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.

 

 

“The most fulfilling thing to do as a human is being kind and giving back”

Linda Salbei is the founder of Linda Msichana Organization a Community Based Organization in Kericho County centered in benefitting girls and women towards attaining quality basic education. She is passionate about empowering girls and women in business. A young upcoming entrepreneur, Linda has been in the field of charity for close to five years now where she has reached out to the youth, women, and community at large.

Her first time engaging with Emerging Leaders Foundation was in 2017 when the organization had a countywide training and mentorship program for community leaders. She was lucky to be among the first people to be trained in Kericho county amongst other young leaders. After the training, she got an opportunity to be part of the 1st Youth Devolution Conference held in Nairobi where she meet and interacted  with other young leaders who were part of the ELF county networks and were doing amazing things in their communities.

Because of these intense trainings from ELF her way of operation at Linda Msichana have changed drastically in that as an organization they are more aware of the roles of community leaders especially those in elected positions therefore making it easier and more efficient to hold them accountable for their actions. “This has greatly influenced me as a leader in that I am now bold enough to engage them in our activities and approach them when we need assistance from their offices a good example is during allocation of bursaries for needy students we are able to get slots for the young mothers and school going girls who are very needy.”

 

“My greatest takeaway from ELF is that our leaders are approachable people and it is our duty as change makers to reach out to them if we want to make our community a better place.”

Her biggest interest in life is reaching out to the younger generation and seeing them pursue their dreams especially when it comes to talent and skills. “I am a believer that talent and skills can open doors and change lives. I enjoy making crafts as a way of practicing my talent. ELF has played a major role in mentoring and empowering me to not only be a great leader but also a role model and a voice to many young women girls in my community and therefore I would want to pass down the knowledge I have to those around me,” she adds.

The most difficult part about her journey and work is on resources as they can be scarce making it challenging for programs to run. Owing to this, Linda Msichana has programs that promote and enhance talent and skills that the girls have.

“We have been teaching them how to make Ankara bangles from recycled material that we collect from local tailors. From this we are able to sell the products locally and this small income sustains the day to day operation of the organization. We sometimes face difficulties from community members who do not understand our work in the community and this is where we bring in chiefs and local leaders during our community outreaches to further explain to them what we do.”

Linda has picked many lessons along the way but she has three lessons that she key lessons learnt that she can share with other leaders.

  1. It is important to be passionate about the causes we believe in because in this way passion fuels purpose.
  2. Being persistent and consistent are essential in achieving results.
  3. Leaders should also be resilient no matter the circumstance!

“Our short-term goal as an organization is to have programs for girls running throughout the entire Kericho County as for now we are in three Sub Counties. For our long-term goal, we want to set up a community resource center that will cater for not only school going girls and young mothers but also the whole community.”

“I believe the most fulfilling thing to do as a human is being kind and giving back!”

“ELF helped me believe in myself and step out of my comfort zone”

Vincent Ogallo Mwita is an ardent social worker focused on full eradication of female genital mutilation & gender-based violence cases, with keen interest in championing democracy & youth inclusion in national and devolved system of governance from the South west part of Kenya, Migori county.

Vincent was born and raised in a community where female genital mutilation and gender-based violence cases were a norm. Growing up, youth voices least mattered in the development agenda. This was a struggle for him as he always felt that more needed to be done on GBV. In his quest to form a network of champions against Gender based violence and poor governance that excluded voices of young people from key leadership and decision making spaces in his county, Vincent came across Tunaweza capacity building training, which he choose to be part of.

“I had interacted with most Leadership and Development alumni. Their knowledge, ability and understanding of various issues and conduct really inspired me. I needed to be part of ELF, I was always checking out for any openings,” he adds.

The Tunaweza training project in 2019 was a transformation and turnaround season for Vincent and other trainees as they were able to get capacity building development that shaped their leadership perspective, equipped them with skills to meaningfully engage their county leaders in order to spur social accountability and community-driven development.

Currently, Vincent is the Tunaweza coordinator, Migori county, and also serves as an executive member to the Commonwealth Youth Gender Equality Network (CYGEN); a youth led global network of the 53 African states which actively promotes and supports the meaningful inclusion of youth voices on gender equality issues in local, national, regional, Commonwealth and international agendas.

“The training gave me an opportunity to believe in myself and step out of my comfort zone to go for leadership opportunities even beyond my county of residence. I was able to apply many other leadership and skills development opportunities. Recently, I was among the 207 trainees from 14 African countries who just concluded Yali’s training and I am among the 700 selected Young African Leaders for Mandela Washington Fellowship 2020 who are currently undertaking online trainings.”

