an introverts struggle to be an extrovert

Before I joined the Emerging Leaders Foundation, I had spent a lot of time on the internet looking for platforms that dealt with youth empowerment. I then came across ELF. It took me close to two years contemplating whether I should join or not. Finally, I made the decision.

For a period of time, I’ve always felt like a failure simply because I had not discovered who I am. I am an introvert who has been struggling to become an extrovert since I always thought that to be successful in life you must be talkative. I was wrong. After going through the personality session at ELF, I changed that mentality. I accepted that I’m actually the best version of myself.

For close to 20 years I’ve always associated intelligence with high grades. But guess what? As much as it is true, an average performer can even be more intelligent and of a higher IQ. I’ll tell you why. The moment you realize who you are and make a decision towards being the best version of you, you realize that even if you’ve made mistakes in the past you can still work towards success and become the best there has ever been. I had an inner awakening after realizing that I am actually intelligent and that my personality is still okay and acceptable, there’s is this inner urge that arose from within. The desire to make a difference. A new amount of energy to work towards realization of my dreams and give back to the community.

I understood that it is normal to make mistakes and learn from them. Your past experiences can actually influence your current self and others in a positive way. I chose to let the past be and decided to work towards making the future bright. Getting to listen to other people’s stories and telling my own story was very empowering. I became aware of my passion. Yes! That’s how powerful the life mapping session was. Now I’m able to do something for the community to avoid a repetition of my story.

I met amazing souls who by the end of the day had become acquaintances. Friends who
empowered me a lot by sharing insights on their career growth as well as what they’ve been able
to do for the community. People I can work with to make this country a better place.

To cut the long story short, Emerging Leaders Foundation is the place to be. The positive impact
they make on their trainees is tremendous. They empower the heart broken, those that had given
up on life, those who gave up on working hard because of failures, and those aspiring to be better
versions of themselves.

 

Submitted by:

Shalom Musyoka.

I almost Resigned, but….

“When I joined the African Biblical Leadership Initiative (ABLI) Program, my leadership was in a deep quagmire. I was almost relinquishing my position as the lead pastor of my organisation because we never had consensus in any agenda. All I had was contention after another. When I came to ABLI, I learned how to understand the temperaments of my fellows, to have better business communications skills, to be an innovative entrepreneur, and to lead with compassion. The authenticity of this leadership program is a beacon of hope to those who are struggling in their leadership position. The capacity that it has built in me has raised my inner jolts of strength to walk tall and to believe in the endless possibilities of changing the world than I initially had. From this program I am fully persuaded that I have been properly enlightened to begin pursuing my vision as a responsible citizen.”

Jared today leads a growing congregation at Crossroad Fellowship Ministries in Kisumu, they recently celebrated 8 years of God’s faithfulness.

He is also a budding entrepreneur and committed change champion. Besides ABLI, he is also part of Tunaweza team in Migori, which is a governance and accountability caucus.

 

Submitted by;

Jared Okello.

RUN YOUR RACE, CLAIM YOUR SPACE.

We say we need space, but all we find is empty places as we don’t know what we are in a quest for. Expressively we start seeking the inner peace of discovering ourselves, and before we know it, we are more lost. In that chaos, that’s when we ironically understand who we are. For me, I got lost in the march of 2019, and I think that’s when the occasion of my storms skyrocketed. An unexpected event led to my knowledge of the Emerging Leaders Foundation and the first new page of the rest of my life begun.

Many phases many places may dazzle me, but new faces always put a smile on my face no matter the day and time. Today it was a Monday morning the mother of refreshment cocktails of opportunities, and the faces I saw screamed changes. We began with a fun introduction, in that you had to describe the person next to you and that was an excellent kick-off to team building.

Ever been asked to make a decision that requires your feelings and also logic thinking, and you just gazed unsure of your next move? Well, that’s because self-awareness of your emotional quotient and intelligent quotient hasn’t been made simpler to you. Emotional intelligence deals with self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, and relationship management. With this in mind, one can understand that mind plus heart equal result, so the next time you are faced with a situation that requires logical thinking don’t put your emotions to it. Some studies suggests doing some personality tests helps one in self awareness and also decision making, in doing so you won’t justify your decisions rationally. We also participated in a storytelling art that aid one to open up to the environment around them. Honestly, it’s a scaring thing to do, allowing yourself to be vulnerable among strangers. What you don’t know is that that’s the safest space in the entire Milky way. On day one what a better way to top the cherry-like having a steamy creamy cup of tea with a bite snack.

