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Rethinking the Relevance of the National Youth Service Scheme in Emerging Democratic States: Evidence from Kenya

Edmond Maloba Were


National service schemes are one of the significant avenues that states have adopted to manage existential threats, realize nation building, and promote civic engagement among young men and women 18 to 24 years old. Despite the significance of such programs, their implementation faces criticism for infringing on individual freedoms and liberties and for indoctrinating and militarizing. Security-conscious states have implemented national service schemes that feature both compulsory and voluntary programs that focus on secondary and postsecondary students. Many African countries adopted such programs after they achieved independence while others do so in postconflict situations. Kenya currently faces a security quagmire that includes the radicalization of many young people. In this context, the country needs to actively engage its youth in constructive programs.

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Published by the University of Florida Press on behalf of the Association of Global South Studies.