NOT LOUD ENOUGH?

I take my stand and stand firm

Attention I yearn and yearn the most

My voice is heard up to the coast

I hope it sticks and sticks like gum

I’m I not loud enough?

………………………………………………….

When I speak and speak out

I say something and say it clear

Hoping freedom is near and really near

With every word and without doubt

I’m I not loud enough?

………………………………………………………..

I will make you listen, carefully listen

Better take notes, very thorough notes

I’ve heard quotes, your shady quotes

My points need glisten, brightly glisten

I’m I not loud enough?

…………………………………………………………..

Climb high on the mountains, the very high mountains

My voice not just loud, clear and loud

With every meaning I bound and tightly bound

This is special to all’ to all mundane

I’m I not loud enough?

…………………………………………………………

You pretend not to hear, not wanting me near

I still speak, and again I speak

My utterance meets its peak, its very high peak

I take position here, why don’t you see me here

I’m I not loud enough?

……………………………………………………………

Written By: Perpentual Wangari.

The impact of COVID-19 on Mental health especially on school-going children.

There has been disturbing news of students physically attacking their teachers and fellow students; not forgetting last months’ gruesome incident of a young man who butchered his almost his entire family, blaming it consuming mystery and murder series ‘killing eve’. In retaliation, Prof. George Magoha, the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Education has proposed the return of corporal punishments. The question however should be, will that be a good-enough solution to get our students disciplined or are there other root causes of students going on rampage that we should investigate as a society such as the impact of Covid-19 and their mental wellbeing? Are we just ignorant?

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought into focus its effect on different populations including school going children, according to journal of medical internet research , the pandemic has created new stressors and mental health challenges including fear and worry for oneself or loved ones, constraints on social activities and physical movement due to quarantine, sudden and radical lifestyle changes, where in Kenya, for instance, schools were promptly closed. The closure of schools and other education institutions caused increase in teenage pregnancies, rise of gender-based violence and increase of drug and substance abuse among many school going students which was experienced nationally, and it was established that school was a safe space for many students which was an underrated issue.

As the government, NGO’s and other stakeholders are putting efforts to come up with effective solutions and policies to better the situation, we have forgotten one important effect of Covid-19 to school going students and the entire population at large; mental ill-ness. There is stigma around families losing their loved ones due to Covid-19, anxieties and fear of losing our vulnerable family members to the pandemic, but we often forget the psychological and emotional toll on school-going students. According to Elizabeth Kubler, a renowned psychologist on loose and grief, there are five stages of bereavement which include: anger, denial, bargaining, depression and acceptance which due to lack of mental health awareness, school-going students are not accorded the chance to grieve. Hence, we get surprised when the suppressed feelings and emotions spill out and our children making them act out in bizarre manners since they have not been taught that it is okay not to be okay and that it is okay to grieve in whichever manner that they can since grief sits with everyone differently.

The ministry of education should work on holding capacity building forums for teachers in understanding mental health as a concept while bringing in its correlation with Covid-19 which will include understanding loss and grief and how to provide psychosocial support, this will be an important shift and change of dynamics since teachers would not forthright label their students as hardheaded but would consider understanding where they are coming from and offering the necessary support.

Secondly, the ministry of education should work together with the Ministry of Health to come up with policies that would make accessibility of mental health resources easy. Student based counselling centres should be made available while at the same time creating awareness around mental health, covid-19 and grief through student friendly avenues, like animations, magazines and games. This will help students have information on how they can be support systems for their friends at schools and improve awareness that will be important for family settings. Their psychological well-being will be improved, and they will always know where and at what point they need to get the necessary support to make their mental health better.

Written By: Amisa Rashid, Psychologist and My Sisters Keeper Fellow. She is also the founder of Nivishe Foundation

THE UNKNOWN POWER OF MINDSET

What you put in your mind will last for a lifetime but what you put on your body is temporary. Mindset is defined as a set of attitudes or fixed ideas that someone has and it’s often difficult to change. We all have different, somewhat diverse mindsets. We set our interests and focus on certain things for various reasons.

