By Diana Dorine




We all understand the importance of quality education in today’s highly complex global economy. For so many of us, we have been afforded the opportunity to access quality education that sometimes we miss noticing the many more young people around us that have been deprived of such luxury. Or maybe we take our privilege for granted. You will be shocked to learn that about 750 million adults remain illiterate in the world. Two-thirds of the number being female. From this 27% are from Sub-Saharan Africa.  A significant number of schools in Sub-Saharan Africa lack the basic elements of good quality education which include: lack of access to trained teachers and inadequate facilities like handwashing facilities, computers, and even access to clean drinking water. This is according to a UN report on SDG released in 2019.

The detrimental effects cannot be overlooked; The inability of young people to access quality education creates greater hurdles in fostering upward socioeconomic mobility.

  • Not so many people would wish to remain stuck in the informal sector of the workforce.
  • The frustrations by the youth who end up not being absorbed in the job market despite investing a lot financially in their higher learning.
  • Young people resorting to criminal activities and drug and substance abuse in the name of making a living. All these in a way maintain the endless cycle of poverty.

What if we can change the narrative?

When we look at it from the statistics point of view, the whole concept seems so unattainable to find solutions that could be viable. Nonetheless, let us clean our innovative glasses and focus more on what you as an individual can do today and now. If you are reading this article, chances are you have all it takes to contribute to a more inclusive and equal education system in your community. It is said that the youth continue to project an increase in the number of those that can access education or schooling for that matter.

So why not extend it to those that need it as well?

Meet Dennis Otieno, a Mentor volunteering at the Equity Group Foundation. Dennis is a final year student pursuing a degree in Microbiology, at UOE (University of Eldoret). I had a chance to interact with him at a more intimate level and my oh my! I was surprised by his passion for the young adolescent students he is mentoring. He has been mentoring for quite some time now. The one aspect he centers on, in all his mentorship and coaching sessions is for all his mentees to understand that making it through high school and, life ultimately,is not determined by the economic background they come from but rather remaining disciplined enough to attain excellence. When asked why he’d show up in all mentorship sessions, this is what he had to say,

“I mentor because I would like to see empowered youth who believe in God and themselves”

JUST LIKE Dennis, you too can take a step today. For most of us, we look at the complex hindrances making us believe that we cannot contribute to a greater good in our capacities. But for Dennis, he understands full well that if any change is to occur, it has to begin with him. And he is tackling issues in the education sector from the ground up. Grooming young people to believe in their abilities despite the harsh economic realities that most young people face in their communities. A constant reminder to his mentees about the value of utilizing the chance of a good education as a tool for empowerment.

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