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

Deogracious Maero: Mentoring is an opportune time to learn more about yourself

Maero M.O. Deogracious is a Medical Doctor currently pursuing Master of Medicine Program in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi University. Throughout his carrier as a medical doctor, he has been actively involved with women and girls’ issues. He was involved in the push and initiation of a program that aimed to reduce and offer services to victims of gender-based violence. The program with support of a non-governmental organization involved health professionals at the facility level and community point men and women at the community level. He has also started a cervical cancer screening, treatment and referral centre, whose main objective is early diagnosis of  pre-cancerous stage disease and early intervention to prevent full-blown development of the pre-cancerous state to cancer. He has also initiated a recreation and rehabilitation centre for the youth.

As a medical resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology, he has continued his involvement and passion in women and girls’ issues by volunteering counselling services in the gender-based violence program across the city. He is also seeking to influence policy on abortion by undertaking a research that intends to evaluate the illegal abortion complication, severity, and associated factors. This interest has been greatly influenced by the experiences of the harm he has seen illegal abortions have on girls and the community at large.

Currently, he is the chairman for Doctors Union, Nairobi City County Chapter, where he spends his time fighting for doctors’ rights and advocating for better health services to the Nairobi residents.

Deogracious believes that good mentorship is putting one-self in the same capacity as the mentees at that point in life; reflecting and asking yourself questions that relate to the situation. ‘What would I want to be told at this point in life? What supporting structures would I want and more importantly what did I not need then.’

“It is a vivid reflection of your past to the future. Your ups and downs, strengths and weakness, victories, and failures. It is also an opportune time to learn more about yourself from yourself and from your mentees. Mentorship involves also looking into the present. It is one of those things that if your heart is in it, go for it,” he adds.

His greatest moments in mentorship have are when his mentees keep coming back to him for more support and knowledge. “Close contact and keeping in touch warms my heart. It means you are having an impact. My worst is when we lose touch with my mentee.”

“My drive for mentorship is in-borne. It is that small flame that never stops burning. The spirit in me that always wants to contribute towards change.  I aspire to be an advocate for gender, women and girls’ issues which include reproductive health and rights, gender equality, early child marriages and teen pregnancies, access to education and employment, intimate partner violence and access to water and sanitation. In the long-term, I want to be a witness of the steps being made towards achieving progress in women and girl’s health and health unrelated issues.”

His favorite quote, ‘Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle. And so, we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent – Martin Luther King, Jr.’

Ahmed Ashraf: Using sports to fight social ills

Ashraf Ahmed is our alumnus of the week. He is the current Kilifi County lead for ELF’s Tunaweza program and an alumnus of the Leadership and Development program.  Ahmed has been involved in advocacy issues on good governance and is vocal in pushing for public participation in his county.

As a county lead, Ahmed leads a group of young men and women in his county to advocate for goof governance and fight for youth representation in decision making processes as well as policy making.

Besides, Ahmed runs a sports club that he started in his area to bring  youth together and create a platform where young people can showcase and nurture their talents. Currently, the club has football teams for both men and women, and volleyball teams for both genders. The club aims to address social issues in the area and keep young people engaged. “We want to engage the youth and fill gaps that exist in the area on social issues ranging from early marriages to drug abuse. So far, we have tried our best but there is more that needs to be done.”

Ahmed is not only involved in advocacy work and sports; he has also started an income generating initiative that has created employment for people and he’s trying to venture into more of the same. “I recently started an agricultural project that is currently in its initial stages and I am hopefully that it will provide income to the youth. I also have a business that has created employment for a few youth, majority of whom are part of Kakokeni All stars.”

In his line of work, he has come across challenges and notes that the youth need to be more engaged and commited to leadership & advocacy, and have patience as they seek to address matters around the same.

“Young people lack exposure and are not ready to learn and adapt to new works. The fear to knock on doors and fight for increased participation and representation is worrying as we are always shouting that we have the key to a better tomorrow. We need to be more engaged and step out, we have the ability to be change makers if we face everything head-on,” notes Ahmed.

His favourite phrase: ‘ Attitude is everything. Change your attitude.. change your life’

Chris Ouma: The Sky is full of stars and there’s room for them.