The extent to which mindsets affect our behaviors and attitudes, bears the greatest percentage. Your thoughts, what you believe in (beliefs), opinions, all your ideas and to some length, your assumptions all depend on your mindset. You will love what your mind will find to be pleasant to you. This might be the exact reason why we have different opinions, likes and dislikes.

As human beings we often take in most of what comes our way. Sometimes, we tend to overlook the fact that something is positive or negative. Is it really worth thinking about? Is it beneficial? Do I really need to be hearing/watching/listening to this? Why do love what does not deserve my interest?

Funny fact, our mindsets however different, may be greatly influenced by those around us. I tend to love or hate certain things or people depending mostly on whether the closest people around me do. Why do students hate certain subjects and love others? Simple, mindset! Changing one’s mindset will more than often change a lot about them. Their concept, opinion and general living will take a diverse turn once they change their thinking.

How does one’s concept influence attitude? We are often given the illustration of a glass half-filled with water. From this concept, do you see a glass half empty or a glass half-full? Half-filled brings the positivity of the illustration while half-empty means you are only seeing the negative angle in the illustration.

Will you set your mind to believe in everything that people make you believe? Won’t you want to reflect on whether it’s beneficial or not? Whether it’s worth taking in or not? The same way you decide on what you consume, it should similar when it comes to our mind-set.

Do not hate something or someone because of what you heard someone say. It is best when we base our assumptions on facts, not just opinions from anyone or everyone around us. Attitude makes a huge difference. Have a positive mindset. The results will not disappoint!

Written By: Perpentual Wangari.

An Ultimate Guide to Making the Right Choices in Romantic Relationships

Majority of our young men and women are perishing for lack of knowledge in the name of love. Whoever said love is blind was right. It makes one do stupid things to please their romantic partners. What we fail to understand is that some of these things that we do blindly can have lifetime effects on our lives and those close to us. Please note that a healthy relationship comprises of two people who want to be in one. So, as you get all lovey-dovey today remember that it may not always translate to the phrasal ‘happy ending’. Sometimes an unexpected plot twist may happen, ending your relationship in premium tears. As you follow your heart take your brain with you. 

Below are some pointers on what love is and what it is not.

  • Love is not Great Sex

Do you love them because they are good in bed? If yes, then you are sick and lost. Sex and love cannot be on the same table. Sex won’t make them stay but love will. Do not break your back for someone who is there to enjoy the moment. Remember they may get all acrobatic in bed and still not love you. Love is beyond physical gratification. It is connecting deeply with someone such that when you look into their eyes you see their soul.

  • Love should not Hurt

Love is a beautiful thing, and it does not hurt. It is the person you are in love with that hurts. Betrayal, abuse, loneliness, and rejection hurts but love erases that pain and makes one feel wonderful again. True love makes you happy in a way you have never experienced before so if it hurts it’s absolutely not true love. Do not get it twisted.

  • Love is not Obsessive 

There is a very thin line between love and obsession. To love is to want your partner to be happy and wish them the best even when you are not in their lives. On the other hand, obsession is an unhealthy longing to be with someone 24/7 or talk to them all the time. Obsessive love can lead to insecurities in a romantic relationship and cause unnecessary drama and pressure. Note the difference and make a wise choice. 

  • Love is not Uncertain 

Ambivalence in a relationship can be nerve-racking and lead to a rollercoaster of emotions. Your partner should be clear about where the relationship is headed to avoid unnecessary stress. It is either you are dating for marriage or a breakup. There is no dating for fun. Do not stomach the “let’s see where this is going” phrase. Stop asking them “what are we?” Raise the bar and vamoose from their lives for good because you deserve better. 

