DARE TO DREAM

January 18th, 2021 marks the annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr (MLK), a day which is normally commemorated on the third Monday of January each year. The civil rights leader is fondly remembered for his public speech that was delivered during the march for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States on August 28, 1963. Arguably, this goes down as one of the most iconic speeches.

MLK had a dream, which he stood and fought for, and did anything possible to make sure that it lived to see the day light. Years later, some of the things that he envisioned have come to life, a number are still pending and being fought for to this date. The struggle continues, the hope is high, the dream lives on.

At a time of social and political unrest in Kenya, MLK’s request to ‘make real the promises of democracy’ finds application. To ensure that the nation rises and lives out its true meaning, there needs to be collective effort across board. Young to old, formal to the informal sector, political class to the non- political class. Notably, in the political space, there appears to be lack of ethics, soberness, and values.

Once again, the youth of this nation have been reduced to voting robots, after being cosseted with heavenly promises of how their lives are about to be transformed – by the same people who have been in leadership overtime, recycling political parties – they always end up on the wrong side right after elections; jobless, hopeless, restless and over time harassed by the systems that exist. Worse still, they have continually been blamed for not doing enough, which in most cases, it is due to poor governance and policy structures. Is it about to end? If no, who will salvage the situation?

There is need for more young women and men to rise and become change agents that they long to have. People who care and understand the realities that the ‘common’ mwananchi is facing. People who are ready to lead and transform, based on values and not following their political godfathers. People who are ready to live up to their dreams, rise and drive out darkness that has consistently engulfed the country. People who are ready to stand up for the truth, when it matters most, not afraid of the consequences, just like MLK.

Overtime, we have seen more young people rise to the occasion, taken over mantles from old, tired men and women. Some, however, have sunk in the same mess that has held captivate change and progress.

There is something that I must say to all young people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of good governance and leadership: in the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for leadership by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. Let us not lose our values along the way.

This does not only apply to those seeking to be in the political space, it also extensively covers people across all sectors. Our collective efforts go a long way in transforming the nation. It is our call.

In the words of Martin Luther King “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.” Let us be that light.

I have a dream, which I am ready to fight for. So, should you.

Believe and Dare to Dream!

 

Impact,Inspiration and Intentional Virtual learning during the pandemic

Have you ever been sleep deprived? Wondering what’s stressing or eating you up? That was me in March, wondering what to do since schools were closed and the virus was quickly spreading throughout the country. I tossed on my bed as my hand quickly reached out to my phone under my pillow. As I was browsing through Facebook posts, I came across a call for application.

I quickly started the process, in between the application I realised I was giving out too much information and then a voice at the back of my mind said ‘you have applied for many of these with no reply so why should you continue’. Then my friend’s voice came in again to interrupt my voice by saying, ‘Gloria, you always don’t finish these applications, so you end up not being proactive.’ I immediately convinced myself to finish the application in the middle of the night.

Days passed and I forgot all about the application until one day, when someone called to introduce themselves as Jim India from Emerging Leaders Foundation Africa.  I had already read that name on my True Caller app and over-ruled it as a scam, (India is a place not a name, hahaaa). Since I could not remember the application and being preoccupied with other duties at our farm, I asked the speaker if it was okay for him to call the next day around 9am for the interview, he agreed and the interview was set.

I rushed home, prepared myself (goggling) what ABLI was, what I had applied for and what would be expected of me. As agreed, Jim India again called at 9am and from the corner of my bed I replied to each and every question that he asked of me. At the end of the interview, I had to go back through my emails to check the specific advert for the application.

I confirmed that Stella Cheboi had sent me an email; unfortunately, I thought it was another scam. I dismissed it as a result of fraudulent activities and scams that continue to flood the internet.

Surprise! Surprise! ABLI was not a joke or a scam, it was legit!

The African Biblical Leadership initiative is a youth program under the Bible Society of Kenya in partnership with Emerging Leaders Foundation that aspires to equip youth with biblical leadership skills that enables them to address contemporary issues and exhibit Christian values in their day- to- day activities.

The lessons I undertook have helped me to understand my personality type, tell my story in a structured way, and to write my own stories.  I have come to a better understanding of the use of hashtags, using my social media accounts wisely and refining my leadership skills in order to create a strong brand as a young pan-Africanist. Now I know how to spend my time while online wisely, sell value for my products or services and voice up as a Youth.

ABLI has not only honed and added valuable skills to my life; it has enabled me to meet friends, network with them and most importantly I gained a mentor to walk with me along this journey. I have also been able to participate in community service in the beautiful city of Nairobi, Mathare where we equipped class 8 pupils with writing materials to use as the prepare for their exams, facemasks to protect them from the virus ravaging the whole country and encouraging them to do their very best.

