Dr. Awiti of the East African Institute at the Aga Khan University: Involve youth in the fight against corruption

Research & Perspective by A. Maherali for Ismailimail

The youth must be at the forefront of the anti-corruption effort because a survey commissioned by the East African Institute of the Aga Khan University reveals a staggering deficit of integrity among Kenyan youth.

 

For example:

  • 50% believe it does not matter how one makes money as long as one does not go to jail
  • 50% the youth surveyed would vote for a candidate who paid them a bribe
  • 70% + are afraid of standing up for what is right for fear of retribution
  • 35% would take or give a bribe

On the bright side:

  • 77% of the youth believe Kenya will be richer materially, offering better access to quality education, healthcare, and more jobs for the youth
  • 67% believe our society will reward merit and hard work
  • 48 % are entrepreneurial and would like to own and run their own business
  • 40% strongly believe it is important to pay taxes on earned income
  • 26% would settle for paid employment in the traditional professional fields of law, medicine, teaching, accounting and engineering

Dr. Alex Awiti, Director,  East African Institute at the Aga Khan University

Dr. Awiti of the East African Institute at the Aga Khan University: Involve youth in the fight against corruption


Corruption creates and increases poverty and exclusion. While corrupt individuals with political power enjoy a lavish life, millions of Africans are deprived of their basic needs like food, health, education, housing, access to clean water and sanitation.”

José Ugaz, Chair, Transparency International

Dr. Awiti of the East African Institute at the Aga Khan University: Involve youth in the fight against corruption


By Alex O. Awiti.   Published Dec. 22, 2015, 6:00 am

Kenya’s median age is estimated at 19. About 80 per cent of Kenya’s population is below 35 years old. Hence, we are a very youthful society.

The future of our country, and indeed its best years, are in the years ahead and lie in the hands of our young men and women.

Fundamentally, the future will be determined by how we educate our children; their values, ethics, what they understand to constitute success and the enterprise; how we nurture and harness their creative drive and orientation to innovation.

Besides the struggle for independence, the fight against corruption is perhaps the most consequential war of liberation of our time. This in my view is the definitive struggle to set free the body and soul of our country.

Roaring corruption along with impunity and greed has held this country in bondage for over half a century. Corruption is pervasive and has ruined our judicial system, the police, education, politics, business, public service and even churches.

Dr. Awiti of the East African Institute at the Aga Khan University: Involve youth in the fight against corruption
We must take the anti-corruption crusade into our schools, colleges and universities. The youth of this country must be at the vanguard of this war.

The youth must be at the forefront of the anti-corruption effort because a survey commissioned by the East African Institute of the Aga Khan University reveals a staggering deficit of integrity among Kenyan youth.

For example, 50 per cent believe it does not matter how one makes money as long as one does not go to jail. About 35 per cent would take or give a bribe. Only 40 per cent strongly believe it is important to pay taxes on earned income.

Approximately half of the youth surveyed would vote for a candidate who paid them a bribe. More than 70 per cent are afraid of standing up for what is right for fear of retribution.

Moreover, 48 per cent are entrepreneurial and would like to own and run their own business, compared to only 26 per cent who would settle for paid employment in the traditional professional fields of law, medicine, teaching, accounting and engineering.

Furthermore, 77 per cent of the youth believe Kenya will be richer materially, offering better access to quality education, healthcare, and more jobs for the youth. Another 67 per cent believe our society will reward merit and hard work.

However, I find it hard to imagine that the entrepreneurial dreams of our children will flourish when they lack integrity, are willing to pay or receive a bribe, and will do anything to make money.

I find it hard to believe that a future that is prosperous and offers more jobs, high-quality education and improved access to health is even thinkable in a society drenched in impunity, greed and corruption.

SSA GCB infographics_FA_spreads-WEB-v24I believe that how we educate and mentor our children, from pre-school to university, must be a critical plank among other initiatives to:

i) prepare young people for the future, nurturing and channelling their creativity and innovation and supporting their desire to build and own their own enterprises;
ii) inculcate the values of ethics and integrity, adherence to the rule of law and civic responsibility.

I believe there is a great opportunity now, as we think about education reforms to think creatively about how education can be a vehicle for imparting sound moral and ethical values to the youth.

But we must ensure that the issues of ethics and integrity, how to build and just and fair society are not just taught as subjects to be examined but are presented as imperatives for citizenship.

The author, Dr. Alex  Awiti is the Director of the East African Institute at the Aga Khan University.

Sources:

 

Author: ismailimail

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