  • Love is not saying yes at the Expense of your Own Happiness 

Stop saying yes to everything to please people. You know what, your parents did not raise you to be miserable so that others can be happy. Learn to ask what is there for you, as well as saying no without feeling guilty. Take charge of your joy, your happiness, and your worth and protect it at all costs. If your partner can’t handle that kick them out. 

  • Love is Supportive 

If you look for nothing else in a partner, make sure you have a supportive one. It is important to have a partner who can be there during tough phases in life. Having a reliable support system gives a sense of security and pride. Support may be emotional and also financial when need be. It feels nice to have someone you can turn to during a crisis and receive immense support from them. 

  • Love is Work

Anything worth having demands effort and intentionality and true love is not an exemption. Love takes work to resolve disagreements. It takes intentionality to communicate and understand one another. Love requires nurturing and care for it to thrive. You deserve effort, you deserve consistency, and you deserve everything good that true love has in store. Anything short of that is not worth your energy.

When all is said and done, you are the only one who can decide if you are happy or not. Until you believe you deserve better you will always attract the same version of what you disposed. Take care of your heart and value yourself. At the end of the day, all that matters is how content you are with your story.

Happy Valentines 🙂

By: Shalom Musyoka, ELF Alumni, Cohort 8.

MY SISTERS KEEPER PROGRAM; A LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE

For the longest time, I thought that you must have a position for you to be considered a leader. I thought that leadership roles and responsibilities belonged only to the ‘leaders’. I used to try so hard to change my behavior so that I could fit in, never believing in myself while constantly letting other peoples’ opinions inform my decisions. All these beliefs and doubts prevented me from doing the things I loved. I was lucky enough to find light at the end of the tunnel.

In the past few weeks, I have been attending MY SISTERS KEEPER, a training program by Emerging Leaders Foundation. The goal of the overall project is to promote accountable leadership among young women in the health sector. Being chosen for the program was a complete honor.  I remember the mixed emotions I had at the time; excitement, hope, gratitude and even anxiety compounded by self-doubt on whether I was good enough for the program.

I especially enjoyed the first session on different human personalities. I realized that our personalities make us stand out. I finally understood that there was nothing wrong with me, I just had a different way of viewing life and it was okay, I never needed to fit in.

The second session on self-awareness made me realize that I did not know who I really was. I remember the speaker saying that we need to be our own cheerleaders. It was at this point that I remembered the many times that I had self-sabotaged by doubting my abilities. I learned that I should constantly live within my own parameters so that I would finally stop letting external factors define me.

As a health advocate, the program has also equipped me with knowledge on social accountability, public participation, advocacy and personal branding. Courtesy of the training, I have managed to change my views on leadership, and I am fully aware that a leader is anyone willing to take a stand. I am very grateful for the opportunity.

My Sisters’ Keeper was heaven-sent, a life changing opportunity.

 

 

By: Esther Aoko – #MySistersKeeper fellow, and  Sexual and Reproductive Health Youth Advocate.

 

 

 

 

Walking Through Mentorship- Yvonne Nkatha

I have been at home for over six months since the first case of Covid-19 was reported in the country. During this period, I encountered a call for application for My Sisters’ Keeper, a program meant to train female health practitioners on accountability. At first, I puzzled on what the program would be about several times. Eventually, after frequent checks, I decided to apply.

During the first day of our one on one meetings, I felt great joy just for being there. The program was scheduled to be virtual but for some reason, we were called in for the face to face meeting. My excitement surpassed the launching which has been held roughly 3 weeks prior. Seeing other female health practitioners from various cadres in the same room with me was very fulfilling. There is something that glows in me when I see women winning.

The first session was on self-awareness. I have previously gone through a self-awareness program but I sat and listened. The speaker took us gently on various aspects of knowing our selves and how it helps us in our daily lives. Her delivery of the content was immaculate.