Christopher Ouma (prefers Chris Ouma), is an expert in research and development in health and education sector. Currently, he works with the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, as city-based Research Consultant. He also doubles as an Associate Partner and part-time Researcher at Public Health Innovations (PHI). Prior to joining the University of London, Mr. Ouma served as the Managing Consultant at PHI and Projects Development Specialist with Camerafrica Consultants. His previous works spans across sub-Sahara Africa including working with top and leading international NGOs, research and academic institutions, and healthcare regulatory agencies. He has also led a Kenyan team for a multi-country initiative to address deficiencies in the Reproductive Health policies and laws in the East African Community region.

Besides, Chris has co-authored and published several articles and research papers/reports, and is a regular speaker at national and regional conferences and in the media (on matters HIV/AIDS, SRHR, Youth Leadership and Development, Innovation and Future Thinking).

He mentors in the policy, research & development, entrepreneurship & innovation, and projects development.

Chris describes mentorship as a two-way relationship which does not only require a good mentor but a good mentee as well. “The program must be deliberate, right from the beginning, in helping the mentee find their way/true north star from the very beginning, and be able to stay connected to it as he/she (mentee/student) evolve and navigate life and career.

“The biggest difference between people having a successful mentor relationship boils down to initiative, by mentees – mentees, just like mentors, have to take responsibility for cultivating the experience of mentorship too.”

Chris describes his mentorship experience as a journey of discoveries, unlocking and awakening his deepest self and that of his mentees. “Times spent together with my mentees sharing with them stories about my failures are my best. The shock and surprises on their faces get me humbled and amused. When mentees stick with you even in your most dire moments and continue believing in you – I got not excuse but to emerge stronger and continue inspiring and giving them hope. This makes me feel real and authentic.”

Losing a mentee during the mentorship journey is one of the greatest challenges for Chris. In his case, most mentees struggle with issues of identity and take time to identify what they are relay good at which in turn leads to them bailing out of mentorship.

His advice to those interested in mentorship, “Mentorship is the best relief from stress for any professional out there. If you are thinking of add more things into your life outside work, mentorship should top on your priority list. It keeps you refreshed, recreated and increases your wisdom.”

“Being mentor makes you an understanding human being. It keeps your mind young and your skills fresh. Successful people who don’t mentor others will over time lose touch with their own excellence. Mentoring someone connects you back to the original you who became so excellent.”

His motivation to mentor young leaders is driven by simplicity & inspiration, interest in young people and commitment towards creating brands in the young people that he mentors.

Favourite quote, “The sky is full of stars and there’s room for them all.”

 

You too can be a mentor. Sign up and be a mentor with us today: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScDv5a8RxsLiCbQ9YnVYxgub_qwKS9r-2XRARiUS9UKaZ_snw/viewform

The Journey: Redefining Leadership

What makes a leader really? Leadership is one of the most widely covered topics and with so many definitions of a leader. Earlier this year, in the process of checking out my social media updates, I came across a call for applications for Africa Biblical Leadership Initiative (ABLI) 2020. I must admit, it was intriguing that such an opportunity existed. I decided to just make an attempt. “What do I have to lose?” I said to myself, unaware that it would be one of the most transforming programs I have come across so far.

I have learnt of the importance of developing good leadership habits and replacing negative habits with positive ones.

For the longest while, I have been on a journey of self-discovery. I have made discoveries on my capacities and my role in affecting my surroundings. It is a beautiful thing when success meets preparedness. Around the time when I came across the ABLI 2020 application, I was genuinely seeking an opportunity for structured mentorship in leadership and career development. ABLI has given me the opportunity to re-discover not just myself but leadership in itself.

Leadership begins by leading self before leading others. Reflecting on my story and mapping out my life, I have discovered many instances where I have been a leader without a title, but a leader nonetheless. In the first module on self-awareness, I discovered my personality and how it has influenced my leadership style. People are different and mutual understanding eases and harnesses leadership. Being able to apply emotional intelligence as a leader has taught me that more than doing the right thing, I need to do things the right way.

Sometimes wisdom is hidden in retrospect and everyone has a story. I have learnt the important of constantly being in touch with the development of my story as a leader. Many of the experiences that make up my story have prepared me for my present and future moments.

“Dear younger me.…” If you were to write a letter to your younger self, how would it read? Many times, wisdom does not find us in a vacuum with no experiences. Making peace with the past is one of the key things that an effective leader must be keen to do. As I have learnt from one of the sessions, I need not to allow past mistakes and regrets hold me back from becoming the leader I ought to be. It may not have been my fault that particular things happened to my younger version, but it is definitely my responsibility to seek healing and be free from the pain by forgiving and letting go – even forgiving myself.

