CHANGE IS HERE

The ‘A’ team. There is a desire to belong, but few can. To a clique? Certainly not, but the struggle to be part of something greater than the persona of self, a movement, mission of purpose, to create, impact and continuously do so. Isn’t this what we strive for? Be part of? Yet choose not to! “How?” you ask. You first think of your-self before our-self, you think of your milestones rather than of our milestones. You dream of being part, however the validity of your dream is dependent on your actions. With such witty thoughts, how do you be part of a mission that requires selflessness, resilience, commitment and conviction?
The year 2018, the philosophy of team work has never sunk so deep. Joining Emerging Leaders foundation, that “ahh” feeling with an end to end smile of satisfaction crossing your face, knowing change is here with us, knowing the toil and effort required and saying yes to be part of the change and more encouraging, the fact that you are not one or two but that you are a community, a multitude of change agents. The ninth wonder that should be included is how the Elf staff synchronize their work, the synergistic transfer of energy to where needed most such as that employed by all-wheel drive (AWD) in Subaru vehicles (it’s okay to google). It’s seamless and delivers quality results. Keep up you are my inspiration.
I celebrate cohort 5 2018 at ELF. You are the life changing experience of my 2018. You are creative, intelligent, persistent, resilient, compassionate, concerned, dependable, reliable, committed persons determined to improve yourself so as to improve their space of influence and community. Driven by Ubuntu, service through leadership and excellence in what we do, you are an inspiration of a team. Whatever you do, wherever you will go and to whom you will interact with keep being the inspiration.

 

Written By;
Lore Kouko – ELF Alumni (Cohort 5)

90% of Life is About Showing Up!

There is an old saying most often attributed to Woody Allen that “90% of life is showing up.” Actually, it turns out that the number is somewhere between 75 and 90, depending on the recollection of the person reciting the quote, but either way, the balance of life is about following up. Allen’s point is a good one. Just get involved, make the call, or introduce yourself. The results will astonish you.

My colleague always reminds us that we are the finest humans to ever walk the face of the earth; our great grandparents were not as smart and did not have as many opportunities as we do today. We have evolved into the ideal humans that our ancestors could not even dream about, in fact, should some of our ancestors rise from the dead today, they would go bonkers over what they would see. What sets us apart from other animals, is that we are story telling animals with the ability to organize ourselves.

In view of the foregoing, young people do not have the luxury of feeling hopeless or powerless today, across the country the chorus is the same “my governor hasn’t done …. Things cannot be done”. There is a feeling of indignation to a point where the youth even seem to think that voting will never change much.

But think about this; what hope or power did our fore fathers have when they were fighting the colonialist, the odds were against them, they did not have the numbers and neither did they have weaponry to face the oppressor. Yet against all odds a few men and women organised themselves and showed up for battle, thanks to them today we are a sovereign nation.

Better still let’s bring it closer and think about the second liberation; when young politicians and members of the civil society were demanding for political inclusion through the repeal of section 2A of the constitution, what power did they have? They were lone voices, strange voices demanding the unthinkable. But they dared to dream of a different society, the looked beyond themselves and reached out to a higher purpose, and look at us today? We have 63 political parties and across the country we can freely assemble to express our political beliefs.

Had these women and men given up or chose to dwell on what was not impossible, I doubt I would have even had the freedom to write this article, but because they dared to think and organise differently, we are where we are.

Fellow young people the onus is on us, things will only get better if we think and act differently, we must organise around issues and build teams in every county and sub-county to engage strategically with duty bearers, we must be willing to sustain the murmur long enough. Nobody understands youth issues like the youth themselves, hence we are best placed to do youth advocacy. Society always turns to young people in its hour of need, can we be counted on; because truth is, things are messed up all around us.

To the youth of Kilifi, who are the inspiration of this post; thank you for showing up for the Tunaweza training, we have built your capacity and we believe that you guys have assembled the best team to start meaningful engagement with your county officials. Don’t tire! And never loose sight of the antelope because of a dashing squirrel. 

 

 

Written by Jim India

Communication Officer

Emerging Leaders Foundation

CELEBRATING IMPACT; ONE CHILD AT A TIME

In the year 1954, The United Nations’ (UN) Universal Children’s Day was established. With an annual celebration on November the 20th, the goal is to promote awareness and togetherness towards the plight of children in the world. All over the globe, countries come together to honor children with an aim to protect them from labor abuse and allow them access to quality education.

As, we celebrate this day in Kenya, it is important that we reflect on what we wish to achieve. The date offers each and every one of us an entry point through which we can continue to advocate and promote children’s rights. As an organization that targets the youths between the ages of 15- 25, we particularly celebrate our teens who are still children according to Article 260 of the Kenyan Constitution that provides that a “child” means an individual who has not attained the age of eighteen years.