During the session, we discussed how we view other people whether good or bad with the words we describe them and how it affects us and what it says about us. We are challenged on whether we are the same people when in public or private. We were taken through a self-journey evaluation and how we can better it. The most remarkable statement to me was everybody has their journey, we can negotiate with ourselves but not to procrastinate and never to move the goal post.

The next session was about personalities. I have done some of the personality tests but this was the most fun session I have ever had. The facilitators were a couple with completely different personalities and they used themselves as examples. I used to think that I am an introvert but realized that I am a chilled extrovert. The most notable thing was that it is alright to be different and by knowing so, we can maximize on our potential and have more impact.

The last session was on life mapping and storytelling. I have had a chance to hear people tell their stories before but when I last tried, I failed at the ending. The facilitator took us through his story which was deeply moving. We were challenged to chart down our life maps and tell a story out of it. At first, it looked like a difficult task but when I put it on paper, it was very easy. I got a chance to tell my story, share on my journey. This was my first experience

I love writing and days after the training I got inspired on how I can write and tell more stories. Check out for my first book that will be out soon. Thank you, ELF for selecting me to be part of this amazing journey.

 

Written By: Yvonne Kiogora, Clinical and Public specialist, writer and lover of life.
Check out her blog: https://nkathakiogora.home.blog/ 

 

Lessons from Eliud Kipchoge’s deferred victory

How are you today? Have you recovered from the shock wave after the Sunday London Marathon? I still feel unwell and numb. I have tried moving on, but it is taking me longer than I had anticipated. I am optimistic that I will get over it. The world was watching and taking Kenyan tea. And Kenyan tea gave #LondonMarathon a new lease of life as we accompanied our athletes at the comfort of our homes during the race.

Like many other Kenyans, I was so sure Kenyan all-time favourite, greatest Marathoner of all times, Kenyan legend, history maker, the mighty Eliud Kipchoge was definitely going to win the 40th London Marathon that took place in London, on 4th October, 2020. Not only did he postpone his win, but he also was not anywhere close to the top three. He finished the race at position eight. Imagine that!

People remarked and expressed their utter shock. Of course, it was shocking, not only for Kenyans but for the whole world. How possible could it have been that Kipchogi (as the commentators were calling him) was not bringing home the much-awaited victory? How? What had happened to him? I followed the various conversations online, and yes, we were all racing with him, adrenaline levels rising and finally making peace with the fact that Kipchogi was not making it. I prayed, I paced up and down and hoped for a miracle, but alas, no, this time around, it wasn’t his chance. The odds were against him. I made peace as my eyes shed tears. For a while, I had forgotten that there was another Kenyan on the race, Vincent Kipchumba because my eyes were glued and fixed on the G.O.A.T, Eliud Kipchoge. I found the commentators very boring and annoying. I wished they kept quiet and let Eliud be. Later, I understood, just like the rest of us, they too were in shock.

After the race came to an end, I tried reflecting on what had just happened and wondered if at all there were lessons I could pick out of Eliud’s postponement of the big title. These are some of my take-homes. My friend Ngele Ali, whom we conversed about the race, said, ” Well, we can co-write this blog post. Let’s share our lessons.” So here we go. The first three are my most significant take-homes, and the last three are Ngele’s.

