating and motivating the youth to study the maritime domain, that will ultimately increase the output value of the industry. To this effect, my Ministry plans to allocate significant support to youth programmes in the Blue Economy.”

Speakers at the forum moderated by Raphael Obonyo, UN-Habitat’s former Youth Advisory Board member, included Ms. Susan Njau, Director, Youth Affairs in Kenya, Manu Chandaria, business entrepreneur and philanthropist, and several representatives from youth-led organizations. The UN-Habitat’s first Conference on Youth and the Blue Economy was held last November at UNON ahead of the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference.

Kenya: Sports – Ouma regains place in Stars’ Afcon squad

By Standardmedia.co.ke (Gilbert Wandera)

A few months into his stay at Gor Mahia in 2016, Eric Ouma was already being equated to the Brazillian great Marcelo.

And it is not difficult to see why. Just like the Real Madrid defender, Ouma has all the qualities of a complete full back that saw him burst into the national team while still a teenager.

Former Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi describes him as the best player in the country when it comes to taking crosses and picking out his team-mates in the box.

“There is no one like him in that area and I don t fear being contradicted. There is simply no player in Kenya who can take those pin-point crosses as he does. He is my number one in that position,” said Okumbi.

Okumbi says the defender also shows great courage in moving forward and always gives a coach something extra in attack.

“He is very dangerous when moving forward and provides something extra offensively. Furthermore, he also defends perfectly and is a player who gives any coach his all.

“Perhaps should not have gone to Georgia after leaving Gor Mahia. It didn’t give him that competitive edge but playing in Sweden is helping him get back.

“He should be at his top form by the time the Africa Cup of Nations finals kick off and we will see the best of him. I am confident he can take on Kenya’s opponents well.”

Over the last few years, Kenya has struggled for consistency on the wings but with Ouma’s presence, fears of opponents getting a loop-hole here are dramatically reduced.

Despite his great form, Ouma did not win the league title with Gor Mahia in 2016 as the team finished in the runners-up position to Tusker.

Many believe he would have won more titles at home had he stayed for at least two more years in the KPL and at Gor Mahia specifically.

However, his decision to sign only a six-month contract with Gor Mahia was perhaps an indication of his desire not to stay at the club for a long period.

After leaving Gor Mahia in 2016, Ouma moved to Georgia where he joined Kolkheti Poti and made 19 appearances. But he looked unsettled in Georgia as he immediately moved to Albania in 2018 joining KS Kastrioti. He never played for the Albanian club and his lack of match fitness also kept him out of the Harambee Stars.

He only started playing after joining Vasalund in the Swedish third division. With age on his side, he is likely to attract a bigger club after the Africa Cup of Nations finals conclude in Egypt if he rises to the occasion.

Kenyan: Body of eight-year-old found dumped along Nairobi River

By Standardmedia.co.ke (Betty Njeru)

The body of an eight-year-old boy has been found dumped along the banks of Nairobi River today.

Youths who were conducting a clean-up of the river discovered the body, strangled and dumped near the river.

Officials say that this brings the total number of discovered bodies to 14 since the start of the exercise.

Just last month, two bodies of infants were retrieved at Korogocho section of Nairobi River by a group of youth.

The bodies believed to be twins, were found wrapped in a polythene bag.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has since asked police to speed up investigations into the discovery of dead bodies found on the banks of Nairobi River.

Sonko launched the clean-up exercise last year, taking place monthly to unblock sewer lines, clear garbage and for beautification purposes.

Kenya: Ruto says the youth are experts of fourth industrial revolution

By kbc.co.ke (DPPS)

Deputy President William Ruto has said the future of Africa lies in the youth being put at the centre of its development plans.

He said gone were days when this energetic and innovative age class would be seen as future leaders.

Addressing the Shape Africa Summit at the United Nations Complex in Gigiri on Friday, Dr Ruto said the youth are the experts of the fourth industrial revolution.

“They must, therefore, be at the fore-front of shaping the Africa we want,” he said.

He told the Summit the revolution provided the first opportunity to re-order the world and extend the reach of justice, inclusion, growth and prosperity to all of humanity.

Dr Ruto explained that Africa’s youth had become a demographic dividend, turning into the frontiers of unprecedented growth and promise.

He challenged the continent to assemble the cohort of visionaries who will light the spark that will produce an explosion of innovation and transformation to hasten Africa’s race to 2063.

