Youth Unemployment: How Youths Can Use Their Free Time 

 October 4, 2016

By  BTK Staff

Kenya is an economically advantaged country but despite all these positives, the unemployment rates continue to soar up. According to Forbes, Kenya’s unemployment rates as at 2015 stood at 40%, with one out of five youths being unemployed.

A sneak preview of East Africa Community member states’ unemployment rates shows that Kenya is doing worse in terms of unemployment. In Uganda and Tanzania, only one out of twenty youths is unemployed. Is the government to blame? Maybe yes, maybe not.

Being unemployed should not be treated as a curse, but a blessing in disguise. As an unemployed youth, what you do with your time matters how your life will be tomorrow. Here are simple strategies you can use to deal with unemployment to your advantage:

Strategy #1: Maximize on your Talent

A photo by Gabriel Gurrola. unsplash.com/photos/2UuhMZEChdcThe oxford dictionary defines talent as a natural endowment of a person or the natural abilities that each person has. Also, talent is a God given gift.

Talent can make you good money if you take advantage of it.

Look at McDonald Mariga, Victor Wanyama, David Rudisha, Lupita Ny’ong’o, Daniel Ndambuki (Churchill), Eric Omondi, etc. All these guys are what they are because they discovered their talents and made themselves recognizable.

Good academic qualifications are not a must to develop your talent. But good academic qualifications combined with talent are a plus. Not all the successful persons listed above have good academic qualifications. Actually, little is known about their education level.

Here a four ways to identify a talent:

a)      Listen to others

Do you remember your friend telling you how good you are at XYZ? Maybe you were not listening! Listen to what people tell you.

b)      Determine what is easy

There could be things that you find it easy to do ,while you struggle in doing other things (I struggle singing, so that’s definitely NOT my talent!)

c)      Determine what you enjoy most

What do you enjoy doing? Probably, you are obsessed with dancing or listening to certain genre of music (SPORTS PESA is definitely NOT a talent!)

d)      Just ask

Do you have that friend who gives you an honest answer to every question? Ask them what your talent could be, and ask them to ignore your bad habits. Compile a list of what they say your talent is and review the list to see what matches your expectations.

Everybody has a talent. If you have not discovered your talent, do a soul searching and find what you love doing.

And if you have a talent, which is it? Are you a good singer, dancer, writer, footballer, tennis-player, athlete, or maybe a good debater? Maximize on your talent and be recognizable.

Strategy #2: Take advantage of your free time

ExerciseeeeWhen you are unemployed, you’ve got a lot of free time.

But what do you do to empower yourself with the free time?

Most of the times, we find ourselves condemning the government, our families and ourselves because they are the reason you are unemployed. But you should not do that! Instead, do the following to keep yourself busy:

a)      Do exercises

You don’t need a fully equipped gym to exercise. Use what you have at home to keep your body active and revitalize your spirit.

Doing exercise is good for your mental and physical health and that is why the most successful people allocate time for physical exercises.

Doing exercises several times a week helps you relieve stress, oxygenate your brain, burn calories and have a perfect body. Exercises help you to remain disciplined and become more productive especially if you have a demanding work environment.

b)        Read, Read and Read.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of reading. You should build a reading culture if you want to stay productive.

Whether you are reading the biography of Nelson Mandela, Migunas ‘Peeling Back the Mask’ or Donald Trumps’ ‘Think like a Billionaire’, reading gives you a better understanding of the world.

Whether you are reading fiction or non-fiction books, you appreciate the environment you are living in, get new ideas and change bad habits that make you unproductive. Also, reading helps build your semantic comprehension and communication skills.

Get that book or magazine and start reading!

c)       Volunteer

Volunteering your skills and knowledge to the community makes you active and beneficial to the community you live in.

There are lots of volunteering opportunities in the community that you can participate in. Alternatively, you can start a volunteering initiative in your community and invite other community members to participate.

Whether you are mentoring young adults in the community, helping in cleaning the town, or offering free lessons at the nearby school, volunteering activities go a long way in improving the community we live in.

Most employees consider volunteering experience as a plus when applying for a job vacancy and this goes a long way in boosting your career.

d)       Build Networks

Do you have networks outside your friends’ bracket?

Research shows that successful people are willing to interact and meet new friends regardless of their professions and careers.

There are multiple events around us that give us an opportunity to meet and interact with people who we have never met before. Be it a football game, music festival, a local Baraza, a student association meeting or a cultural night, networking opens new opportunities for you.

e)         Attend Classes

Learning should be a continuous process and should not end with your secondary education, certificate or college degree.

Learning equips you with new skills and introduces your to new aspects in life. Whether you are attending a supplementary course or a completely new subject different from your profession, every learning opportunity is good.

Keep an eye on upcoming workshops and training around you and attend several before the year ends.

Strategy #3: Venture into Agribusiness

Chicken coop, with chicken.In Kenya, agriculture was and still is viewed as an activity undertaken by the elderly or village residents in some quarters.

However, this analogy has changed over the years as people appreciate that agriculture can be turned into a money-making machine (literally) if managed well.

I have read and seen success stories of young people who have ventured into dairy farming, passion fruits farming, poultry farming, kiwi fruit farming, dairy goat farming, bee-keeping, watermelon farming, vegetable (tomato, capsicum, onions, etc.) farming and are making six and seven figure incomes.

Do you have an agribusiness idea that you’ve wanted to start? Don’t wait. Get started and don’t fear to make mistakes. The most successful people achieved their success because they made mistakes and learned from them.

Here is a list of Agribusiness ideas you could consider

  •  Dairy Farming
  •  Poultry farming
  •  Bee Keeping
  • Fish farming
  • Mushroom farming
  • Capsicum farming
  • Tomato farming
  •  Spinach and Sukuma wiki farming
  • Kiwi Fruit Farming

Related Article: The 7 Most Profitable Agribusiness Ideas to Implement before 2017

Strategy #4: Start a Business

An image of biasharatalk of farming busniessStarting a business sounds like a pretty bad idea especially if you lack capital.

But, you can start a business with zero capital.

You can choose whether to sell a product or a service. Depending on your preferences and available resources, you can start small and grow big.

Click here  to read examples of services you can sell.

Here are examples of simple businesses that you can start with Ksh. 0 -10, 000

  • Popcorn business
  • Second-hands clothes business
  • Sell fruits
  • Sell boiled eggs and sausages
  • Start a day care
  • Freelance writing (More on this coming)
  • Photocopy Business
  • Be paid to wash clothes
  • Start a car wash business

Related: Potential Signs that you are ready to start the Business

In Conclusion

While the government ‘could be’ seen to be doing something for Kenya’s youths, it’s time we moved from the comfort zone and do something that will change you and change the world positively.

The most successful people started from somewhere and they are not any different from who we are. Not forgetting that the most successful people are those who own businesses that started from zero with the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Kirubi and Donald Trump (though this man was given a small loan of $10 million/ Ksh.100m in the 1980s by his dad).

What are you doing to take advantage of being unemployed? I would like to hear from you in the comment box or via our Facebook Page.

BTK Staff

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