During one of the virtual meetings Caren Wakoli mentioned, “When the world sits down, STAND UP, when the world stands up, STAND OUT, when the world stands out, BE OUTSTANDING. When the world becomes outstanding, be THE STANDARD.”

I am truly blessed.

Asante Sana ABLI, Mungu Awabariki.

 

By: Gloria Hlontsatsa Musau, #ABLI2020 fellow.

The Nexus between Leadership and Discipline

Imagine jumping out of a skydiving plane and discovering your parachute doesn’t work. What memories would flash before you? Now imagine the parachute opened. How differently would you act when you landed?

I grew up thinking that being a leader was all about giving orders and being an untouchable figure. I have since realized I was all wrong.

It is unfortunate that most leaders today have distorted value sets, living in opulence and influencing corruption which holds back socio-economic progress threatening peace, security, and stability. As many young leaders try to stand for the truth with their well-guarded value sets, it has been impossible due to the leadership vacuum experienced across Africa, where dissent is crushed and alternative views are discarded, culminating in low accountability. This explains why most of the African countries continually experience bad governance, poor infrastructure, high taxation, poor border crossing policies and inequitable developments. Could this be because of leaders do not understand what leadership means and what it means to be a disciplined leader?

So, where does leadership and discipline adjoin?

Leaders are individuals who do things that failures are not willing to do even though they might not like doing them either. They have the discipline to do what they know to be important and right versus what is easy and fun as quoted by Robin Sharma.

A good example of a great leader is Tom Mboya, who massively influenced social and political revolutions in Kenya through trade unions, his writing and his value for friendship when he fought for the release of Jomo Kenyatta and other leaders who had been imprisoned.

A second example is Thomas Sankara, an army captain who took power during a coup d’état and one who strongly believed in changing foreign and domestic policies to influence change in his country. Often remembered through one of his powerful quotes, ‘while revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas.’

These stories paint determination, commitment, hope, purposefulness, perseverance, and selflessness in the hearts of many across Africa. Celebrated every day, not because of the properties they possessed but the values, they shared with their people in their journey of leadership that were rooted in proper discipline and mastery.

This affirms that leadership is more of what you do every day, by choosing to move away from doing it to being it. On the other hand, discipline equals freedom which creates the power to more flexibility and control over every personal aspect of your life and that makes a great leader. In the space of clear principles and intentionality, you find honor and the discipline to own the results of what you do and will yield your space with influence to call the shots because unconsciously you create trust within and without.

In the words of Peter Drucker, “You can either take action or you can hang back and hope for a miracle. Miracles are great, but they are so unpredictable.”  This just emphasizes that in real leadership there is a mandate for a leader to have command of who they are and what they stand for. Being self-authentic and willing to take in the knowledge of personal mastery and the only enemy to this is fear. Fear that everyone won’t love you: That your choices will not make any difference as compared to past leaders forgetting that every human being is as powerful in the different purposes we serve.

It would be fulfilling to see young people support a political candidate who is not driven by self-interest, but their concepts, principles and the peoples’ need. Unfortunately, the opposite is what we constantly experience.

By being disciplined and authentic, you get the freedom to work under your own values, owning your voice and bringing the best out of yourself. This requires only fur critical skills; vision, influence, implementation and execution.

In the spirit of the national values that demands of patriotism, national unity, sharing and devolution of power, the rule of law, democracy and participation of the people amongst others, it is my call to all leaders and citizens of this great nation to choose service, not for you but for us all. Choosing Kenya and its people over self and choosing to push aside mediocrity and bad governance. Let us all champion for good leadership that is founded on self-discipline and the power of an excellent character.

As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” As Africans we must be able to deal with our problems. Help from outside is alright, but we must learn to be responsible for our own attitudes and discipline. We should be dedicated to lead with discipline and that’s how change is going to be part and parcel of us.”

So, my fellow Changemakers:

Cherish your visions.

Cherish your ideals.

Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts.

For out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment, of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.

Each of us has an opportunity in this complex and noisy world to make some time each day to reflect on the how short life is, strengthen our commitment to goodness and then step out onto the street with a heart full of love.

Will you be hurt? Yes.

Will you be misunderstood? Yes.

Will you feel like closing? Of course.

To stand in the fires of challenge, resistance and adversity and still maintain your fundamental decency is the mark of genuine heroism.

This world needs heroes, you are one.

 

By: Edward Kipkalya, Governance Program Officer

“Only Youth can decide the future,” Ken Ruto

Kenneth Ruto is a strong advocate of sexual reproductive health. Born and raised in Uasin Gishu county. He developed his passion to serve and lead the community when in high school where he got elected as a captain. This early responsibility gave him motivation to fight for the rights of students from poor families who are not in positions to raise school fees.

Currently, he is the Tunaweza County coordinator Uasin Gishu, leading a team of 20 fellows.