  1. After crying, I wiped my tears. In every race, there will always be a winner. If you are in the race, always remember, there will be two outcomes. You could be the winner or someone else could. Whether you win today or win next time, as long as you stay the cause, you still win. Focus on the finishing line. There were many odds against Kipchoge. London Marathon always takes place in the Summer. This time it was taking place in a very unfamiliar setup. Training in high altitude then racing in low altitude in autumn (cold, windy and wet grounds), new circuit, his main person Kenenisa Bekele had pulled out of the race last minute, no fans to cheer him on board and assure him that he was doing just fine. In a usual setup, more than 500,000 fans will be gathered along the circuit cheering on the runners. COVID-19 happened, saw the marathon postponed and now only a handful of people were present. The marathon appeared jinxed from the word go. Christmas comes once a year. Eliud will give us more than one Christmas in a year. We must not forget this. It is no mean feat holding titles for more than five rounds. We still have a reason to celebrate him for keeping our country on the map. We know Kenya as the ultimate #HomeOfChampions. No one debates about this.
  1. It is tough being a winner. It’s even tougher being an all-time winner in public. Here is the problem with multiple wins because it comes with expectations and pressures. Your fans world over think you can never lose. But you know what, victory is for those who stay the cause! Eliud Kipchoge did precisely that! Life is a series of wins and losses! Your biggest success isn’t how many times you win! Success is a measure of how high we bounce after hitting rock bottom. Eliud Kipchoge has achieved a lot, and we can only wish him the best after his promise that “I will be back.” He, therefore, is #StillMyHero. “London loves you,” said the commentator as she interviewed him at the finishing line! I fought my tears as I watched Eliud Kipchoge struggle to express his disappointment! I, too, could feel his regret. But, be consoled Eliud. We are happy and proud of you. Be encouraged! This is only but a slight setback!
  2. Sometimes as human beings, we are so blinded and only focus on our perceptions of what success looks like, we miss the bigger picture. Yes, the majority of us had all our eyes glued on Kipchoge, we forgot that we had a full list of Kenyans who represented us at the London Marathon. And while at it, we had Brigid Kosgei who won a Gold medal in the Women’s race. We had Vincent Kipchumba who came third and won Kenya a Bronze medal in the men’s race. We also had many others including Vivian Cheruiyot, Marius Kipserem, Gideon Kipketer, Benson Kipruto, Edith Chelimo, Valary Jemeli and Ruth Chepng’ etich. We must not mourn Eliud’s loss and forget to celebrate these winners. They too worked so hard and deserved all the accolades on earth. Eliud proved to us that he is human and it is ok to fail. All human beings have their share of ups and downs. But we must also learn to accept the reality of life, that life is a mix of ups and downs, highs and lows, wins and losses. In every win and loss, there are lessons to be learnt. Mighty is not the man who wins all the time, but one who falls and picks himself up, ready to fight another day. Eliud promised, ‘I will be back.’
  3. Well, my big lesson from yesterday, life has no guarantees. As humans, we plan, but God is the ultimate chess player. Also, nothing just happens. What are the odds that Eliud with all his fitness regimen would have a muscle cramp and an ear blockage after he started off so well? Kipchoge’s experience reminded us that he is human, and sometimes the odds against us can be insurmountable, but it’s our will and resilience that gets us to the finish line. I learned a great lesson in perseverance.
  4. Eliud taught me yesterday that humility and grace are what set us apart from the crowd. As we win, we are called upon to be graceful and humble but imagine being able to exercise the same at a moment of defeat! I guess it takes a great sense of humility and grace to carry us forward onto the next challenge even as we miss the mark, and our success is deferred. As he recounted his experience, I loved his sense of sportsmanship – as he quipped “that’s the nature of sport” a true realisation that we win some and lose some, sometimes.
  5. In my observation, Kipchoge has reached his Ikigai – his “reason for being”. Kipchoge’s sport isn’t just about winning a race, it’s far much more profound, and it’s about humanity and shining light, especially where hope and aspiration lacks. The 2020 London marathon will remain memorable, not because the G.O.A.T was “dethroned” but because of the lesson, I learned through Kipchoge’s experience – even when one’s spirit feels defeated – show up!. His difficulties at the much-anticipated, most-watched marathon delivered some valuable lessons to us. When we find out our true reason for being, a deferred victory or success becomes nothing but a speedbump. His phrase, “I still have more marathons in me” sums up what a purposeful life’s journey is all about and I can’t wait to see him back on the track once again!

Writing this blog post felt very therapeutic for me. In Dolly Parton’s words, “You will never do a whole lot unless you are brave enough to try.” Are there any lessons that you picked from Eliud’s incredible performance last Sunday? Please share.

