Ultimately, We Just Want to Make it Alive.

After 15 years of being away from home in pursuit of an education, I stood at “garage” formerly Kenya Bus station in Eastleigh, ready and still waiting for the ‘lorry’ which was the main means of transport from Nairobi to Moyale. From stories I had heard, the journey from Nairobi to Moyale town would take at least 2 days. To overcome the boredom, I had carried with me some novels to read on the way, snacks, and a valuable treasure back then -mp3 music player. As we sat waiting for our means of transport, one of the travel agents approached our area to assure us of our safe travel. As this news was being delivered to us, I had been sitting in the waiting lobby for 6 hours, next to a squirmy child who had an undiagnosed stomach-ache that couldn’t give us peaceful moments. I could not read or listen to my music as the waiting room was small and for fear of missing my journey I could not step out.

Drop your maturity hat, play online games, share jokes online, keep track of that group conversation, like, share, consume creativity… just do anything that keeps you sane.

Relief came in when the lorry’s engine was started, our only means of transport home. As the driver stepped on the gas, the noise inflicted pressure on my cochlear. The child adjacent to me didn’t just cry — he let loose desperate, primal screams that could not be extinguished with hugs or sweet Juice. His anguish was so extreme that fellow passengers zoomed right past anger and straight to incredulous pity. As we went past Thika town, I decided to lend out a hand to the mother and held the crying boy. He was gazing at the sky and started pointing at the clouds.

The boy’s mother was embarrassed and anguished with pain. Her face looked pale, tired; her eyes full of tears. An elderly lady seated across kept on encouraging her, but she could take any of that. “Don’t worry about it,” she said. “When you travel with babies, or with other passengers your only goal is to arrive.” I asked her to elaborate. She responded, “Well, traveling with kids is a whole different thing than traveling in a vehicle with grown-ups only,” she said. “Forget about napping, reading a book, or listening to music.It felt she was directing that to me, as I was adjacent to the mother holding a novel that I had tried to read severally but in vain. I tried to listen to music but due to the noise around, it wasn’t an option as well.  “For the mother, her primary job is to keep the baby safe and comfortable. Other travellers care about their safe travel and getting to the other side in one piece. They understand none of the mother’s struggles.”

Since then, I have kept this simple yet profound concept in mind in most of my travels. I always take with me key necessities and even though it may not be as fun as it was, the mantra has helped me keep my priorities in check.

After the outbreak of Covid-19, I read articles and listened to shows encouraging people to avoid coronavirus by staying at home and learning new things. At this point, the old lady’s advice came screaming back to mind. Today’s flight or journey (equated situation created by covid-19), has been very much delayed: not by hours, but months. Travel conditions are —to put it mildly— suboptimal. Each of us should have in mind one goal; to arrive on the other side in one piece.

With our reality changing, we also need to change the metrics by which we judge our success. If Satisfaction=Experience–Expectations, and much of the experience is out of our control, this is the time to make sure our expectations are realistic and achievable.

I am praying that the current situation is one of the passing waves or travel delays or swept bridge by floods. No one can easily tell about the anxiety caused by job losses for others or severe unpredictable situations and unsettled minds. All you will hear is, read/write a book, reclaim your beach body and do something extraordinary.

As you hope to cross over, your main job is to maintain sanity, stay healthy, and where you can, offer kindness to your fellow humans. (No, this doesn’t mean you have to hold someone else’s baby like me in the lorry for the rest of the journey it means sharing food stuff or cash and checking up on your neighbours.) For parents like the lady whose child terrorized us in the lorry, your children may force you to watch cartoon network and animations over and over.

Given the current norm, this is absolutely the wrong time to take on unreasonably ambitious goals. When you’re trying to hang onto a job or keep an organization or company afloat, while home schooling your kids, arranging ways to continue with advocacy, supporting the less fortunate in the community and bathing only occasionally, you are already operating at a very high level.

I know you often open the fridge at 2am and find it empty, get disappointed that snacks you had budgeted for two weeks, don’t last a day. You are continuously finding yourself have dinner late in the night, working at night and gazing, continuously browsing, and switching from twitter to Facebook to Instagram, WhatsApp status and the new darling Tiktok. Forget the motivational nonsense and over consumption of daily updates on the number of infections and deaths. Drop your maturity hat, play online games, share jokes online, keep track of that group conversation, like, share, consume creativity… just do anything that keeps you sane.

Dear Kenyans and Africans, I know you’ve heard or watched the news from Italy, France and USA. And just so we are clear, Italy is not Somalia, France is not Southern Sudan and USA is not DR Congo- the first two are countries in Europe while the latter is the famous America. These are developed countries whose health sector was and is still rocked and almost crumbling under covid-19, not forgetting that they are among the G8 countries – highly industrialized nations. If Covid-19 has managed to destabilize G8 countries with proper established health system, what about African countries like Kenya? Our politicians and prominent businessmen and women are always flying out of the country for treatment abroad.

By now, everyone remembers CS Kagwe famous statement, “If we continue to behave normally, this disease will treat us abnormally.” To me this means that things may get worse if we are not cautious. In the meantime, help yourself by turning on the self-preservation mode. Use what you have sparingly, limit your movement, treat everyone as a covid-19 carrier.

