ELF Team Commissioning a Lifestyle of Integrity (CLI)

Today marks one week since our final class on Commissioning a Lifestyle of Integrity(CLI) as the Emerging Leaders Foundation team. It was one of the best courses  ever taken as a team as the commitment and zeal that each member had was so genuine. In case we missed out on any class, we always had to ask for a makeup class. It was pretty much like a school in session, pursuing a ‘degree in integrity’.

We learned that lies don’t become truth, wrongs don’t become right, evils don’t become good, even if they’ve become acceptable to the majority.

Read more

Don’t Agonize, Organize.

The title of this article is a widely used slogan and is credited to the Afro-American woman civil rights activist Florence Rae Kennedy, its popularity stems from two realities; on the one had we cringe at the pain, suffering and indignities afflicted on us, while on the other hand we are challenged as to what we can do in response.

Agonizing is a much-taken path by the youth since its easy to complain, to talk ourselves into believing that nothing we do can bring about any change, and most times we wait for the “right moment” (whatever that means). Constantly procrastinating action and rationalizing it with the fear of timing – news flash; the right time is NOW, if you choose to make it one.

Proper and collective organization is the key to the 75% of youth in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa turning their potential power into REAL power that will end historical political and economic marginalization. There is a lot of talk that the political class should hand over power/ include young people in government, but truth be told, power is hardly ever given on a silver plater, leaders have to EMERGE and EVOLVE over the period of organizing, and it is these leaders who then champion for the beginning an era of youth participation.

In Kericho county for example, a group of young people has started the journey of organizing themselves to engage fellow young people better and to participate in the governance processes of the county. What started in 2017 as a group of fifteen youths identified, trained and sent out by Emerging Leaders Foundation to start meaningful engagement with the county government and move from noise to voice, has now grown into a formidable youth working group. As of last month, the group had brought together representatives from 27 of the 30 wards.

The purpose of the newly formed Kericho Youth Leadership Network is to be the umbrella organization for all youth groups/organizations in the county for effective driving of the youth agenda, enhance youth participation in governance processes and foster attitude change through capacity building and opportunity tapping for the youth of Kericho. In other words, the vijana of Kericho want to mobilize around issues, they are tired of being on the periphery and being turned in mere spectators and cheer leaders in their own territory, they have realized something which I hope resonates with young people across the country; that yes, we can! (Tunaweza) That we are the captains of our ships; masters of our destinies and for change to occur we must desire it, we must trigger it and we must sacrifice for it.

Three key lessons from the youth of Kericho;

  1. Collective action is stronger than individual action – mobilization, clarity and strategy.
  2. We need serious organization to get things done – commitment, effectivity and inclusivity.
  3. Alternative to elected leadership is unelected leadership – leaders without titles.

Agonizing never got people anywhere, it only maintained the status quo. Our aspirations will be met depending on how well and fast we ORGANIZE!

 

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)

Millennials stand up, this is the hour

By ARNOLD MALIBA
More by this Author

A United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN Desa) analysis report, ‘World Population Prospects 2017’, shows that people born after Year 2000, commonly referred to as Generation Z, will next year constitute 32 per cent of the world’s population, surpassing Millennials, or Generation Y, who will comprise 31.5 per cent.

Millennials are the demographic cohort following Generation X. They were born between the early 1980s and the mid ’90s to early 2000s.

Next year, the first batch of circa one million Kenyans born in 2001 will turn 18, the age of majority. And whereas, the world will wait till next year to experience this phenomenon, Kenya’s Generation Z have already surpassed Millennials as we are a child-rich nation, with slightly over half of the population under 18.

Millennials (Yours Truly included), with their exceptionalism and self-centredness, must contend with the fact that they are not only old but also a minority that ought to give way to Generation Z — a people who have never known a non-digital world, have a more global thinking, are less self-centred, are tech-savvy and entrepreneurial.

PASSING BLAME

Millennials are now the elders of this generation (by the way, you don’t argue with age; no one wins). Already, there’s no room for passing the blame to the generation ahead as Millennials assume watch over the nation and, therefore, take on national responsibility.

With a background of such an epic demographic handover on the homestretch, the nation is also plagued with a host of other challenges threatening its very existence — including massive unemployment, an unbearable national debt, fledgling leadership and an economy in turmoil.

LOT AT SEA

Policymakers, educators and the private sector had just cracked an understanding of the Millennials, and here we are, with the arrival of a different generation in a country now seemingly lost at sea.

The political front is amorphous; you can’t tell head from tail, government and opposition — a larger Jubilee group with three formations: A (Kitaeleweka), B (Tangatanga) and C (Tingatinga). In addition, we have a weakened civil society, a rogue Parliament and an apathetic electorate.

Millennials now have the singular task of leading the charge in shouldering the largest national debt any generation of Kenyans has ever serviced, defend civil liberties and revive the economy before Generation Z takes the baton of the republic.

INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

But as this is happening, the rest of the world is preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0); a technological revolution riding on Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) that will fundamentally alter the way we live in a scope, scale and complexity never experienced by Mankind before.