Highly effective people have a particular rhythm that guides them in building up character. The freedom of choice inclines towards self-awareness, imagination, conscience, and independent will all of which are either stimulus or response. Besides, these habits are the building blocks of our leadership life as new levels bring about new devils. Having the courage to allow transformation shows the acceptance of being void of capacity and competent to thirst for knowledge. Consistency is key to communication as opportunity favors the prepared, you getting my flow by now.

Ever wondered what people say about you when you not in a room? Keep in mind your name is your brand because how you package yourself is what defines you. Always delivering is a promise of saying I did it once, I can do it again.

**brain teaser read about the elevators pitch**

Gender also shows the critical hierarchy of leadership as there is no real social revolution without the liberation of women. Therefore, one ought to be diverse in culture, socialization, religion, and his/her perception as they are deadly weapons to gender inequality and empowerment. This is almost my third day, and by now some electric current of change is causing my crimson blood and the people I met on day one have found a way to my home. You know the famous saying a home is where the heart is?

The currency of life is learning as the day you stop learning; you start decaying. To be a leader is a reader and a writer as documentation is an art. With the current millennial era knowing how to harness the power of social media and using the right channels strengthens your audience. Aside from social media, public speaking should also be practiced as one has to be one on one at the forefront of change. In conclusion run in your lane as nobody is like you and everyone is destined to bear different fruits.

 

Submitted by;

Faith Nyasuguta

IMPACT STORY: HILLARY OMUONO

Hillary Omuono joined Emerging Leaders Foundation in 2017, he was part of a group of students whom we had recruited in the run-up to the elections to become ambassadors of good governance.

Today, Omuono runs an organization called G-SETI which donates school uniforms and geometrical sets to school going children besides offering mentorship and counselling to them. He chose to work with Primary School children, arguing that a lot of attention and focus has been given to High Schools and Colleges at the detriment of the little ones.

What started as a Facebook post out of a need he had identified in one of the local primary schools he had visited, has today translated into more than 500 pupils receiving geometrical sets and visits to over 50 schools.

He says that, “ELF introduced me to my true north and allowed me to think as a solution provider. I can no-longer wait for someone else to come and solve the challenges around me, I must be pro-active at all times.”

While talking to the Standard Newspaper he said, “G-SETI has opened doors for me and given me exposure that I wouldn’t have if I decided to hole myself in books. I have traveled and networked with different personalities.”

Hillary Omuono embodies the quality of our alumni; we are polishing young African women and men to become PIONEERS of their own destinies, SERVE their communities and be committed to VALUES in all their endeavors.

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.

 

 

 

GOVERNANCE & PAN-AFRICANISM RECAP

“Young people are experts of their own experience. No one knows being youth today than the youth themselves”

It has been exactly a week since I graduated from my university. With all this excitement, I couldn’t get a better gift from ELF than this session. As I went through the session, I could clearly see it as a great gift to me. The session inspired me, challenged me and more so shaped my mental focus and strength for the life journey ahead. To summarize in one word, the session was – excellent!

The experience of going through a session, finding out that you have not really done and that you need to hit the reset button in your life in order to progressively move forward was an eye opener to me.

With the theme of Governance and Pan-Africanism, we started off with a training on “Letter to Self”

“Self–awareness is being conscious of who you are and who you are not”

We were encouraged to always learn to go an extra mile and that the self is the basis of your leadership journey. Before we started to write letters to self, we learnt about the basics of character (5Cs);

  1. Consciousness – Everything comes from consciousness
  2. Consumption – Our environments shape us to be who we are. This is the reason why President’s kids become Presidents
  3. Choices – Choices are the basis of our own lives
  4. Cheer yourself up – Learn to be your own cheer leader
  5. Correct yourself – If you don’t learn to correct yourself, someone else will

 

On Pan-Africanism;

  1. As a nation, we need to have a true conversation with ourselves.
  2. Pan-Africanism should start in our families.
  3. Pan-Africanism is about identity at a higher level. This connection should not only

bind us but liberate us.