To ensure that the youth drive Kenya’s development blueprint, the Vision 2030, the Deputy President said the government had unveiled a new, competency-based curriculum that aims to address the mismatch between courses taught in class and the market skills.

“The curriculum, in addition to investments in technical and vocational training, will enable young people to re-skill and up-skill as the nature of work evolves,” he noted.

Dr Ruto said the government’s deliberate investment in technical training would turn them into the centre of excellence for growing the requisite human capital that is agile and responsive to systemic shifts in the industry.

“This is also due to the appreciation to the fact that young people will make up 50 per cent of the workforce by 2020 and 75 per cent by 2025 globally,” he observed.

United Nation’s Environment Acting Executive Director Joyce Msuya said young people are the symbol of innovation, and as such, should be at the core of the development narrative.

“We cannot attain the global sustainable goals without the energy of the youth,” she said.

Ms Msuya called on Africa to offer a platform to young people so that they can be part of the solution to the problems facing the continent.

United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative Siddharth Chatterjee asked leaders to endeavour creating a level playing field for the youth to thrive.

“We cannot make these youths flourish, and become more innovative if inequalities still exist in the society. Let us direct our energies towards making the environment conducive for businesses youth pursue grow,” he said.

Born out of the World Economic Forum, Shape Africa is an annual forum that discusses solutions to some of the continent’s pressing issues.

Kenya: Tapping youth innovation to manage waste

By the-star.co.ke

Across the world, youth innovations are driving significant change. In Kenya, inventions by young people have put us on the global map.

Roy Allela, 25, invented a Smart Hand Glove that converts sign language into audio speech. The invention, which won international accolades, was based on reducing the stigma associated with being deaf.

Another brilliant innovation was by Kelvin Gacheru. He developed Mobi-Water, a smart solar-powered water system. It improves monitoring consistency in water supply and helps alleviate the water crisis.

Is it possible to apply youthful innovations to waste management? Today, the most visible environmental challenge is uncollected solid waste and particularly plastic bottles. A spot check across all major cities and towns reveals there is an increase in waste due to a rising population in urban areas, which have not established proper waste management mechanisms.

Waste management simply means accounting for all waste generated, appropriate disposal and where possible recycle for re-use.

For instance, Nairobi produces more waste than it can dispose of in a safe and environmentally sound manner. This necessitates a paradigm shift in thinking.

An assessment by Nema reported that traditional end-of-pipe solutions to waste management problems only deal with the symptoms of poor management and not the root cause. As a result, Nairobi and its environs are resigned to indiscriminate dumping and littering of solid waste.

To fully address this perennial issue, young, fresh and innovative waste management practices must be initiated and realised. To achieve the desired results, we need to provide support and develop policies that will encourage youths to aggressively venture into inventions.

In fact, there are already youthful waste management initiatives taking root in many communities. These initiatives are pulling together young men and women and tasking them to take responsibility for the cleanliness and well-being of their immediate environment.

One initiative in Nairobi, particularly in Dandora, is the Customer Bora Programme. It brings together out-of-school youth in Dandora, which is among the most polluted by solid waste. They have an opportunity to be part of the much-needed change in their environment.

The initiative spearheaded by Dandora HipHop City (DHC), in collaboration with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, has set up multiple waste collection stations referred to as Taka Banks. There people can responsibly dispose of their waste for recycling. Further, this system also rewards depositors.

In addition, the Changing Faces competition hosted by the Public Space Network has jolted young people to develop transformational waste management initiatives to improve the appearance of their neighbourhoods. This year alone, 136 groups submitted their designs in a nationwide competition. This clearly indicates that young people are taking charge of the environment.

Another initiative is PETCO Kenya. With more young people engaging in PET waste collection, PETCO Kenya ensures they have a formidable recycler, willing to purchase their waste volumes. In return, they increase their income.

As these initiatives scale up, the management efforts already in place will substantially increase and have the potential to be adopted nationally.

It is crucial that we continue to encourage young people to proactively practice waste management. It is necessary to achieve a change in a national perception towards a circular economy.

The writer is the CEO of Kenya Association of Manufacturers and the UN Global Compact Representative for Kenya. She can be reached at ceo@kam.co.ke.