Before coming across ELF, Ken sued to mobilize young people to demonstrate against the county government, making noise with no idea of the best ways to approach duty bearers. It was hard for him to access important information on issues affecting young people in the county. His relationship with county officials was hanging in the balance as he was constantly accused of criticizing them without laying facts.

This went on until 2017 when he got an opportunity to be one of the mentees at ELF. The training transformed his life and built his capacity as he was able to get an understanding of the various ways to go through when approaching and dealing with issues affecting young people. This, further led him to a personal slogan which he stands by to this day “Noise to Voice.’

“The training equipped me well enough with knowledge to become a trainer and moderator. I have been able to mentor several young people on the Budget making process, public participation, and other governance issues. The relationship and cooperation with county government of Uasin Gishu is in high gear as compared with past years,” Ken adds.

He has since utilized knowledge and skills acquired by initiating his own project by the name ‘Youth Rights’ where he empowers young people to participate in key decision-making processes in his community. Through this initiative, he has been able to directly reach hundreds of youths directly and thousands indirectly.

He also runs an activity by the name ‘Our Adolescents’ which seeks to sensitize adolescent youths on sexual reproductive health and rights. Several young adults have been empowered through this and he aims to spread out his wings to more.

He has done this despite facing numerous challenges form his colleagues and resistance form politicians who feel threatened by his acts and deeds. However, Ken is not about to relent in his fight for the representation of young people in public spaces and sexual reproductive health.

His parting shot ‘Only Youth can decide the future’

Vijana Tunaweza

“I want to be a leader with a difference” Brian Seli

Brian Seli is a vibrant young man who champions for Devolution and Governance under Emerging Leaders Foundation- Tunaweza Program. He currently works with Emerging Leaders Foundation as the Coordinator of Bungoma County.

He has led advocacy for the implementation of the Youth policy in the County Assembly, inclusion of youths in budget making process through public participation. He is a  lways outgoing and has done mass sensitization on many occasions in the spheres of youths. Brian is passionate about politics, public finance, public policy and cycling, devolved governance and many more. He also commentates on current political and social issues in Kenya.

Being the current Bungoma county coordinator  has given him life lessons. Previously, he was a naïve youth who had no objective in life regardless of having come up with an Empowerment group called The Royal Empowerment Team which collapsed in two years’ time. “I never knew the necessary offices I could visit, and I also never had the courage to talk before people. I used to think that ‘a comrade is always right’ notion but alas, it was a total lie,” Brian Seli.

“When I was invited to attend this great training, I was so glad. The training gave me a realistic understanding of myself. It also gave me power to do better than I was before. I now knew what the CIDP, ADP, CFSP and many more documents were. I gained the courage to share with others and even at times considered myself a great scholar of ELF. My greatest take was that I discover the potentials and abilities in me, I connect with the relevant personalities and then I impact the same to the society at large.”

Since then he has been a vocal advocate on the formulation of the youth policy and attended public participation to take part in budget making processes and in his county.

“The formation of the Youth Policy will be such a great integral part of my work. It will open more avenues for youths since I made sure that at least every ministry has a youth desk fully owned by youths. Together with the support of my team, we ensured that maternal health care is such a crucial thing. We called for the improvement of the maternal health sector. No woman has to die just out of negligence and so forth.”

Besides advocacy, Brian is a leading voice on teenage pregnancies and makes rounds in sub-counties talking to young girls on the same and distributing sanitary towels to those that may be lacking. At the peak of the pandemic, Seli started an awareness creation program in Bungoma town where he uses posters on measures that needed to be taken to control the curve and distributed free masks to residents, majorly mothers and teenagers.

Brian Seli and his team take part in a sanitary towels drive.

Seli desires to further his leadership skills and grow into a formidable leader, not only in his county but nationally. “I really have a desire to grow my leadership skills. I want to be a leader with a difference, a leader who is vigilant and ready to work. A leader who will never sleep until something good has happened. I refuse to be used and bought off cheaply. I believe that one day, my desires will be achieved.”

“Elf has given me the opportunity to lobby for the Youth and even ensure that devolution is working as expected. I have learnt that one must believe in himself to do all this. I am ready to be a mirror of success.”

In his line of work, he has encountered challenges that have affected/ slowed down his work. Being a university student, he initially found it challenging to be the team lead as he thought it was too much for him, but he has since overcome this. Working with young people has also opened his eyes to how ignorant they are and how they neglect public forums, with some registering with no attendance. This has constantly affected his advocacy mission with numbers lowering each time he steps out to run with something.

“We are all born leaders and we have to be patient, tolerating, obedient and always stand firm. A goal be the driving force of a leader. Without clear goals, nothing can be achieved,” Brian adds.

His next goal as the Coordinator of Bungoma is to step out and mentor more young people in his county and the country. “I believe that a well natured vision leads others, I want to become someone great.”

A leader is one who knows the way,

Goes the way,

And shows the way.

 

 

“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. 

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