No one knows how that will unfold as yet but the response to this must be integrated and comprehensive involving polity, public, academia, private sector and civil society.

And with Kenya at a crossroads, grappling with a present too complex, the future is bleak — unless Millennials show up for duty with diligence, determination and discipline. For this is their hour!

Mr Maliba is a programme manager at Emerging Leaders Foundation (ELF). ask@arnoldmaliba.com. Twitter: @ArnoldMaliba

Courtesy of: https://www.nation.co.ke/oped/opinion/-Millennials-stand-up–this-is-the-hour/440808-4764584-lyknnez/index.html

Youth at the Center of Social Change in Kenya.

You can’t start a fire without a spark! Whenever society is faced with the greatest of threats, it has the tendency to constantly turn to the youth. The energy in pursuit, purity of purpose, clarity of vision and passion in articulation of issues is recipe for successful revolutions.

The last decade has arguably been the worst time for the youth of Kenya, we’ve been leathered from every side, our dreams shattered, the promise of education bleak, the availability of jobs almost nil, the factors of production held in the hands of a few greedy men.

But then I’m reminded that, “the best thing you can learn from the worst times of our life is that it always gets better. It may take a month, a year, a decade, but it will get better if you leave yourself open to it.”

In the last election something happened that went unnoticed or rather wasn’t properly celebrated. First, we got more youth into the different elective positions, but perhaps most interesting is the fact that we had more youth who ran as independent candidates and even a greater number who ran on alternative political parties apart from the two big coalitions at the time.

Sometimes we need reminding about who we are and what we can become, a little pride,a little determination and a true sense of commitment can spur us to demand better for ourselves and our communities. The youth who vied inspired the rest of us, the fact that they did campaigns focused on their manifestos speaks volumes. these young people knocked on doors, sat under trees, engaged youth and women groups, they challenged the common way of financing campaigns by asking the people to support their campaigns. They walked on foot and freely interacted with the electorate. There were no big rallies, with loud music and “chini kwa chini” dance, no big cars with tinted windows.

Perhaps if we do our politics differently by ensuring that we do not give handouts to voters and that every Kenyan is invested in the campaign process from start to end, then we could have a different story to tell successive generations, a story that is devoid of violence, theft and bribery, but one that is full of hope and progress.

I am glad that this change is being championed by my generation and I invite each of you to join the bandwagon, change inevitable.

 

Written by Jim India,

Communication Officer at Emerging Leaders Foundation.

 

 

 

Emerging Leaders

Here is a beautiful poem from one of the leaders we trained from Matungulu Girls, there is no better way to kick-off our weekend.

Emerging Leaders.

Amazing I would say,
What was done in a day,
Light was brought not just a ray,
Allow me to express if I may.

A group,
Not just any troop,
Impacting Change,
Going beyond the range.

Empowering leaders,
Making futures brighter,
Connecting not just inspiring,
Strong leaders emerging.

Training the best,
Who’ll stand out from the rest,
To cause that difference,
Taking advantage of every chance.

 

By Perpetual Wangari.

What does Leadership mean to you? By Victor Odhiambo – Garden of Hope Foundation

I started developing my leadership skills when I was in Primary school. The “Bell Ringer” position meant a great deal to me. The entire school would look up to me on what time they can go for their lunch break, games etc. I remember one day I decided to delay ringing the lunch time bell by 10 minutes, you don’t want to know what happened to me.

 

I was later promoted to assistant school captain and later Captain of the school soccer team. My defining moment came when I was eventually elected for a position I was eyeing for “Head boy” or school captain. From my perspective I knew I had achieved so much, from the bottom of my heart there were other people who were better, and others who could do more. I was in position of “influence” but because of selfish interest I could not give others an opportunity. I would later realize that I was voted as the Head boy because I was popular among the students, but not because of the values I held as leader.

 

Carly Fiorina an American business woman and former Chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard defines Leadership as “Unlocking the potential of others” This to me is giving people an opportunity to lead, while you as the leader takes the back sit and leading from behind. It does not necessary mean not taking control or being in charge, but looking at the skills and talents everyone in your team has and giving them an opportunity to unlock those skills and talents.

 

I was recently conducting a leadership session with young people from Kibera slum. One of the common questions I ask them when I do this is “Which leaders do you admire the most?” ‘Which leader would best solve a conflict? Which leader communicates best?

 

A common trend I noticed among them was that they chose the most vocal people in the society, they would relate more with leaders who are in forefront during protests, those who came from their tribe and sometimes those who are wealthy.

 

When I asked them their definition of leadership, I again noticed some common words like “Being in charge” “Power” “Strict” etc. While these specific words are not necessarily wrong, I realized my definition of leadership or view of leadership affects the person I will vote for or the people I look up-to as leaders. If my definition is “leadership is being in charge’ I will most likely respond more to people who are always in charge, sometime even if they come out as dictators.

 

Our definition of leadership affects us as individuals and the society as large, this begs the question “Could the current leaders we have in Kenya be a reflection of our individual definition of leadership?”