Home ownership: features youths look out for in Kenya

By Nation.co.ke (DELFHIN MUGO)

For George Watoro, a 26-year-old accountant with a Nairobi-based accounting firm FGC Kenya LLC, owing a home is something that has crossed his mind severally, mostly driven by the need to secure his future and that of his family (when he gets one).

His only setback, he says, ready to purchase homes are out of his reach and the mortgage market is prohibitive. “I think the housing market is extremely overpriced,” he decries.

Looking from what he deems reasonable, where the house sale price versus annual rental amount ratio is over 20, he believes he is better off renting.

For example, according to Hass Consult Q4 2018 property index, a development in Donholm priced at Sh15 million fetches about Sh60,000 in rent while a mortgage repayment for the same house would be about Sh175,000 paid over a period of 20 years.

Kenya is said to be a relatively young country, with United Nations estimating that there are more than 9.5 million young people, accounting for more 20 per cent of all Kenyans.

Bearing this in mind, experts concur that such a huge population cannot be left out when major decisions like housing developments are being made.

OWNERSHIP

When it comes to housing, there is no better place to start than understanding young people’s needs.

Watoro says his preferred journey towards home ownership is the rent-to-own-model. “I have been talking to people and I have come across some options. I could choose to be paying rent at Sh15,000 a month or I could be paying for the same house Sh35,000 a month and at the end own it.”

Currently, because he has no family, all Watoro wants is a two bedroom apartment house or a fairly priced stand-alone house in a location close to his workplace.

“The only problem with stand-alone houses is that they tend to be far off from my area of operation and traffic does not help the situation, so a two bedroom apartment will serve me for now. Later when my income grows and probably with a family, I will look for a bigger house,” he says.

Asked about his ideal affordable home, Watoro says, “I have a Sh5 million ceiling and I am looking at 10 years for the payment period. Looking at my salary, I am willing to part with around Sh50,000 a month as instalment.”

SAVINGS

Late last year, DN2 met Doreen Mutiga and Pauline Kasuki at a title deed handover ceremony in Kikopey, Nakuru County, for a project named Kikopey Ridge Phase One by real estate firm Property Reality Company (PRC).

At the fanfare-filled ceremony, some investors of 300 quarter-acre units were issued with title deeds.

What was striking about Doreen and Pauline is the fact that they did not leave their selfie stick behind when they came to collect their title deeds, perhaps the clearest indication of where they fall in terms of age group.

“We started saving via a savings and credit co-operative (Sacco) while in college, a move that enabled us to buy our first property one year after graduating from college in 2010,” Kasuki told DN2.

For then, the eight-year-long journey investing in property is fuelled by the need to safeguard their children’s future and the sad reality that women in most African communities rarely inherit property from their parents.

SOCIAL AMENITIES

They told DN2 that the two properties in Kikopey, one for each, is their fourth in line, revealing that they will be embarking on developing the pieces of land already acquired.

“We are still in progress. For now we are comparing bids from different contractors to see what suits us. Most of what we are getting is way out of our means,” said Pauline when DN2 caught up with them last week.

For the young duo, key among the factors that will influence the decision on where to settle down with their family include location, accessibility, security, and availability of social amenities such as schools.

Having been in real estate for these years, Doreen says she would prefer constructing her own house as opposed to buying a ready one.

“If I decide to buy a house I am sure it won’t meet most of my requirements. For example, I would love to have a spacious house and a kitchen garden. There is also the possibility that I will be sharing some amenities with my neighbours, something that doesn’t excite me,” she says.

RENT HASSLE

Pauline agrees with her friend, adding that the need to bid landlords and their pesky agents goodbye is yet another reason she can’t wait to have her own place.

For the years that Sally Kimutai, a property consultant with Mahiga Homes has been dealing with young home hunters, she can confidently classify them into two categories.

“There are those who buy houses as investments and those who want to live in those houses. In other words, they are looking for a home so that they can save themselves the trouble of paying rent,” she offers.

FAMILY

Still, when it comes to home hunting, young people present their needs based on age.

“Those in mid-thirties have their children’s welfare top on their list of considerations. So, presence of amenities like a children’s playing area and swimming pool will be key for them,” says Kimutai.

“They also look at security, which is largely influenced by the location and the size of the house. For instance, nowadays people prefer to have a big sitting room with an open plan kitchen. Spacious bedrooms are also key,” says Kimutai, adding that interestingly, even when they are buying for investment, they tend to buy the same type of house designs.