We are creatures of habits. An effective leader builds evidence of their leadership through habits. As part of redefining leadership, I have learnt of the importance of developing good leadership habits and replacing negative habits with positive ones.

As my journey of leadership continues with ABLI as an Emerging Leader, I continue to have Leadership Redefined and become more refined. I am grateful to ELF, BSK, the ABLI Team, and my fellow leaders in ABLI 2020 for every opportunity and equipping. I encourage other emerging leaders to be set for the next opportunity to journey with ABLI. The journey continues!

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures,” F. M. Alexander.

 

Submittted by:
Kelvin Irungu- ABLI 2020

Stella Agara: If it is good for Africa, She loves doing it and she will do it.

Stella Agara is a Governance and Youth Development Specialist with 12 years’ experience working on a broad spectrum of Governance issues and vast experience on the execution of Youth Led Development programs across East and Southern Africa. She has vast experience in promotion of good governance and accountability, youth led development, tax justice with a focus on impact on youth and women, anti-corruption and promotion of integrity, leadership development, policy analysis and legislation, research and evidence based advocacy, training and facilitation, strategic planning, project management, Monitoring, evaluation, reporting & learning and data quality management. She has a background in Law and a PGD in International Relations and Diplomacy.

The unfolding of your words gives light, it gives understanding to the simple

She is the 15th Laureate of the Bremen Solidarity prize, an award she won for her work in tax justice and promotion of Youth Led Development where she campaigns for youth to demand accountability from Governments on the illicit financial flow from the continent. She was also awarded the AU Youth Anti-Corruption Ambassador for East Africa. She is a Nelson Mandela fellow from the Woman in Public Policy program.

Stella previously worked with Action Aid Denmark as a Youth Advisor seconded to Action Aid Malawi. She is a former Deputy Executive Director of the Africa Youth Trust. She also served the Africa Youth Parliament as an internal Consultant on Youth Leadership for Governance Processes in Africa.

She has spent most of her adult life working on promoting youth leadership for governance processes in Africa and particularly leadership with legacy. Her mantra is ‘If it is good for Africa, She loves doing it and she will do it.’

She offers mentorship on design of interventions to promote the participation of the most vulnerable in promotion of governance and accountability. She also mentors in the governance space and tailor makes scenarios that enable her mentees figure out what needs to be done to enable the vulnerable groups they work for to regain power, organize and begin influencing governance from a place of power.

Stella describes mentorship as a two way journey that requires great effort from the mentee and not the reverse. “Mentorship should not be hard work, toil and strife for the mentor, it should be the effort of a mentee who has visualized grace they would like to tap into in a potential mentor; effort to draw, effort to sap into the grace and co-create greatness as a result of the shared experience. At the start of this mentorship you need me more than I need you; work to make sure in the end the relationship is symbiotic, that as a mentor I tap into your grace as you tap into mine. If you have no calling you are committed to then we have no business starting this mentorship journey.”

Her greatest moments in mentorship are usually when her mentees flourish, thrive and take charge of the sectors that they are being mentored on. This, givers her satisfaction when her mentees flourish, thrive and take charge in the sector for which they got mentorship on.

Mentorship is not always rosy, Stella reckons.  “I was assigned a mentee who I have never met one on one or had a session with ever since we were first introduced on email. I cannot tell whether it is the distance, the alignment of priorities or otherwise. I count this as a wasted opportunity.”

“I am a product of mentorship; one of my most memorable mentors Ms. Joyce Umbima practically planted every feather on my wings. If I had not pushed my interaction with her and requested for mentorship, the people I mentor today would not be learning the generous lessons I share today. My mentees would have missed out on the quality and efficiency of advocacy that Ms. Umbima represented and imparted upon me, that I continue to share today. My reference to the example of the lost mentorship opportunity as a ‘Wasted Opportunity’ is an understatement, because I know that all great men and women in this world are ‘living vessels’ that opened up to receive grace to be great and most importantly, gave their time to carry the mentors greatness on their shoulders.”

Her advice to professionals who want to join the mentorship journey, “Remember God aligned people, resources and opportunities to get you to where you are today; your only job is to ensure you grow that seed and multiply the army that shall be serving God and promoting a divine agenda in their leadership in your sector. Build an army that will carry the mantle long after you are gone. Freely you have received, freely give.”

Her motivation to mentor young leaders is born from the revelation that we all have a very specific, divine assignment here on earth and limited time.

