DAN RONOH runs a youth organisation in Kericho, Kenya. This is his introduction to the town in which he lives, and the role his Cluster seeks to play there... Kericho is famous for tea. It’s situated in Kenya’s western highlands, where tea plantations dominate the scenery and the economy. The two biggest employers in town – Unilever and James Finlay – are both tea-growers. People here are very enterprising. Our government devolves budgets to the county level, and the public are able to participate in determining these budgets. This makes people more aware of opportunities to start or grow their own enterprise, and an enterprising mindset is common across Kenya. We sometimes joke that corruption is devolved, as well as money. Corruption is a big problem here. This is why I and other Cluster members want to model better leadership. I help co-ordinate the Kericho regional work of Kenya’s Emerging Leaders Foundation for this reason. Cluster members also use SALT to engage local leaders in a productive and meaningful way. Like the rest of Kenya, Kericho has a very young population. Most of our Cluster members work to provide opportunity and support to young people, whether it be my own youth work, Patricia’s community library, Christine’s hair salon or Teresa’s rehabilitation centre. Young people here face many challenges. Alcohol and drugs are a big problem. Gambling is becoming more and more of a problem too – young people do it on their mobile phones. Teenage pregnancy is a big issue as well – the rate of teenage pregnancy is about 21% in Kericho County. Mental health and suicide are also becoming more visible. As a Cluster we mainly meet to share stories and opportunities with one another. Some of our members have formed partnerships together, we refer each other for help, we have learned SALT together which is so valuable for engaging with our community, and we provide encouragement to one another. All these things help strengthen our own work in serving local youth.
Learn more about Kericho Cluster here.