 

Written by Patience Nyange; Board Member and Mentor at ELF, Council Member at Media Council of Kenya and a #CheveningScholar2019.
Check out her blog: http://www.patiencenyange.com/

“Leadership is a process of becoming”

Unprecedented life moments at times are valuable blessings with great treasure, rare opportunities to behold and be part. The new year (2020) presented a lot workload from previous year and it felt heavy and derailing, uncertainty loomed unlike other years. The desire within was to have a supervisor to oversee our regional activities which would allow me to find a fulfilling course to upgrade my studies and better myself. Coincidentally, though undecided on what to pursue in 2020, ABLI happened. The ELF advert spoke to my worries of being a young inexperienced leader and it was stamped in my heart that God wanted me in the Regional management; He was ready to equip me for service. With uncertainty of my busy work schedules, I took a bold leap of faith and the Lord caused the world to stand still in honor

Amidst Covid-19 pandemic, as light deemed for many and hope ceased, my life was gradually being re- modeled and renewed. Every session was divinely connected with my Bible study and Royal Mentorship courses I chose to pursue, an assurance that the season was ordained for me. Sufficient time to rest and review the lessons learnt helped me to internalize and do self checks particularly on my character and competency.

Well-seasoned facilitators have helped me unmask my fears/flaws/weaknesses/gaps and find the courage to confront them. Exposure to right attitude for growth and emphasis on personal effort in the making of an effective leader has challenged my status quo mentality. The nuggets of wisdom acquired are helping me build a worthwhile brand of a transformed leader. With a purposeful and intentional drive and constant practice to become an articulate public speaker, my fears are gradually melting away and am taking personal responsibility to increase my knowledge and skills in my profession through online learning and reading. Gradually, self awareness and development are helping me manage relations better. Am challenging my laid-back nature by actively participating in forums and volunteering to engage

Leadership is a process of becoming that requires commitment and devotion with humility to learn and serve. This comes with seeking growth and learning opportunities. I have learnt that character defines who we are and it takes iron to sharpen iron. Choosing to retain relativity and status quo limits, but extra effort to better oneself is a great gain.

To my young brothers and sisters, my younger self lost many opportunities by failing to be proactive, exceptional, and to stand out. Sometimes by limiting self to what I could do and fear of people’s judgments, heaping loads of work on self without self-check has made me perform dismally. However, with the course sessions offered by ELF am being modeled to a young effective leader, laying off days of old to embrace the new. I have a new perspective to lead the Regional team and use the opportunity to serve the community and advocate for justice

With my journey to becoming an influencer in community development work and policy development, am seeking opportunities and connections to grow assisted by mentors who daily challenge me to greatness. I hope to develop my life strategic plan and support my regional office to develop an organizational profile with greater impact.

Am indebted to the ELF and BSK the life transforming opportunity they accorded me. My life will impact generations and be the change and the light the world needs.

 

By: Nzembi Nzioka- Community development worker & ABLI2020 mentee. 

My Transformation Through ABLI

When I joined ABLI I had my expectations. I wanted to grow spiritually and build a strong network of believers across the country. It has been three months since we started the program and truly I can attest the program has exceeded my expectations. I love the partnership between Emerging Leaders Foundation (ELF) and the Bible Society of Kenya (BSK) with the aim of targeting young Christians who need leadership and mentorship training. It is hard to come by such programs that are Christian based.

Our weekly classes are top-notch! The organizers spend quality time coming up with the right content and topics that are relevant in the modern world. There are things that you will rarely learn in higher institutions of learning or even understand how important they are, but through ABLI, I have been able to understand and learn on so many aspects when it comes to leadership and professionalism; Leading with Emotional intelligence, using storytelling skills as a mode to influence people, spending time to write a letter to self and many more exciting topics. At this point, I feel empowered, it is hard to imagine that we are halfway into the program.

