‘My leadership journey began in January of 2018 when I decided to join the Emerging Leaders Foundation programme. This decision ignited a transformational leader in me: a leader who is keen on the success of all, a leader who has at heart the values and vision to help others succeed -from coworkers, organizations, neighborhood, community and country at large; a leader who is inclusive, strong yet caring, understanding and noble.
Through Emerging Leaders Foundation, I have gained the confidence to start up my own Company; a Social Enterprise ‘Centre for Global & African Contemporary Entrepreneurship’ that seeks to consult and promote Entrepreneurial Development in all aspects. I have also gained the necessary skill to lead various organizations and institutions in different capacities. Through a Corporate Governance training conducted by NEGO (International Centre for Corporate Governance) and initiated by Emerging Leaders Foundation, I have been able gain the mental dexterity that has seen me sitting in boardrooms such as the Women Care Foundation and that of Langata West School among many other roles. Consequently, I coordinate Forum for African Women Educationalists-Kenya Chapter activities within Nairobi Region. Recently, I joined the American Women Association Community Development Committee where I will be spearheading community projects to help develop the nation in terms of community work. As a Doctorate in Business Student at the University of Nairobi, I pride myself in helping those who are not accustomed to being included. I am working to build bridges of understanding, commitment and affection as I progressively transform myself and those around me.
My message to any person young or old would be to consistently persist in all aspects of their lives be it spiritual, economic, physical or emotional. In whatever they do, small or great in magnitude, let them never give up; except to convictions of integrity, honor and righteousness.’
Halima Dube Ursuna
In 2013, Eliud Kipchoge won his first world championships at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships 5000m Junior race and later the Senior 5000m. These could pass as any other wins on the track but with the benefit of hindsight, sixteen years later, a story of determination and persistence can be told.
It’s a story of a man who a year later at the 2004 Olympics in Athens,Greece – coincidentally the land of Marathoners, won a bronze medal. Kipchoge, who I choose to hail today as King Choge, didn’t win a gold medal again until the 2016 Rio Olympics marathon.
This is a story of conquering barriers and disbelief. From a track event to running marathons, Kipchoge chose to challenge himself and set a higher target. The failure to win gold again in the 5 kilometer races, to him turned out to be a push to face the 42 kilometer challenge which he went to win 12 of the 13 world marathon majors that he has entered.
His only marathon loss was when the world record was broken by Wilson Kipsang in the 2013 Berlin Marathon. He has not only gone on to win each of the three Berlin Marathons that he entered thereafter, but set the world record on the same course.
When referred to as the G.O.A.T – Greatest Of All Time-, these stories are an inspiration that it can be done. There are no impossibilities. When you fail once, rise up and move on. Run each race, chin up with your eyes on the prize.
The highlight of his story might be the #Ineos159 Challenge, a race to break the two hour barrier in marathons. Amidst doubts of human possibility, enduring the pressure from within and without, an elated Kipchoge did it with the world cheering him on.
It’s an inspiration worth emulating. Embracing hurdles where others see barriers. When you dutifully trump those hurdles, you’ll have achieved beyond the limits.
Generations will read about this, books written and stories will be told but what will stand out is this quote: “I don’t know where the limits are, but I would like to go there” – Because no human is limited.
Babu Burugu (ABLI Nairobi Cohort 1)
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.
It is often a challenge, especially in the African context, to talk about one’s accomplishments without appearing to be too proud or self-centred. But when the whole continent recognizes your work, remaining silent might be too rude a response to give.
Emerging Leaders Foundation was feted with the African Impact Award on the 16th of August 2019 at the National Museums of Kenya by the Voice Achievers Award.
This award is in recognition of our work over the last seven years, during this time, we have trained well over 20,000 young leaders in Kenya spread over 29 counties.
Leadership is pegged on the ability to influence; individuals, families, organizations, communities and even nations. Everything, we believe, rises and falls on leadership. That is why at ELF we are obsessed with adding tools to the toolbox of young emerging leaders to prepare them for sustainable development of their societies.
Our alumni have proceeded to become productive members of society, championing for communities where people live with dignity and leadership is values based.
Take a walk from Kilifi County where you will find our alumni involved in their communities through activities like sports for change. You will find them in Mombasa advocating for financial integrity in the county. In Makueni and Murang’a they will be the ones mobilising fellow youth around issues and promoting entrepreneurship for livelihood. They will be running for student leadership positions in different universities and institutions of learning here in Nairobi and beyond. In Narok and Migori, our alumni are championing for an end to early marriage and FGM, and promoting the education girls in those counties.
In short, we have successfully invaded all the spheres of our society with the contagious flu of values-based leadership which is proactive and transformative. This award fans to flame our passion for the youth of Africa, besides rubber stamping our place on the global map as the leading African organization on matters youth leadership development and mentorship.
The Voice Achievers Award is a project of The Voice magazine and recognizes Africans and friends of Africa for outstanding achievement on a yearly basis. Among prominent Africans honoured by The Voice in the past are Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, former President of Zambia, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, The Chief Persecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ms. Miet Smet – President European Parliamentarians for Africa, Apostle Hayford Ikponmwosa Alike (OFR), outstanding African diplomats and many more.
Thank you, Voice Magazine, for amplifying our voices and thank you Africa for noticing our local contributions at a global arena.