Together with other Tunaweza fellows, they have strategized and come up with Migori Tunaweza Empowerment team; a name drawn from the training that they all attended. Under the team, they have positively engaged with their county youth department and raised concerns on various issues, this has further led to the start of the Migori County Youth Technical Working group (TWG); a stakeholders coordination team whose mandate is to champion for youth development agenda within the county sectors and departments through action plans. The team has also been able to develop a Migori County Integrated Action Plan (CIAP) which has contributed a lot in the budgetary processes of the county.

Vincent is also actively engaged in civic education on Constitution of Kenya (2010) with his key priority areas being around devolution and public participation. Through this, he is targeting young people in all sub-counties in Migori to ensure they engage and participate in key development agendas in the county.

Together with his Tunaweza team, they have launched a Covid-19 response campaign dubbed ‘Tunaweza Girl Empowerment-keep girls safe at home’ that targets to reach out to four thousand adolescent girls and one thousand adolescent boys (1000boys) led by team members. “We train them on menstrual hygiene, donate sanitary towels, give them trainings on sexuality and encourage them to abstain from sex as we highlight effects of sex at tender age and negative effects of female genital mutilation. We also provide mentorship to them.”

He also engages in making local door mats, selling, and buying of materials for making re-usable cloth sanitary towels as a social enterprise venture that aims to provide sustainable, accessible and affordable sanitation for young women and girls. “We get little income and in return use some of them in solving the menstrual problems amongst the rural needy girls. So far, the project has reached out to over five thousand (5000) young women and girls since 2019 with the re-usable cloth sanitary towels as we make.”

We celebrate Vincent and his efforts in fighting GBV, FGM and championing for good governance in his county.

 

Winfred Mukosi: From noise to voice to impact

Winnie is a Moi University graduate with a Bachelor of Business Management. She is the founder of Linda Watoto, a Community Based Organisation (CBO) that runs its operations in Makueni county. The CBO advocates for children rights, mentors’ kids to grow and be part of a promising generation that will run the nation in later days. She is also an advocate for gender equality and equity. An enthusiast of politics and governance, Winnie is the current county lead of Tunaweza in Makueni county where she leads advocacy for good governance and youth engagement.

I am a living testimony, of transformation; from being a noise maker, to a voice of the voiceless.

Besides being the Tunaweza county lead and founder of Linda Watoto, she is also a member of the Regional Women Forum of International Conference of the Great Lakes Region, an appointment she recently got to serve in the Kenyan chapter of ICGLR RWF as the person  in-charge of Humanitarian and Social issues pillar at national level. In the line of children and gender rights, she is a member of Makueni county gender-based violence (GBV) committee and a trained anti-GBV champion by the gender violence recovery centre of Nairobi women. Currently she is working on having a POLICARE centre – a one-stop centre for handling GBV cases- in Makueni county.

She credits much of her current confidence and abilities to her ELF training. Through this, she got to understand herself and started unlocking her potential and activating them.

“My first interaction with ELF Africa was in June 2018 during the youth devolution conference. I learnt so much about devolution and the NOISE to VOICE became my assignment. Seven months after the devolution conference, I heard that ELF was coming to our county, I expressed my interest to be part of the team that was trained. That was the greatest eye opener to my advocacy and governance work: the budgeting process, the county government documents, the devolution structure, roles of every leader, how to get information and the petition process. By the end of the training I became a VOICE.”

She has also been able to grow on her digital advocacy skills, personal branding, and fact-finding courtesy of her Husika training, that she got at ELF.

As the Tunaweza county lead, she is leading a team of 22 young vibrant members who together, they train and share their advocacy knowledge with other people in the county and lead. They also train people on social accountability and the budgeting making process.

“This country is full of energetic youth, if ELF and other stakeholders can reach out to each and everyone one of them and make them unearth their potentials, I am sure it will leave most of them transformed. We should not be united when tearing each other down but when building ourselves and the nation,” Winnie.

“I am a living testimony, of transformation; from being a noise maker, to a voice of the voiceless and I can see the great impact. From noise to voice and impact”

 

 

Ephantus Mburu: Enlightening young people on opportunities that exist at the county level level

Ephantus Mburu is our alumnus of the day. He is currently serving as the Tunaweza county lead, Muranga county. Ephantus is a trained medical laboratory officer who is practicing the profession besides leading from the  front on matters advocacy. He has a strong passion for good leadership and governance which he believes are vital for the society and country to grow politically and economically. He seeks to progress in terms of his career and continue with advocacy of public interests.