Her favorite quote, “The unfolding of your words gives light, it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psalms 119:130)

Diana Favour Chepkorir: Advocating for proper sanitation across all ends.

Three years ago, Diana Favour Chepkorir found herself lucky, as one of the initial members of ELF’s county program, Tunaweza, pulled out of the first training in the with a few hours. This presented her with an opportunity to explore further and put in practice her passion for youth leadership and engagement. Since then, her journey has not been the same. Currently, Diana is one of the most efficient members of Tunaweza, Kericho county.

I started a civic education program to ensure that citizens have the right information.

Her time with the youth-centered program has seen her work with a youth advocacy group that is leading the way in calling out the county government and participating in various governance processes to ensure that issues around the youth are well addressed and worked upon. Recently, she was part of the team that drafted the youth bill in the county.

Besides good governance advocacy, Diana is an advocate of proper sanitation in her county. She is working towards ensuring that there is good sanitation from the family level to public facilities, identification of sanitation gaps and help in addressing them. This include ensuring that homesteads have latrines and are using them, and everyone is constantly keeping hand-hygiene at all critical time.

Her acts do not end at the field of advocacy, she is also involved in civic education in her county to promote social accountability.

“I came together with a few friends and started a civic education program to ensure that citizens have the right information at the right time especially on the budget cycle and public participation. We also created a youth network from my sub-county where youth can share their issues at that level.”

Owing to her ELF training, Diana started a business and has seen her business grow overtime.

“I don’t depend on white collar job to earn a living, the business sustains me comfortably and I enjoy being my own boss.”

We celebrate Diana for her advocacy efforts at the county level.

When the Goal is Bigger than the Odds; My Journey so Far

If you are like me, you most likely spend significant time on social media, whether for news, entertainment or just catching up with friends and family. The weekly screen time report I get on my phone has consistently shown that social media is the third most time-consuming activity on my phone after productivity and reading. The report indicates that I spend an average of twenty-two hours a week on social media via the phone.

This was the case early in the year when I stumbled upon a Facebook post calling for applications for the 2020 African Bible Leadership Initiative (ABLI). Having missed a similar opportunity in 2019, I was keen to sign up for this one and in no time, my application was complete. A fortnight later, I received the news I had been waiting for- I had been accepted to be part of the 2020 cohort.

We are encouraged, challenged, motivated and inspired by men and women who have a mastery of their respective subjects and deliver with great humility.

Then came the unprecedented and unexpected, Covid-19. The pandemic hit our nation and its effects were slowly being felt in every home, office, school and church. Soon after, all forms of public gatherings were suspended, throwing our planned classes in disarray. Traditionally, ABLI sessions would be held in a brick-and-mortar location with all participants physical present but with the preceding situations, we had to go virtual, the digital shift triumphed.

This is the sixth week of the program, and it feels like I have been at it for months. The infill of knowledge, self-discoveries, eye-opening interactions and invaluable networks are what makes ABLI the best thing for anyone to invest their time in. It has been said numerous times ‘You cannot lead others if you can’t lead yourself.’ This underscores the reason why personality types had to be the first of the eighteen sessions wrapped in seven modules.

Thanks to the session on emotional intelligence, my group members and I now understand that our own feelings and the feelings of others affect and contribute to effective management of our emotions in the different relationships we all have.

Everyone has a story and it is important to own your story. Heal from its pains, forgive the wrongdoers therein, learn from it and as you rise from the ashes, cast your vision. The session of storytelling and life mapping has helped me look back at my past with nothing to regret but great pride about how far I each have come from, the many mountains I’ve surmounted and the successes within. Through storytelling and life mapping, I can now pour out my life into the younger generation in fifteen minutes or less. I also can now clearly see the patterns and influences of the decisions I make today. What this means is that I am at a better position to know what to avoid, embrace and chase.

When was the last time you wrote yourself a letter? Whether you wrote it to your younger self or future self is still worth applauding. I personally was taken decades back to my sixteen-year-old self. I was just joining high school, and behind me, I was leaving a tainted reputation. A reputation characterised by dropping out of school countless times, gambling and general lawlessness. This came with shame, scorn and alienation. However, looking back, I realise that age sixteen was my turning point, hence the reason I wrote a letter my younger self. In that letter, I encouraged myself to forgive myself for my juvenile errors, forgive my foes, reconcile with the distant and face forward with readiness to conquer the next decade.

