Mentorthon, an initiative seeking to empower young generation

Iten International Marathon winners receive their awards second edition at Iten town, Elgeyo Marakwet county prsoded over by deputy governor Prof.Grace Cheserek. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

An initiative to mentor learners in the North Rift region has benefited schools in Elgeyo Marakwet county as it targets to cover adjacent counties.

The programme dubbed 'Mentorthon' seeks to encourage learners to achieve their goals and inculcate in them holistic character, including environmental conservation through tree planting.

Mentorthon has been coined from mentorship and marathons to champion reach-out initiatives to the wider region and boost the morale of children to achieve their lifelong goals.

Currently at its fifth edition, Mentorthon, working with over 20 partners, including The Standard Group as a media sponsor, targets more than 25,000 Form Four candidates, plant over 80,000 trees, and donate 5,000 books in four counties this year.

Tim Kipchumba, the president and founder of the initiative, said they plan to extend high school editions of Mentorthon this year Baringo,  West Pokot, and Marsabit Counties this year.

Yesterday, the initiative took its programmes to Kaptagat Girls, Simotwo Boys, Sing'ore Girls and Tambach Boys, all in Elgeyo Marakwet county.

Today, the team will reach out to candidates in Marakwet Boys, Moi Kapcherop, Sambirir Girls, and Queen of Peace School.

Kipchumba said the journey that started in 2016 has seen immense transformation, reaching out to several schools across Elgeyo Marakwet county.

Kipchumba said at least 10 million youths in the country who are not in employment are turning to drug and substance abuse, and gambling for quick money.

He noted betting had taken control of the young generation, wasting away the skills they had achieved in school.

"We are in a generation where struggling for a better tomorrow is no longer a dream but a waste of time and energy,” he said.

The team comprising youth from Elgeyo Marakwet yesterday converged at the institutions in Keiyo North and Keiyo South bringing form four classes for mentorship.

Tambach Boys High School Principal Reuben Kirwa said young people, especially students, needed a lot of mentorship.

He said boys and girls are looking for quick money through easy ways and that guiding some of them has been a task. He said the programme is ideal since it reaches out to the youth while at school.

AIC Kessup Girls Principal Chesina Diana said among the issues affecting the young generation is peer pressure, LBTGQ, and drug abuse.

She said students are becoming reluctant when it comes to pushing for the top seeing their elder brothers and sisters idling at home due to unemployment.

"You cannot push this generation to study for employment. Many are saying hobbies and talents are the only way out of tarmacking for jobs," she said.

Tambach High School alumni Kevin Ruto, who is also championing for environmental conservation through planting trees, said a good environment through tree growing in schools translate to good results.

He said training students on the correct ways of planting trees will translate into a more active and responsible citizenry in the society.