Kenya’s Nairobi Catholic Archdiocese Strategize “maximum transition” to Address Declining Youth Numbers

Fr. Victor Mbuthia (left) during the 2023 MYM annual Archdiocesan Mass. Credit: ACI Africa

The number of young people across different age groups has been on a decline in Kenya’s Archdiocese of Nairobi (ADN), an official of the Archdiocese has said, noting that the Archdiocese is implementing strategies to ensure that young people do not abandon the Church.

In an interview with ACI Africa on the sidelines of a youth council meeting to plan for the country’s national youth convention in November, ADN’s youth chaplain, Fr. Victor Mbuthia, said that the Kenyan Archdiocese has embarked on strategies to ensure that there is a smooth transition of youths from one age group to another, until they eventually join senior categories of the Church in the East African country.

“The main challenge we have in the Nairobi Archdiocese is that we are losing the young people along the various age brackets,” Fr. Mbuthia said in the Tuesday, April 16 interview, adding that if the transition problem is managed, then it will be “a big plus” for the Archdiocese that is under the pastoral care of Archbishop Philip Anyolo.

He added, “In October last year, we had a transition training seminar. The training was about having the maximum transition from one group to the other.”

The member of the Clergy of the Kenyan Archdiocese explained the different groups of young people under his care based on the age brackets and objectives.


According to Fr. Mbuthia, the youth office takes care of young people aged between 13 to 35. These are grouped into three; Missionary Youth Movement (MYM) aged 13 to 17; Youth Serving Christ (YSC) aged 18 to 26 and Young Catholic Adults (YCA) aged 27 to 35.

He explained that there's a continuous decrease in the number of young people in each youth bracket, which he blamed on gaps along the transition process.

To maintain the membership numbers, Fr. Mbuthia explained that youth animators have received training to support MYM members, who are the youngest in the group. He emphasized that this training aims to facilitate a smooth transition from one age group to the next, ensuring that members are retained throughout the process.

“We also had the formation of the priests where we had a meeting with all priests in the Archdiocese of Nairobi and we had a conversation about the youth,” he said, adding that the formation explored programs that can keep young people busy.

The Archdiocese has suggested creating a youth hub in each parish, the Kenyan priest said, adding that the hub would be a designated area where young people could convene, participate in recreational activities, and discuss their interests and projects.

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“We've been regularly meeting with the young people to monitor their progress in various activities,” he said, and added, “At the end of this year, we plan to convene another meeting to gather feedback on their challenges and explore ways to enhance the effectiveness of their group.”

In the April 16 interview, Fr. Mbuthia said that the youth office of ADN is seeking to tap into the anticipated partnership between the Kenya-based Tangaza University College (TUC) and Uniservitate, a program for the promotion of service-learning in Catholic Higher Education.

The Kenyan Priest said that the program that will be launched on Saturday, April 20 will partly fund the training of MYM animators.

Fr. Mbuthia underlined the need for more efforts to complement the ones already taken to keep the numbers of young people up.

“We need progressive formation among the young people because catechesis is only done at the earlier stages of our youth. We need faith formation to foster growth of faith,” he said.


Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.