I am grateful that I got a chance to be a part of this cohort and I would like to thank the organizers for doing a commendable job. I am also thankful for being able to put into practice all the skills gained in this program at my current workplace. My start-up CBO, Graceway Foundation Africa, has also benefited a great deal and it has experiences a great change in its management, owing to my lessons from ABLI. If there is anyone out there who is looking to improve on their leadership style or you are wondering where to start from, ABLI is here for you!

I am reminded of one topic “Letter to self”. It has changed my perspective and helped me see things differently. I have been holding lots of painful past experiences that I could not bear to share with anyone around because of the memories behind them. The speaker of this session was very engaging, her soothing voice created a comfortable environment for us to speak out. This was the same day when I shared a story that I have never attempted to pass on to anyone, this has since left me with lightness and relief in my heart.

This year has not been an easy one but ABLI has made everything work out. Thank you, Emerging Leaders Foundation and Bible Society of Kenya, for giving me and other fellows hope, courage, strength and power when we were about to give up.

 

By: Emmanuel Opar Osano, ABLI 2020

 

 

Rodgers Omollo: ELF gave me power

Growing up as an orphan is not only a challenge but an opportunity to understand and have a different view of life.  Life presented me with the opportunity to be stronger and a go-getter. My father died before I was born while my mother passed on when I was in class two. My grandmother took me in and instilled in me Christian values and how to be contented with the little.

ELF has given me the power to influence and serve my community

I always knew that in me there was passion for leadership and service, but I doubted myself based on the kind of work that life presented me including being a fishmonger and hawker. I latter landed on an NGO job which led to a poor state of mental health and depression. I wanted to quit but I was afraid of surviving without employment. ‘Dying in the line of duty is heroic but dying while unemployed is just stupid.’

Being a young person, I was always looking for networks and opportunities to grow and transform lives, to be a better version of myself.  I came to across ELF on Facebook through their call for mentees. I doubted it and thought it might be a scum having been a victim before. But then I thought, ‘Why not give it a shot, there is nothing to lose.’

Once I was done with my application, I completely forgot about it and continued with my job-search as I needed to work at a place where my mind could be at peace. Moreover, I just made the application with no expectation of feedback. Later in the month, I got a phone call for an interview in Nairobi which I could not manage to physically avail myself to. I requested for a job interview, which I got and went through it. A few days after the interview, I got an email for informing me of admission to cohort 7.

This is when my journey into being a better and a transformative leader begun. A dream fulfilled. That is how the realization to my dreams and unearthing my potentials began. That admission changed my life, entirely. I have learnt a lot; the power of networking, mentorship, and presenting myself. ELF gave me an opportunity to discover my passion and realize my path in life. ELF gave me power!

After the mentorship, I was bold enough to quit my job and start my own initiative.  I founded a youth-led organization in Homabay town by the name Activate Action (https://activateaction.org/), where am currently serving as the director and youth program officer.  The organization works with young people living with HIV, disability, and gender minority to overcome day to day challenges including g; unemployment, crime, HIV/AIDS, unhealthy relationships, mental health, and gambling. We seek to ensure that there is meaningful engagement of young people through life skills training and mentorship on Sexual reproductive health, leadership, and entrepreneurship. Currently, we are running the following programs and services:

  1. Mentorship on Sexual Reproductive Health, Mental Health, Relationships, Online Child Protection
  2. Feeding Program for Orphaned Children and Child-Headed Families
  3. Environmental conversations
  4. Online sessions on leadership, HIV management, and leadership
  5. Car wash
  6. Small scale agribusiness for the youth living with disabilities

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give, ELF has given me the power to influence and serve my community. Through ELF Staff members, trainers and fellow leaders, I learnt a lot on brotherhood and my network has really grown due to exposure and openings presented by ELF through events and forums.  One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone, that is what ELF taught me. I plan to plant the same seed that ELF planted in me to other young people in my community through activate action.

 

By Rodgers Omollo, LDP Cohort 7