In marking this day, we engage in the national dialogue on how to implement actions that will build a better society for our children. We actively participate in the conversation that seeks to address the rise in the number of teenage pregnancies as witnessed during the just concluded KCPE examinations. In acknowledgement of the rights of the child especially the right to free and compulsory basic education and protection from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, inhuman treatment and punishment, we aim to empower the Kenyan child to understand themselves.

In our approach as an organization we seek to encourage agency. Our interaction with the children is defined. With an approach of where there is smoke, a fire will emerge. We aim to scatter the ashes before it is too late. Our interaction seeks to ensure that after the students have gone through our leadership development programme, they are able to be equipped with decision making abilities, communication skills and emotional intelligence. The child, regardless of gender is able to act independently and to make their own free choices regardless of those factors of influence in their environment.

Therefore, even as we celebrate the child today, I welcome all stakeholders from the parents, teachers, churches, government, civil society activists, corporate sector and the youth in our communities, let us continue to consolidate our efforts towards making a better society for our children.

 

 

Books as an investment for the future

Growing up, my lower primary teacher always highlighted how reading at least one-story book per week is important. The books were interesting for sure but the fact that reading was compulsory made it seem more of a duty and less as interesting. Therefore, when my teacher no longer expected the same anymore, I stopped reading. I lost interest in feeding my mind. For a long time, I read only to pass tests, or to get the latest information and updates. I know I am not just speaking for myself. This is a reflection of what happens to most of us whereby we have lost the very necessary personal relationship with books. We fail to nourish our minds. We forget that books are the visas to all kinds of knowledge, intelligence and wisdom. It’s through books that we can travel to any part of the world for free,  live through past times that occurred before our existence, and have a feel of the future while seated on that couch enjoying a warm mug of black coffee.

It is books that empower us with our history, the knowledge to create solutions and how to engage in useful conversations. During my ELF training on Pan-Africanism in October, an intelligent Jackson Bigambo mentioned that he had read 3000 books and still counting. He challenged me to adapt a reading culture. He spoke of the depth derived from the coloured pages and how the words jump into action to empower an individual. The beauty of books is that they exist for all of us- for those who love stories about historical heroes,  the magic of medicine, the art of business or the game of politics. There are books to accommodate all of our interests; found in both hard copy and soft copy.

So today I want to pose to you the Jackson Bigambo challenge; will you pick up that book, read the link to that blog, the constitution or the  newspaper and begin to nourish your mind?

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest ~ Ben Franklin

Submitted by

Faith Wachira

Secretary;ELF Cohort 5

REACHING OUT TO THE NEW GENERATION OF LEADERS

School leadership is second only to teaching among school-related factors in its impact on student learning and cannot be ignored. The question that many people ask is what makes one school to be a high-performance institution and another school to record poor results?

Our nation’s underperforming schools and children are unlikely to succeed until we get serious about leadership. School leadership refers to the deliberate effort to enlist and guide the talents and energies of teachers, students, parents, policy makers and other educational stakeholders towards achieving common educational goals and academic success. This can be achieved through collaborations to improve the education process, materials and training. Educational institutions need leaders who have a vision for improving and ensuring quality in learning and management. This begins from the top levels of ministry to the basic level of parents ensuring there is a clear plan on how to promote student learning and growth.

In Kenya, there is a great concern over the type of leadership guiding and influencing our students. In the 43rd Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association Annual Conference held in Mombasa in June 2018, the meeting highlighted some of the challenges facing care givers in whom we entrust our children. One of the agendas was how to address cases of laxity in performance and sexual harassment of students by teachers and school staff among others.

The education sector plays a key role in molding the future generation of this country. As such we cannot afford to take a back sit as we witness wrong doing and lowered standards in the sector. As different stakeholders it is important that we play our part to ensure our students get through the highest quality and standards of education despite being in a public or private institution. The backbone of how this will be implemented falls and rises on leadership.

The quality of training and qualification of school heads should be evaluated. It is also important to ensure that there is regular capacity building for these individuals to ensure they are in a position to influence good teaching and effective learning. We can have strategic training programs aimed at enhancing the care holders’ knowledge in working effectively with the school and education community at large.

It is with leadership development as one of the solutions, that we shall witness effective leadership and well-developed institutions in our education systems. This will automatically have a trickle effect among the different stakeholders eventually reaching the students.

 

Written By;

Sofina Merinyo

Ass. Programmes Officer,

Schools Leadership Development.