Today, I am glad I joined ABLI. Even with the disruption caused by the global pandemic, we are moving on as if nothing happened. The sessions on Zoom are just as lively and meaningful as though we were meeting physically. I must commend the ELF team for convening such a resourceful faculty. Week after week, we are encouraged, challenged, motivated and inspired by men and women who have a mastery of their respective subjects and deliver with great humility. Their preparedness shows in every slide and sentence.

On our WhatsApp group, we’re family. Though we’ve never met physically, we already have such great bonds. We discuss everything, from the sessions we’re having to current affairs to common leadership pitfalls.

I thank God for granting me this opportunity. Now I pray that you too will be led to grab it in the next calling.

Do not be afraid to take up leadership training and positions. As John C. Maxwell said, “Everything rises and rests on leadership.”

Submitted by:
James Sakwa, ABLI 2020

The war against corruption is an Illusion

Vices are as old as humanity and they have grown in complexity. Public resources have been lost in the hands of a few well-connected individuals under the guise of ‘development’. Joe Biden, former US Vice President once said, “Corruption is a cancer that eats away the citizen’s faith in democracy, diminishes the instinct for innovation and creativity.”

The chain of corruption is long and has its extension to many in one way or the other. This leaves us with the question: Is corruption behavioral or an in-built systemic problem? The war corruption was publicly declared in 2003, with high investments on it. The nation looked like it was coming to a close of the vice but to haven’t crossed an inch.

Most billionaires in Kenya are not made through inventions or growth of ideas but from monopoly paved by the political system. Evidently, majority of them have had interactions with the government in one way or the other meaning that their wealth may have been gotten through shoddy dealings.  In the last 7 years, billionaires and millionaires have either doubled or tripled their wealth. This can be attributed to their relations with the government and dealing with influential persons in different capacities. For instance, take a look at some of the beneficiaries in NYS 1 and 2 and the 2014 Ministry of Health scandal, individuals who had no track record of wealth in each of these cases were created overnight.

The methods of corruption used or means of transaction have mutated to the extent where corrupt individuals do not have to exchange money. To some extent, profiteers of corruption have resorted to rewards such as properties, favors and merchandise. The primary institution bestowed with the responsibility of fighting corruption has also mutated and changed names with the intention of giving it more life and making it stronger and powerful. Currently, it is called Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission meaning it is an independent commission created by an Act of Parliament. The provision under Article 249 of the Constitution sets grounds with the intention to define not only the institution but also the holders of the institution and their relations to other offices created under the Constitution. This provision sets out the objects, authority and funding of the commission. The intention of having an independent commission is to create the ideal situation by ensuring that there is separation of powers to minimize interference from any other state organ in order to protect the sovereignty of the people. Therefore, commissions, including EACC are not part of the executive. The president appoints the commissioners as the head of state and not as the head government.

The fight against corruption is selective and seems to be targeting certain groups of people and political opponents.

It is my supposition that there is no deficiency in laws enacted to curb the vice of corruption. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act No. 22 of 2011 under section 13 (2) (c) gives the commission powers to investigate and arrest suspects for prosecution by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP).

Over and above that, the Anti-Corruption and Economics Crimes Act No. 3 of 2003 has an interesting provision under section 58 which talks to the presumption of corruption. This provision states: If a person is accused of an offence under Part V an element of which is that an act was done corruptly and the accused person is proved to have done that act the person shall be presumed to have done that act corruptly unless the contrary is proved.

My understanding of this provision is that it does not purport to curtail the presumption of innocence as ensconced in Article 50(2) (a) of the Constitution. However, this provision shifts the burden of proof to the accused person when prosecuting matters related to the Anti-Corruption and Economics Crimes Act No. 3 of 2003. An interesting perspective is to note whether this is the case of graft cases here in Kenya. In corruption cases prosecuted in countries like some states in USA and in China, this principle is important as an evidential burden is put on the accused person the moment the prosecuting authority is able to bring evidence showing loss of public funds.

Given the peculiar nature of economic crimes against the government, it is my opinion that when and if anyone in public office or a duty bearer is implicated in corruption, the burden of proof must shift automatically to him and he/she should be given an opportunity to account for every coin in his docket or department.  If he/she is unable to make an account of public funds under his/her department, then punitive measures such as fines and jail terms are introduced in order to deter fellow minded corrupt office holders. Additionally, I propose that anyone taking up public office is to sign an agreement that states: Incase of any loss of finances as a result of corruption, the office holder shall be personally liable for the loss and therefore the government can recover all the property stolen.

