To be honest, the ladies in the NYS campaign are pretty. If any young man is looking for any motivation to join the service there is no need to go beyond the Ads. I know what you are thinking – they are just models. Imposters. Well, we both don’t have any evidence to support our claims but I like my assumption better.
Enough of the shallow conversation. Let’s go deeper;
This is a great initiative Mr. President. It’s a step in the right direction. 70% of Kenya’s population is below the age of 34 years. There is definitely a need to tap into this resource. Sadly, a lot of the work that NYS does often goes unmentioned. I would have mentioned some of their work but their website is now about their future not their past; a minor oversight on their part.
When selling a product it important to give its history. How long has it been in the market and what are its success stories so far? Most importantly, why do I need to get the product? It not enough to make a sensational ad, content is key when marketing for ownership. I Love the ad but I am also of the opinion that to achieve its objectives the government needs to package NYS in a more youth friendly way.
Let’s start with the target audience of these campaigns.
“…The Kenyan youth aged between 18 and 25 years…”
I am yet to see a young person who has just left high school and wants to VOLUNTARILY go through a system that makes them feel as if they are back in high school but with primary school rules. Let’s not lie to ourselves, we are talking about the youth coming from an education system that has made them feel like a prison for the last 12 years! Youth at this stage want a sense of freedom and independence.
The only idea that most youth have of NYS is what they see on TV during national holidays; young men and women following orders. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Most of us thought that careers are about money until we realized there are responsibilities involved before you get the money. So in my view, NYS should package the 6 months as a critical practical step towards the youths careers.
“…with a passion for Country and National Pride and only those who want to be a part of the change our country is seeking…”
Apart from being the target to be recruited into vigilante groups, Kenyan youths are also dealing with an education system that is burdensome, unemployment, lack of representation in the country’s leadership to mention but a few.
There is very little effort that is going into developing their national pride before they are 18 years. Given a chance, most of them will leave the country and go to any country that is branding itself as “the land of opportunities”. Many have a passion, but against the country.
Look at the hate that is always trending on social media and the tribal stereotyping that has become the Kenyan norm. National pride is a myth. A whisper in the shadows. A bed time story that we tell our children to fall asleep.
So now, what next?
Am glad you asked. First, don’t make the service recruitment optional, make it mandatory. Let all youth be on the same level regardless of where they come from. This will give the impression that the service is an opportunity for everyone not just a special few.
Please change the spade emblem. Let it be something that gives the impression that it’s a source of pride not work. Why not use lions they have better symbolism. They protect provide and have a status. Make the youth identify with a significant “brand”. How many of these young people have ever used a spade in the first place? Branding is everything!
Let the curriculum be about our heritage, our culture, our past and of course our future where we want to go. Sell the vision of the country to the youth. Show them the different routes that they could take to be part of the change; medical, technical, educational, musical etc. Make the youth appreciate and understand that whatever level they plug in certificate diploma or degree their output is valuable.
Equip them with relevant and practical skills. It’s ok to plant trees and do all other things NYS does but equip them with skills they will use in future. As much as a certain level of discipline is important don’t forget that waking up early for a jog won’t hold any water on their resume.
The idea behind NYS is noble. It’s the first step in the right direction. Let’s put some meat into the program. If you want the youth to be true to self, then you need to know what value you are adding to their lives before they can be true to their country.
Go on. Be Great!