“Most in their mid-thirties come looking for a three or four bedroom house depending on the size of the family,” she adds.

AGE FACTOR

Young people below the age of 30 years have no problem snapping up apartments, with Kimutai saying that they make up for the highest consumers of studio houses.

“For some reason, they still want to live close to their neighbours, and privacy is not a major consideration for this group. Nevertheless, a mere apartment is not enough for them, for they want ‘what else comes with the package’.

“For example, does the apartment have a lift? Is there a swimming pool or a gym? What about internet services? Basically, their hunting is designed around an apartment that provides them with a fast-paced lifestyle,” she says.

Additionally, most young people tend to prefer living near towns, Kimutai reveals, mostly driven by the peer mantra of responding to the ‘where do you stay question’.

“The older age group is more interested in a place where they basically own the land — they love own-compound homes,” offers the property consultant.

REAL ESTATE

Asked whether the market is responding to these needs, Kimutai answers in the affirmative, observing that there are several developers who are putting up apartments with these extra amenities, such as gated communities set ups.

One big difference Kimutai has noticed over the years that sets the older and younger generation apart is the fact that the older generation really understand the value of real estate.

“I think it stems from experience. The older generation know what they want and it is very hard to convince them otherwise. Most will actually come to you knowing what they want beforehand” says Kimutai.

But the young generation is indecisive. “If you ask a young person to put some money in real estate, promising some returns after a period of time, most will be sceptical,” the property consultant says.

“One is likely to ask you, “you mean if I put that money in unit trust I won’t make more money?” So, they usually have all these other options.”

INVESTMENT

She adds that for most young people, owning property doesn’t seem like the ultimate goal.

She is however hopeful most will come around when they learn more and appreciate the value of real estate.

With the country facing a backlog of over two million houses, a figure that calls for more than 150,000 units every year according to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the government is taking deliberate steps to provide housing.

Through the ‘Affordable Housing’ pillar, it intends to adopt the rent-to-own model to provide half a million affordable houses.

“For me this is a welcome idea. I have already registered and I am looking forward to seeing how they will price those houses,” says Watoro.

Among his friends, he says, he is also championing the idea of forming a chama with one goal in mind: to use it as a housing investment vehicle.

Kenya: Youths Benefit With Marketing Of Their Produce

By Kenyanews.go.ke (Kimani Tirus)

The Embu County Government has entered into partnership with Habitat Intertrade, a marketing organization for marketing of horticultural products produced by local youth.

The contractual partnership will see over 400 youth trained on best agricultural practices in horticultural farming.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, the County executive for Agriculture, Ann Nyaga said the county government will ensure the local youth fully benefit from the program.

“The County government in conjunction with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will oversee and do follow ups on the actualization of the contract between the youth and the marketer,” Nyaga observed.

Nyaga said the initiative was birthed during Youth in Agriculture Summit held in Embu in February this year.

“We are focused on creating and enhancing market linkages so as to help the youth engaged in agriculture to market their produce,” she added.

Patrick Maina, representative of FAO in Embu said so far, the organization has trained 7, 800 farmers aimed at enhancing production and bringing profitability to farmers.

Maina said that the organization will help the youth go beyond production by ensuring they get market for their produce.

“With contract farming, the youth will be assured of profitability for their agricultural activities hence we are
partnering with the county government to oversee this project,” he noted.

On his part, Ken Kimathi, CEO Habitat Intertrade said they have pooled their resources together to buy farm produce from the youth and other farmers.

He said the demand for the horticultural produce is very high and has encouraged many young people to get involved in agriculture instead of waiting for white colour jobs which are not forthcoming.

He said in this partnership with Embu county government, they are going to establish seed bed for establishing various crops for farmers to ensure quality and health varieties.

Kimathi said the organization will also establish collection centres on every ward, where horticultural produce from the contracted youth will be collected.

Joshua Muriithi, a beneficiary of the program appreciated the county government for ensuring its successful
implementation.

At the same time, Muriithi thanked the government for connecting the young with financial institutions for affordable financing.

Kenya: Elders form team to lobby for Lapsset jobs on behalf of youths

By The-star.co.ke (CHETI PRAXIDES)

Lamu Council of Elders has formed a special team to plead for jobs at the Lapsset project on behalf of local youths.

The move follows the nearing of completion of works at the first berth at the port site. The berth will be complete by the end next month. The other two berths will be completed by next year.