The current measures put in place to combat corruption are not sufficient as a result of various challenges. There is lack of institutional inclusivity in leadership as these positions are occupied by a few interconnected businessmen and women. Consequently, the leaders have conflicts of interest that chain them into a situation where they must make decisions that do not advance public interest but rather advance their own personal interests. Arguably, in order for institutions such as EACC or other independent offices to fight corruption, the status quo must be disrupted. As it is currently, the institutions are used by political leaders to fight, silence political opponents and pave way for their friends. Today the fight against corruption seems to be selective by targeting certain groups of people or political opponents. The fight against corruption is a manipulative and cajoling one and therefore the moment one joins to support the government of the day and not antagonizing the government one is deemed not corrupt. Politics plays a great role in determining the success of the fight against corruption.

Secondly, lack of knowledge and the dire social-economic situations in the country has chained and locked the citizenry from participating and determining the actions of politicians. Lack of knowledge is attributable to the neglection of civic education by CSOs and the peddling of wrong and misleading information by politicians. Today, the public relies on politicians for information. Unfortunately, politicians disseminate information based on their interests. To put this into perspective, they will peddle information as a currency to spread propaganda against their opponent. Politicians misinterpret information and manipulate the citizens by playing victims and defenders of their tribes. Ultimately, the citizens end up electing corrupt leaders into office having played the tribal card. Economically, the citizenry is impoverished and is in search of food.  Politicians continue to impoverish the lives of Kenyans and taking away the future of Kenyans by continued theft from public coffers and dishing out hand-outs to the citizens, creating a sense of dependency. Kenyans must be vigilant and resist the instant gratification of the moment and think of a sustainable future for its generation.

In conclusion, corruption can be fought when the citizenry is informed and is able to carry out social accountability through the ballot. The ballot, however, has to be freed from the mentality of tribalism and instant gratification from the hand-outs propagated by the political class. Furthermore, institutions such as the National Police Service or EACC should be independent and autonomous from political centers. The independence of these offices is protected through law should include financial independence and independence in appointments to office.

 

Submitted by:
Ahmed Maalim- Programs Manager

How Emerging Leaders Foundation is Fighting the Pandemic

I do not know how you have been coping with Covid-19, but here at ELF, it has been a roller-coaster of thoughts, emotions, and events. We have moved from hoping that this is just a passing cloud, to realising that the virus is here to stay. We have shifted from believing that we can postpone all our programs to “post-COVID” to realising that NOW is the only time we have.

I must say, it has not been easy. You see, speaking about adapting to change and the benefits therein is one thing, but it is totally different when you must change and adapt so quickly. In all this, I dare say, this virus has brought out the best in us, we now know the importance of ACT NOW, and across the world, we have seen how movements have been built and continue to be sustained amidst the pandemic, humanity realises that we cannot suspend democracy, justice, and equality even though the rain falls!

Our joy is that young people have continued to defy the odds, they have led their communities from the front, as essential workers in hospitals and factories, and as community health workers. At ELF, we see our young people continue with the work of keeping their local governments accountable, participating in policy processes, through creative ways enabled by technology.

I have particularly been pleased by Susan Wairimu (@Suzy Wa Wairimu on Facebook), a single mother who dedicates her time to providing sanitary pads to poor and vulnerable girls in her community in Ngong, who would otherwise not afford the pads. She harnesses the power of her social network through social media to crowdfund for the sanitary pads and personally delivers them door to door. I highlight this story because it embodies what we stand for as an organization, that our communities are our responsibility, and that each of us can and should play an active role in making it SUSTAINABLE, despite the odds being against us. Suzy is not alone, to all the young people, making sacrifices to see members of their society live DIGNIFIED lives, we salute and celebrate you.

All our programs are now taking place online, thanks to our dedicated team of staff who have put in extra hours and have stepped up when called upon, to me, they are my heroes. To Caren, Ahmed, Cheboi, Irene, Kipkalya, Marvin, Andrew, and Kim, thank you for your resilience.

We are also grateful to our partners and funders who continue to believe in us and walk with us. We believe that our best weapon against this pandemic and the next is values-based leaders, who will put service to the people above self-interest, who will prioritize investing in structures and systems and not tokenism. Leaders who will value the next generation over the next election.

To realize the above, we will continue to discover leaders and train them, we will connect them with mentors and send them back to their communities to cause revolutionary impact. Our communities are getting better, one Emerged leader at a time.

 

Submitted by:

Jim IndiaELF Communications Officer