  1. The love for our continent fuels Pan-Africanism.
  2. The future of any nation is dependent on the young generation. It cannot depend on us

if we cannot show interest/be involved in current issues.

  1. Africa is not interested in people who can die for it but those who can live for it.
  2. The importance of knowledge and information is that;

 It makes you a better person

 It is worth the sacrifice

 It helps you to write more, know more and read more

 It helps you in making intellectual conversations

 It creates value in you. When you create value in you, people notice it.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”-

Ralph W. Emerson

The afternoon session was led by Mr. Maliba. He started out with the above statement. We

had some basics on youth engagement. He informed us that youth engagement happens when

young people have sustained connections everywhere in their life. The determinants of

engagement include;

  1. Social and economic environment
  2. The physical environment, and
  3. The person’s individual characteristics and behavior

The spheres of youth engagement include;

  1. Self-engagement: Emotional, psychological, or physical well-being
  2. Families: Home, recreation, decision-making, food and nutrition, culture.
  3. Community: Peers, faith, communities, school, and other community settings
  4. Society: Mass media, industry and the economy, social service, their neighbor and

politics

Engagement is a cognitive process i.e. when the brain becomes stimulated by external

stimuli, in this case relating to politics, elaboration occurs. To engage effectively, young

people must understand where we are, get their context and global context right. The steps for

effective engagement includes;

  1. Seek to be included from the beginning – Be part of all steps
  2. Have a clear purpose and plan – It will bring the right people along
  3. Identify and secure resources i.e.

 Human resources: coordination, training, supervision and mentorship.

 Financial resources: power, requires energy a lot of it.

 Partnership resources: leverage resources, piggyback on existing streams

  1. Find role play clearly valued in dignity and be empowered because power responds to

power, speak power, be knowledgeable, be informed and know your stuff. Create a

feedback and learning loop that will allow continuous program modification based on

youth input sound boarding.

  1. Structural support and training –Support vs. Empowerment.

Lastly, Mr. Maliba finished the session with a discussion on the tools of engagement. In

summary, here is what he said,

a) Canvasing: Face to face is still king. People can be mean on phone or email; they

are likely to have empathy in one –to-one engagement.

b) Social media and technology: All of us are well versed with it but its use is still a

challenge.

c) Relationships: Be relational. This doesn’t mean that you are sucked up.

d) Protest: Like war, protest is never an end in itself. Protest in dignity is more

important than living in indignity.

In conclusion, all we can do is study the lives of people who seem to have found their

answers to questions of what ultimately human life is about as against those who have not.

Everything great is just as difficult to realize as it is rare to find.

Edward Kipkalya

Emerging Leaders Foundation Cohort 5 Mentee

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.

Traits of a Leader.

The 2nd session of ELF Cohort 5 kicked off on the 25th of August, 2018 at Metta Nairobi. I was looking forward to this session having spent the last one week reading ‘The Seven Habits of Highly effective people” by Stephen Covey. I knew we would all dive deep into leadership and so I was eager and ready to learn.

Our first speaker was full of zeal and inspiration and I took as much as I could during her talk. Here are my best three take home messages.

  1. Leaders have clarity

It is very important to have a clear vision and a route map for your destination. That way, as a leader, you will not be sidetracked by the bumps on the leadership journey. As Marcus Buckingham said “Above all else, leaders must never forget the truth that of all the human universals – our need for security, for community, for clarity, for authority, and for respect, our need for clarity is the most likely to engender in us confidence, persistence, resilience, and creativity.”

Therefore, let us strive to have personal mission statements that will guide us in the leadership journey.

  1. Leaders give back to the community

There is a book I love and that I reread every year. It is called “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom. It is about an old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lessons. My favorite quote in the book is “All the love you created is still there. All the memories are still there. You live on in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here. Death ends a life, not a relationship”. This should inspire leaders to give back to the community because people never forget what you did for them even after you are gone.

  1. Leaders take care of the company they keep

It is said that you are the average of the five people that you spend most of your time with. This is because energy is contagious and it is very important to be cognizant of this fact. As harsh as this sounds, leaders are usually judged by the type of people they associate with. Hence the saying, show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.

There you have it leaders. The lessons were many and might not be conclusively discussed here. But above everything else, be a leader that reads. We can always learn more and great leaders know that the best knowledge is waiting inside a book. As Barrack Obama, the 44th president of United States of America said, “Reading is important. If you know how to read, then the whole world opens up to you.”

