REACHING OUT TO THE NEW GENERATION OF LEADERS

School leadership is second only to teaching among school-related factors in its impact on student learning and cannot be ignored. The question that many people ask is what makes one school to be a high-performance institution and another school to record poor results?

Our nation’s underperforming schools and children are unlikely to succeed until we get serious about leadership. School leadership refers to the deliberate effort to enlist and guide the talents and energies of teachers, students, parents, policy makers and other educational stakeholders towards achieving common educational goals and academic success. This can be achieved through collaborations to improve the education process, materials and training. Educational institutions need leaders who have a vision for improving and ensuring quality in learning and management. This begins from the top levels of ministry to the basic level of parents ensuring there is a clear plan on how to promote student learning and growth.

In Kenya, there is a great concern over the type of leadership guiding and influencing our students. In the 43rd Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association Annual Conference held in Mombasa in June 2018, the meeting highlighted some of the challenges facing care givers in whom we entrust our children. One of the agendas was how to address cases of laxity in performance and sexual harassment of students by teachers and school staff among others.

The education sector plays a key role in molding the future generation of this country. As such we cannot afford to take a back sit as we witness wrong doing and lowered standards in the sector. As different stakeholders it is important that we play our part to ensure our students get through the highest quality and standards of education despite being in a public or private institution. The backbone of how this will be implemented falls and rises on leadership.

The quality of training and qualification of school heads should be evaluated. It is also important to ensure that there is regular capacity building for these individuals to ensure they are in a position to influence good teaching and effective learning. We can have strategic training programs aimed at enhancing the care holders’ knowledge in working effectively with the school and education community at large.

It is with leadership development as one of the solutions, that we shall witness effective leadership and well-developed institutions in our education systems. This will automatically have a trickle effect among the different stakeholders eventually reaching the students.

 

Written By;

Sofina Merinyo

Ass. Programmes Officer,

Schools Leadership Development.

THE ‘TWIN’ JOURNEY OF TRANSFORMATION.

In 2013, two brilliant and extraordinary ladies joined our program; Linda and Lina. Identical twins who were already high impact leaders at the University of Nairobi, Linda was the SONU Secretary for Gender, while Lina had just been elected to the SONU secretariat. Both ladies were ambitious and thirsty for more empowerment opportunities. They joined one of our programs then, “Ladies of Splendor” through which they were trained on leadership, good governance and mentorship – and later on they were partnered with a mentor to walk with them and guide them on their leadership journey, as we do with all our mentees at the end of any of our classes.

Through ELF they both had a chance to be trained by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on political leadership, campaign strategies and the political parties processes. Later on, they were trained by Heshimika Excellency Initiative on innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development in line with our belief that every young person must be tooled with livelihood skills to enable them solve everyday challenges within their communities.

Linda and Lina later joined the Red Cross Club which enabled them to give back to society and teach them the value of servant leadership which is at the core of our training.

Through the networks they formed and the forums they attended, the visionary ladies started their own initiative called; The Identical Family, which today has over fifty sets of identical twins as members. The organization focuses on corporate events management and also visits mothers who have delivered twins to share the joy with them and break any stereotypes associated with having twins in Africa.

Lina says,

“ELF prepared me for the corporate world through public speaking training which has been of great benefit at my current job as a Marketing Executive in a financial Institution. Five years down the line, I look back and appreciate all the skills I acquired and the networks I formed”

The adorable twins point to a quote by Marianne Williamson in her poem (Our Deepest Fear) as having the most influence on their leadership journey to date,

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

Linda is a relationship officer at an insurance company where she enjoys meeting and working with different people. Lina on the other hand is a marketing executive and prides in having cross function expertise in business and financial analysis.

This is the ELF dream, that we would help every young leader in Africa to discover who they are, and find a higher purpose to live for, that we would connect this leader to like minded young leaders to form a critical mass of change agents and to also connect them to mentors and organizations that would help prepare and guide them towards their purpose, finally our mentees would bring positive change in their respective communities through initiatives that solve the challenges around them.

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA RECOGNIZES THE WORK OF EMERGING LEADERS FOUNDATION.

On the 17th of July 2018 the world congregated in Johannesburg to celebrate the 100th birthday of an iconic man who conquered all odds to champion for the freedom of south Africa and the end of apartheid, a man who alongside other compatriots brought healing to the people of south Africa. Nelson Madiba Mandela.

And who better to give the keynote lecture on this day than President Barrack Obama? On the back drop of this celebration was the coming together of two hundred young African leaders from across the continent who are change agents in their communities, they had been brought together under the auspices of the Obama Foundation whose mission is to inspire, empower and connect people to change their world.

Among the two hundred young leaders sitting in south Africa to discuss the issues of our continent and possible interventions was the audacious young Kenyan, Caren Wakoli who is the founder and executive director of Emerging Leaders Foundation – a non-governmental organization based in Kenya that offers all round training and mentorship on leadership to the youth in Kenya.

It was both humbling and exciting to hear president Obama recognize our work on this important day, this level of affirmation acts to fan our passion to see to fruition the work of leadership transformation in Kenya and Africa.

 

In our six years of existence, we have reached over 7,000 young people, from different counties who are causing impact in different sectors – We have deliberately designed a leadership training and mentorship experience for individuals to impact their communities and for interns or entry-level workers to muster necessary skills to thrive in life. We equip the youth with knowledge and skills to enable them to constructively participate in governance and policy processes.