There have been different forums that have given the stakeholders an opportunity to express their views on how we should best implement this new system of education through the county and national dialogues. As early as last week I got an opportunity to engage at the Kenyatta University on the placement of the universities in implementation of the CBC. With the celebration of International Youth Week whose theme was transforming education, different young people across the country were able to give their views and opinions on the new curriculum.
The question then becomes, what is the data that was collected from the youth in this country. What do we understand about the 8-4-4 and how ready are we to embrace the new curriculum. The truth is young people are aware that we have a problem especially with the current system of education in relation to exploring socio-economic opportunities. As summarized by Dear Little Sisters, an organization keen to rescue young women, “The 8.4.4 system was more theoretical than practical. It prepares students to be employees rather than employers. With increased sensitization on the importance of higher education, there are many graduates every year necessitating CBC.”
The youth however raise several challenges that we feel need to be addressed and offered recommendations for this system to be successful. First, the human capital in form of teaching staff. It is key that even as we transition into the new curriculum, there is a fair balance between the student- tutor ratio. Every child regardless of their physical location should access a trained tutor to foster their development. Regarding the trained teachers, there have been complaints by KNUT that the training offered is not adequate enough, mechanisms should be put in place to ensure training of trainers occurs to enable individual tutors confidently execute the new curriculum.
Resources have always been a challenge in the education sector. With the new system that is more engaging and hands on, the ministry and government should ensure all students in the country have access to the required materials, facilities and infrastructure. Citing one example of Makueni County, there is a shortage of 896 teachers in primary and 2252 teachers in secondary schools which will act as a stumbling block to the effective implementation of the CBC. The budget allocation to education should be increased to allow for communication, engagement and facilitation of the process.
In conclusion, the youth are in support of the implementation of the CBC. We offer the above recommendations if the system is to be successful.
As we end this article, I wish to pose a challenge; we continue to speak about the failure of the 8-4-4 system, what are the interventions in place for those still engaging in the 8-4-4 system and will do so for approximately the next ten years?
Let us view the CBC as an alternative and not necessarily the solution to the different problems in this country. The truth and reality is it will be a long while before the results are observed.
I joined ELF to find my footing in leadership and get inspiration from other young leaders who have dedicated their skills, time and passion to impact their communities.
The theme of International Youth Day 2019, “Transforming education”, highlights efforts to make education more inclusive and accessible for all youth, including efforts by youth themselves. Rooted in Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” –, International Youth Day 2019 will examine how Governments, young people and youth-led and youth-focused organizations, as well as other stakeholders, are transforming education so that it becomes a powerful tool to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Inclusive and accessible education is crucial to achieving sustainable development and can play a role in the prevention of conflict. Indeed, education is a ‘development multiplier as it plays a pivotal role in accelerating progress across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, be it poverty eradication, good health, gender equality, decent work and growth, reduced inequalities, action on climate or peaceful societies. Education should lead to relevant and effective learning outcomes, with the content of school curricula being fit for purpose, not only for the 4th industrial revolution and the future of work, but also for the opportunities – and challenges – that rapidly changing social contexts bring.
The crucial role that quality education plays in youth development is well recognized. In addition, comprehensive youth development benefits society-at-large. However, what is less known is the fact that young people themselves are active champions of inclusive and accessible education. Youth-led organizations, as well as individual youth, together with various stakeholders and Governments, are concretely transforming education so that it becomes a fundamental tool both for sustainable development and for the full inclusion of various social groups. For example, youth-led organizations are transforming education via lobbying and advocacy, partnerships with educational institutions, the development of complementary training programs, etc.
As we count days to the International Youth day, whose focus is on Transfroming Education, we would like to recognize one of our very own mentors who has recently received a full Masters Scholarship with the Chevening Scholarship Awards.
Samuel Ndung’u Wairimu is the founder of Maragwa Mentorship Program, a group of young professionals and university students who visit schools to motivate students to surpass their limit of excellence.
He is also a mentor with Emerging Leaders Foundation (ELF), mentoring young leaders, especially those with interest in agribusiness. This stems from his experience as a student leader at the University of Nairobi and having worked with three different local banks in business development functions. Currently, he passionately mentors three fellows at ELF.
After unsuccessfully contesting for the Maragwa parliamentary seat on an independent ticket in 2017, he started an agribusiness enterprise and currently blogs on agriculture and food security. Most of his articles have successfully been published by the Daily Nation, the Standard and the Star: local newspaper in Kenya.
Recently, he was among the 1800 selected globally to receive the Chevening Scholarship Awards to pursue MSc Agriculture and Development at the University of Reading. Chevening is the UK’s government scholarship that offers future influencers, decision makers to study a one-year master’s degree in any subject at any UK university.
He plans to return to Kenya and apply his knowledge and skills to influence the agriculture policy in Kenya, especially on rural small scale farming to meet SDG 2 on Zero Hunger. He also hopes that through this he will be able to alleviate poverty and bridge the inequality gap.
Keep rising Sam!
Have a conversation with him on twitter
Anselmn Ochieng, an alumnus of our Tunaweza Programme, spearheading G-SETi.org, has been informed by an inherent desire to nurture emerging school children so that they are inspired to tackle challenges with unrivaled confidence.
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