Gladys Maina listening through the session.

 

Written By Gladys Maina

Cohort 5 Mentee

 

 

Recap of Gender & Leadership Session.

25 of us (Mentees) kicked off our 2nd ELF session with a lot of zeal, power and energy.

“Leadership and taking initiative are two things that go hand in hand, while all leaders are born, good leaders are made.” Those are the words from Dada Power – Stella as she welcomed us to the session.

My take home:

Leadership is about value proposition. It is all about making an impact and empowering

someone/touching a life. Leaders have the following characteristics: they have

followers, they don’t remain static, they are made, they must initiate, they must have clarity,

they must have a balance, they must give back to their communities and they are shaped by circumstances. Why is leadership important? Human beings tend to be led. That

is the reason you hear the phrase – ‘you are a sum total of your leader’. The whole purpose of

leadership is accountability. As a leader, if you want results, participate.

Leaders have to be accessible, available and valuable. They bow out and are not edged out.

They negotiate and define their purpose. They learn from other people mistakes. As a leader

you must be vulnerable to be ready to learn. One must know that self-sufficiency is not a

virtue at all. There are 4 styles of leadership: Authoritative, autocratic, democratic and

transformational. Be aware of them and when to apply them because all of them borrow from

each other. Leaders must inspire and give hope.

Summary of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

“We crawl before we walk. Fix yourself first before having a meaningful impact.”

. Habit 1 – Be proactive: Effective people are response-able. They take responsibility

of their lives. They focus on their circle of influence rather than circles of concern.

. Habit 2 – Begin with the end in mind: Effective people know that the most important

work is always ahead of them, never behind them. They focus their time and energy

on things that can be controlled.

. Habit 3 – Put First Things First: Effective leadership is putting first things first.

Effective management is discipline, carrying it out. Effective people execute on most

important priorities. Habit 1 + Habit 2 = Habit 3

. Habit 4 – Think Win-Win: Learn to work effectively and efficiently with others to

achieve optimal results. Think win – win is not a quick fix. It is a character based

code for human interaction and collaboration.

. Habit 5 – Seek first to understand, then to be understood: Most people do not listen

with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply. Effective people do

the opposite and communicate effectively.

. Habit 6 – Synergy: Effective people understand that ‘synergy is better than my way

or your way. It is our way’. Don’t mistake uniformity for unity and sameness for

oneness.

. Habit 7 – Sharpen the saw: Effective people understand that they must never become

too busy sawing to take time to sharpen the saw. Renewal is the principle – and the

process – that empowers us to move on an upward spiral growth and change of

continuous improvement.

ELF Cohort 5 elections:

Eventually, the time we had been waiting for eventually reached – to elect our ELF Cohort 5

officials i.e. the President, Deputy President and the Secretary. Being an aspirant of the

Deputy President seat, I was prepared for it with my massive campaign strategies. We were

given 10 minutes to do the last campaigns before pitching our manifestos in 2 and a half

minutes.

The Election Process:

The exercise was conducted in a free, fair and credible manner which was very impressive and the following were declared winners:

  1. Mr. Dennis Leiyan – President.
  2. Ms. Catherine Njeri Gathuru – Deputy President.
  3. Ms. Faith Wachira – Secretary

Lessons Learnt:

This was the first time I lost an election and I learnt that sometimes you have to lose to win, I also learnt that, failure is greatness waiting to happen. The more you dream at work, the

more you raise your standards, the more you say ‘I want to play world-class’…you are going

to get blooded/discouraged. The more you innovate, the more you are going to get stumbled.

Even in your personal life, the more you dream, the more you reach, the more you dare, the

more you are going to get hurt. That is just the price of ambition. The secret is to turn your

PAIN into POWER, turn your SUFFERING into STRENGTH and FAILURES into

FORTUNES. We don’t grow when things are easy. E.g. when things are falling apart, that’s

the chance to learn empathy; when someone has wronged you, you can blame the wrong doer

or learn forgiveness; when someone has lied to you, you can learn boundaries etc.

 

Edward Kipkalya

Emerging Leaders Foundation Cohort 5 Mentee

 

 

 

 

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?”