The journey of a thousand miles

The journey of a thousand miles…

It started with a formal phone call one Friday afternoon as I was carrying out my dignity project in Shaurimoyo. I was quite engaged but I excused myself to take the call. At first I thought maybe it is one of those sales people trying to sell me a holiday destination, considering it was March and in a weeks’ time schools would be closing. I hesitantly hit the receive button and on the other end was an enthusiastic young lady. “Hallo, my name is Stella Cheboi and am calling you from Emerging Leaders Foundation. Am I speaking to Kevin Alando?” those were her exact words. I immediately recalled making an application to Emerging Leaders Foundation to join their mentorship program some few months back. It never crossed my mind that I would be accepted and the call surely caught me by surprise. After a brief conversation Stella told me she had sent me an email a few weeks back and we concluded that I would check it out and get back to her. That evening I searched through my emails and eventually found it. That marked the beginning of a six-month journey that would change my life.

Finally, the long-awaited day arrived. It was the first day of the program and I had no idea what to expect.  The weather was quite chilly that morning as it had rained the previous night. I began having second thoughts and even tried to convince myself the weather was a sign that I should sleep this one out, but my will to go was stronger than my desire to sit back home. Despite being indecisive and nervous, I made my way down to YMCA. I knew I had to show up even if it was just to make up my mind whether the program would suit my needs. Nevertheless, I arrived a bit earlier just to familiarize myself with the place and get comfortable before everyone else arrived. This turned out great as I got to interact with the organizers while I helped finish setting up the place. By the time the other fellows were arriving I had already blended in and I was freely interacting and getting to know a few of them. When the first session kicked off we were each given a manifesto, I read it and signed it as the words ignited something in me that made me feel invincible. By the time we were breaking for a lunch, I had learned more about myself than I had known for the better part of my life. The rest of the day was amazing and I was left speechless. I got make new friends who inspired me to be myself. On my way home that evening I felt like a different person. I felt challenged encouraged and motivated, I could not wait for the second session. I had made the first step, the first step in my journey of a thousand miles.

The journey at ELF has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. Apart from learning so much from the mentors and fellow cohorts I managed to get out of my comfort zone. I found the one thing that I had been searching for, a place to explore my capabilities without feeling weird or out of context, somewhere I could have meaningful discussions without fear of appearing too smart or too dumb. I knew this was definitely the place for me. Deep down I never had the courage to stand in front of my peers to make a speech. The most I could do was to introduce myself and run off the stage as fast as I could before my knees became weak and I started sweating all over the place. That was until I was put to task to share my story with my fellow cohorts. I managed to hold myself together and by the time I went back to my seat I was sweating all over. It was not as difficult as I anticipated and the experience only made me realize that my greatest enemy all along was fear. I had finally mustered enough courage to overcome the fear that had crippled my desire to lead. Six months later I have had the privilege to share a podium with the cabinet secretary for labour Mrs Phyllis Kandie, where I gave a speech to represent the youth on behalf of the World Youth Alliance Africa. Since then I have spoken at several other events to audiences way older than me without fear or doubt.

Networking and engagements with my peers and mentors has helped me understand that there is more to life than hiding away from the world. Just like the quote by Christopher Abraham, “A butterfly is incapable of flight until the struggle to free himself from his cocoon has given his wings the strength he needs; the hardest you’ve ever struggled is the strongest you’ll ever be”. I resorted to find strength in my struggles. I made a plan for my life and the support and encouragement from my mentors is helping me follow through. The commitment that I signed on the first day of the program keeps me on toes. I recite it whenever I feel hopeless and it reminds me of the fact I’m the captain of my ship and the author of my destiny. Sometimes it gets difficult for me to wake up in the morning, sometimes I feel like giving up on my dreams but I know that am accountable to my peers, my mentors, my generation and most importantly to myself. The program has transformed my thinking tremendously, and I know the decision to make something of my life lies with me. I now understand that as a leader, young people look up to me and whether I’m aware of it or not my actions influence their lives in one way or the other. The encouragement to read has challenged me to be more ambitious in life because we can only achieve as much as our mind can perceive.

I have had worthwhile moments that has strengthened my relationship with my peers. Our community service at Mully Children’s Family brought us together to share wonderful memories. My engagements with the kids and young people at the centre taught me that our past and where we come from should not dictate the outcome of our lives. The hike to Sleeping Warrior and Mlima Ugali cemented this relationship as we got the chance to bond more and share wonderful experiences. We have shared lots of happy moments, meals and adventures that have taught me to live life to the fullest. The program might have ended but for me it is the continuation of my journey of service and doing what I love. A journey that ushers a new beginning for me and all my fellow cohorts, to live a life of shared values and principles with new friends and colleagues who are true to their cause.  Now I walk with my head held up high, knowing that every effort I make does not go to waste. It is a seed that I have planted and with time it will grow into something wonderful. As Caren always reminds us, “A leader always takes initiative.” I have taken the initiative and I’m now preparing the ground to plant a seed in my community that will grow and change the lives of thousands of young people in the place I have always called home.