Poll: Kenyan youth most op­ti­mistic glob­ally


Kenyan youth are more op­ti­mistic than older gen­er­a­tions about their fu­ture as well as that of the coun­try and the world, ac­cord­ing to the Goal­keep­ers Global Youth Out­look Poll re­leased last week.

To­gether with youth from Mex­ico, Kenyan youth were found to be the most op­ti­mistic in the world, with a 95 per cent rate of op­ti­mism. Kenyan adults were also found to be op­ti­mistic, com­ing in third at 90 per cent, just be­hind adults in Mex­ico and Nige­ria.

More than 40,000 re­spon­dents from 15 coun­tries in­clud­ing Kenya, were sur­veyed, with youth and adult par­tic­i­pants aged 12 and above. Most of the sur­veys were con­ducted on­line, ex­cept in Kenya, Nige­ria and In­dia, where in­ter­views were con­ducted face to face. In Kenya, 500 young peo­ple aged 12 to 17 years took part.

Ac­cord­ing to the poll, com­mis­sioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion and con­ducted by Ip­sos in July and Au­gust, 84 per cent of Kenyan youth are op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of the county, and 87 per cent are op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of the world.

Among adults, 78 per cent ex­pressed op­ti­mism about the fu­ture of the coun­try and the world. Fur­ther, 95 per cent of Kenyan youth and 83 per cent of adults said they were con­fi­dent that their liv­ing con­di­tions would im­prove in the next 15 years.

How­ever, de­spite reg­is­ter­ing high lev­els of op­ti­mism, the re­spon­dents noted some points of con­cern. Kenyan youth listed ed­u­ca­tion (31 per cent), health (20 per cent), cor­rup­tion (17 per cent) and se­cu­rity as the most wor­ry­ing is­sues of con­cern; while adults said that eco­nomic in­sta­bil­ity (26 per cent), health (25 per cent), unem­ploy­ment (23 per cent) and cor­rup­tion (21 per cent) were the most press­ing.

In health­care, more than half of the youth sur­veyed sin­gled out HIV/AIDS as the main health is­sue of con­cern, fol­lowed by can­cer, which was an is­sue of con­cern for a third of the re­spon­dents.

They also noted that al­most half (45 per cent) travel 30 to 60 min­utes to get to a health fa­cil­ity to ac­cess care for a ma­jor med­i­cal is­sue. Forty-one per cent of youth also noted that they do not have easy ac­cess to birth con­trol.

Young peo­ple also ex­pressed con­cern about the ef­fects of cli­mate change on their com­mu­ni­ties, with 63 per cent say­ing it is a sig­nif­i­cant threat.

Over­all, three out of four young peo­ple said their gen­er­a­tion would have a more pos­i­tive im­pact on the world than their par­ents’. While youth called on global lead­ers to fo­cus on im­prov­ing ed­u­ca­tion, pro­mot­ing health and pro­vid­ing ac­cess to jobs, two out of five young peo­ple said that they were not knowl­edge­able about pol­i­tics and gov­ern­ment, and four out of five felt that po­lit­i­cal lead­ers do not care about them. How­ever, ma­jor­ity felt that youth can make a dif­fer­ence in how the coun­try is gov­erned.

On gen­der equal­ity, 51 per cent of youth said life is not bet­ter for men than for women, and 79 per cent were hope­ful that life would be bet­ter for both men and women in the fu­ture. A few were less op­ti­mistic, with 18 per cent say­ing that life would be worse for boys and men, and 10 per cent say­ing that life would be worse for girls and women.


Young peo­ple en­joy­ing them­selves at an event. A sur­vey sam­pling 40,000 re­spon­dents (12 years and above) in 15 coun­tries has re­vealed that Kenyan youths are the most op­ti­mistic in the world.

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