Locals have been agitating for jobs, saying they should be given first priority in employment opportunities once operations start.

The elders’ special committee will meet the Lapsset board and lobby for jobs for local youths. They want the job opportunities announced to the youths before the vacancies are advertised.

The Lapsset board has already announced the first cargo ship will dock at the port by November to usher in the start of the shipping component of the project.

The Lappset project plan includes a 32-berth port, transportation hubs for rail, highway and international airports in Lamu, Isiolo and Lodwar, an oil pipeline from South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia to Lamu, an oil refinery and three resort cities in Isiolo, Lamu and Turkana.

Speaking in Lamu town on Thursday, the council of elders led by chairman Sharif Kambaa said the community wasn’t pleased with the manner in which local youths have been marginalised in terms of employment at the port.

He said it was unfair that most of those employed at the Lapsset were from outside Lamu yet locals were languishing in poverty and joblessness.

They said residents had high hopes in Lapsset and were looking at the project to provide employment.

“We know the ships will begin coming in once the berth is completed. As such, there will be more employment opportunities. Our youth have missed out for long and that’s why we are sending a special delegation to plead for the jobs on their behalf. It’s only deserving that they are given first priority,” Kambaa said.

The elders criticised the Lapsset board for failing to involve them in decisions and matters concerning the port. “We are the elders of this land and our opinion and contribution must be sought. They need our blessings when they will be opening the first berth and we look forward to working with the board in future,” Kambaa said.

Deputy chairman Mohamed Mbwana said the elders were considering legal redress if the marginalisation in terms of employment persists.

“Former president Mwai Kibaki made a pledge that we’ll be given first priority. Why are people trying to change that. We will go to court if we have to,” Mbwana said.

Kenya: Youth Survey Shows Perception Of Safety, Police And Educators

By Kpbs.org (Priya Sridhar)

Halima Musa and her cousins are part of a group called City Heights Youth for Change, made up mostly of first generation African refugee students from City Heights. In the past few years, the group has worked to get halal food into San Diego schools so kids could have healthy and culturally appropriate choices. They also worked to get voter registration numbers up in their neighborhood.

Now, the group has completed a survey of 300 City Heights young people to document how they view their community.

Musa and her cousins moved to City Heights from Kenya as young kids. Now, the young women are in college and have made it their mission to be ambassadors of City Heights to the rest of San Diego.

“Most of the time when the media comes into City Heights it’s only to report on stuff that’s bad. But when youth are being involved in political action or being involved in their school nobody’s really there to showcase it and let people know that the youth in City Heights are really invested in their community,” Musa said.

She says they wanted to control the dialogue about where they grew up and let local leaders know what the next generation thinks they need to focus on.

“We felt that as City Heights youth, we are never really at the forefront of telling what City Heights is like. So we wanted to get other input from youth like us and get them to tell us how they feel City Heights can be improved or how it is now,” she said.

Their latest survey took almost two years to complete. The group looked at young people’s feelings towards law enforcement and educators and safety in their community.

They found that as City Heights youth got older, their relationships with law enforcement became more negative. They also found that young men were more likely to have a negative relationship with police than young women.

“Most of the younger kids that were the same age as me, they don’t really trust the police either because of the conflicts that happen between the youth and the police officers,” said Sahra Mkoma, a member of City Heights Youth for Change and Musa’s cousin.

Not all of the findings were negative, Musa says she was surprised by some of the positive perceptions young people had of City Heights, like the way they saw their teachers.

“We found that most students feel like their teachers are really engaged in what they’re learning and they’re really helping them throughout the process in helping them become better students and better people. But they just don’t have the resources to make sure that their students are actually successful,” she said.

The other big takeaway — the young women hope gets the attention of City Heights leaders — is the youth’s perception of safety in their community. They found that as young people got older, they tended to feel less safe. They also found that young people felt the least safe in parks around schools in City Heights.

“People feel like schools, specifically parks surrounded by schools, are the most unsafe parts of the community, which I feel like should change because that’s usually where kids spend their time,” Musa said.

Isha Mkoma, Musa’s other cousin says even though City Heights needs some improvements she wants the rest of San Diego to know how great her neighborhood is.

“It’s a great community to live in, the people are very friendly, it’s very diverse and everybody … once you tell them to come to a place they will all be helpful, they’re very helpful around here,” Mkoma said.