Nairobi News

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What Kenyan youth love and dread most — study

A comfortable life, family and good health rank among the important things for young people between the ages of 26-30 years.

This is according to the 2018 “Holla” study that surveyed young people across the country.

The survey also revealed the extent to which cancer has permeated society and the awareness of it by youth, with those interviewed ranking it up there with HIV and Aids and death as what they dread the most.

Contrary to the belief that young people are significantly different from the older generations, this study shows that young people hold the same values as the older generation.

Values such as community welfare, respect for elders, caring for the extended family and the idea of marriage for life are some of the key values for Kenyan youth.

Many parents would be disappointed to know that 53 per cent of Kenyan youth had their first drink under the age of 20 and their alcoholic drinks of choice are beer, spirits and wine.


When it comes to sexual debut, nearly all young people between the ages of 13-19 surveyed have already had their first sexual encounter, while 67 per cent of youth surveyed aged between 20-25 years had their first sexual encounter below the age of 20.

Of those interviewed, 61 per cent of youth aged between 13-19 years use condoms as a mode of contraception, while injections remain the most popular form of contraception—76 per cent—among the older youth between the ages of 26-30 years.

When it comes to their diet, young people give preference to fruits and vegetables, meats, the staple meal of ugali, greens and meat, rice and then bread. They prefer food that is easy and quick to prepare over food that might take longer to prepare like chapati and mandazi.


Relationships play a significant role in the lives of many young people who turn first to their family members for marital advice (54 per cent) followed by religious leaders and professional counsellors at 25 per cent.

Interestingly, when it comes to advice on sexual matters, young people would rather get the advice from their friends (36 per cent) compared to family members.

But what do young people seek in relationships? The older they get, the more they prefer friendships and romance in relationships. While the younger youth between the ages of 13-19 prefer short term fun in relationships, older ones tend to look out for long term relationships leading to marriage.

Kenyan youth are increasingly becoming entrepreneurial, with many preferring to run their own businesses compared to seeking employment.

Only 38 per cent of youth surveyed have a stable income, suggesting high unemployment rates.


When asked what they would prefer between employment and self-employment, only 16 per cent preferred employment compared to 49 per cent who prefer to run their own business and 36 per cent who want to reap from both employment and self-employment.

Gambling remains a key recreational activity for Kenyan youth with 37 per cent admitting to using gambling services to acquire more money.

Virtual mobile accounts, compared to saccos and chamas are the most popular modes of saving money for young people.

Thirty-eight per cent say they prefer mobile money to carry out their transactions like paying of bills.

Sixty-eight per cent of young people have no form of insurance for reasons such as lack of money, lack of interest, they deem it too expensive and lack of knowledge.

Out of the minority that have insurance, 90 per cent have medical insurance and the National Health Insurance Fund topped the list of insurers amongst young people.