Ephantus credits much of his current knowledge on governance matters to his ELF training. “The training was an eye opener for me. I didn’t know much about budget making process and how I can participate, issues of public participation were also well taught to me and I have actively participated in various public forums and aired my views.”

In his capacity as the Tunaweza county lead, Ephantus leads his team into creating sensitization to youth on matters around governance and campaigning against early pregnancies. “After training, we identified a gap in civic education in our county and we endeavored to enlighten youths in our county on matters of good governance and their rights.”

Through this, they are enlightening more young people on opportunities that exist for them at the county and national level and how they can leverage on opportunities available for them at the county and national level.

“ELF came in handy for us as we got prior training and were advised and directed on a number of issues. Our members have ambitions and in future I hope some will become leaders at corporate and political level and use the knowledge that we are gaining,” Ephantus adds.

His favourite quote, ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.’

We celebrate Ephantus and his advocacy works.

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’

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.

Is it the best or the worst of times? Make the choice.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way. . . .”  

This opening statement from “A Tale of 2 Cities” by Charles John Huffam Dickens hints at the novel’s central tension between love and family, on one hand, oppression and hatred on the other. It paints an almost similar picture of what is happening now. 

In this trying season, your actions will help define your strength as a young leader.

The world changed in March 2020. We transformed from the best of times to the worst of times without warning. The #Covid19 pandemic is entirely incomprehensible despite expectations of such happening from earlier predictions. We will be able to tell the coming generations of this season. We will speak of the pain and the harm. We will talk of the wisdom and honour that this season has taught us 

Tim Leberecht, the author of Business Romantic, says ‘Everybody is weighing in, has smart things to say, agendas to push, products to market, good deeds to promote, feelings to share, videos to post that add to the cacophony (discord) of a species that simply cannot shut up, even when it’s told to do so. It is much easier to express our humanity than to be human these days.” This reminds me of the ‘Paradox of our Age’ where it talks abouthaving more conveniences but less time; more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgement; more experts, yet more problemsmore medicinal products, but less wellness.  

I have never seen so much volatility in my life. And—yet—I have never witnessed such an opportunity for heroism, leadership, and exceptionalism, especially for young leaders. These truly are the worst of times and the best of times. If we are open enough, this will be the season to shine. We are all in this together and we must work to finding a solution together – each person contributing their skill and expertise in a different way to get through this. 

As a young leader, how do you navigate this transition period with courage, grace, and unusual optimism? This is a question where there are no answers but only choices and you must choose where you lie. For example, you have to choose between despair and hope; between self-reliance and working together with the community; between arrogance and humility in responding to directives; whether to hoard or to share; whether to focus on lack or find gratitude for what we have; whether to focus on problems or solutions. 

I suggest 5 key things 

  1. As a young leader, you should become a Hope Merchant – If you are not lifting people, you are pulling them down. The finest leaders are extreme optimists and heroic enthusiasts. When things fall apart, they maintain their grace, concentrate on the upside, and continue to radiate the energy that causes their followers to perform at their absolute best. (A job of a wartime leader is to protect the hope of their followers.) 
  2. Remember it’s ok to not feel ok – We are humans, fear and anxiety in messy periods are normal. Honour the emotions and they will pass through you. Sometimes it feels like society says you should be always happy, and that showing your sadness is a sign of weakness. We all have good and bad days. It would be inhuman if you didn’t feel the stress of the deep volatility, in some way or another.  
  3. Practice “deliberate kindness” – Whether it’s sewing masks for healthcare workers, tutoring students who are learning from home, or buying groceries for your elderly neighbours, identify the ways you feel comfortable and can help out to improve the situation in your area. This will help people around you while also helping you with any feelings of hopelessness. 
  4. Use the news as a tool versus a drug – Find out the latest facts on this very fluid situation and pivot, as necessary. The constant exposure to coverage of this situation can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety.  
  5. Don’t suffer from Normalcy Bias  Instead, stand strong and prepared to thrive through this. 

In this trying season, your actions will help define your strength as a young leader. I believe that what will see you through is having the right tools – information, courage, cooperation, faith – and using them to the fullest. While we exercise social distancing protocols, our people still need to hear from us, and we still need to hear from them. 

No matter what channels we use, young leaders have the most power to engage, the power to inspire our generations, and the power to create hope. Hope matters, hope is a choice, hope can be learned, hope can be shared with others. 

It might not stop the virus, but it can help stop anxiety, panic, and promote kindness and community-mindedness while displaying the best of our humanity, in some small way perhaps we can play a part in helping turn the worst of times into the best of times. 

As a young leader, is it the best or the worst of times? The choice is yours. 

 

Submitted By:

Edward Kipkalya- Programs Officer, Governance