The undeniable superheroes out here clearing our ways or mending broken bridges right now are not your prophets performing miracles, not preachers, not your favourite avengers character or those handsome men you are always fancying on soap operas. They are under-paid doctors, nurses, other workers in the hospitals, the workers getting food to the shelves, community champions who are collecting food stuff, and creating awareness about the disease.

To cross over we must help our heroes and heroines by staying home and caring for ourselves and those around us. We can do our best within the controllable elements of the experience. This is the time when you secure your mask before your child’s. Sleep eight hours, stretch, meditate, take a walk, and observe the guidelines including social distancing. If you’ve got that covered, look for ways to brighten someone else’s day.

Please don’t beat yourself up for not using the ‘lockdown’ to “live your best life” or start a real estate business in your pyjamas.

Back to my story, when we finally reached Moyale barrier, no one among us cared how we looked, what we went through or anything else, all we cared for was that we arrived safely, having maintained our cool.


Submitted by:

Ahmed Maalim-  Manager, Governance and Advocacy

Spreading Love amidst Covid-19 Pandemic

I lost my struggle to sleep earlier than expected last night. I had worked for thirteen hours straight. Though it may sound as if it was a bad thing, something good came off it. I awoke without the alarm, no struggle with the loud tune or snoozing. I could not envision a better way to start a new week than this. The morning birthed energy and brought hope for life’s renewal. Did you feel the same energy this morning? Each day has its own style of making an entrance. People wake up to it bearing different emotions. In life we have a couple of basic emotions that humans feel, and they are all valid, since they give you a sign of what is happening to you.

No matter the emotions you bear waking up; be it enthusiasm and positivity, hostility, dampened mood, defeat or aggressiveness; there are things that can cheer you up and beautify your day. One of them is your attitude. In Franklin Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, he states that ‘Between a stimulus and a response, there is a freedom to choose how you will react to what is happening to you or what you are going through’. This means that we have the power to create our own realities.

When someone genuinely compliments you, learn to accept that compliment and soak in it.

Self-love and affirmation are other ways you can create positivity around you. This can turn sad emotions to happy ones. When is the last time you stood infront of a mirror and admired everything about you? Have you ever had a self-talk in the mirror and affirmed that you are beautiful, gorgeous, a performer, energetic, infectious smile or that you are the most brilliant being you have ever met? Self-affirmation gives you a boost of confidence as you start your day.

Affirming others and giving honest compliments are best way to inject life and energy into another being. It brings out the vibrance, renews energy and widens smiles. I am blessed to be with my younger sister during this Covid-19 period. As a hard worker she is, she wakes up before the alarm to clean the house, enjoys cooking and is easy with every other task around the house. These simple words “I do appreciate your service to us, the food is delicious, and the house is sparkling clean, you are the best!” makes her smile widely and gives her a sparkle in her eyes. This shows how powerful a compliment is to human beings.

When someone genuinely compliments you, learn to accept that compliment and soak in it. Allow yourself to feel great about it. And when you see something worth affirming or complimenting, go ahead and offer it. It may change someone’s life for the better, and they may carry it for life.

Now that majority of the population are working from home, you rarely see your colleagues, classmates, friends or family. This does not mean that we affirm or complement them less. On the contrary, this is the time people need it most. Think of someone from your circle of influence. Recall one genuine and amazing thing they are good at, then call or text them (a call would be great!) Remind them of that gift they have, tell them what you truly miss about them, what you admire most about them. Knowing that someone cares, remembers them or misses them will lift their spirit and brighten their day.

We all want to bring a smile to someone’s face, right? So, lets dive in and make this day special for the people we care about.


Submitted by:
Stella Cheboi-Programs officer, Leadership Development 


“Revisiting” Kenya’s Judiciary.  

The close of last year (2019) saw the Judiciary revolt against what it termed as ‘control by the executive’ due to budgetary cuts from treasury. Chief Justice David Maraga lashed out at the executive and the current finance Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani and sought answers as to why the judiciary was the main target of huge budget cuts. In his press conference, Maraga explained how budget cuts were affecting the judiciary’s ability to reduce the number of unresolved cases that lie in files.  

Is the judiciary under-funded or is it failing in its mandate and finding excuses to distort the reality?  

There is no global standard for funding the justice system, the UN only recommends that member states provide adequate funds to the judiciary, how much, is a political decision. 

The Kenyan Judiciary presented a budgetary request of KES 31.2 billion in the 2019/2020 financial year. This budgetary request was first drastically reduced to KES 17.4 billion, and later suffered a further reduction to KES 14.5 billion, an over 50% deficit cut. In the previous financial year, the Judiciary received only 40% of its budgetary requirement with a resultant effect that it is unable to sufficiently fulfil its core constitutional mandate of delivering justice to Kenyans. This trend is consistent with previous budgetary cuts in the last five years. 

The 50% reduction in development funding to the Judiciary equates to suspension of over 100 court construction and rehabilitation works that are at various stages of progress which are meant to improve physical access to courts and reduce the distance travelled in search of justice. 

Is there a correlation between funding the judiciary and delivery of justice?  

According to Prof Luis Franceschi, founding dean of Strathmore Law School, “Reducing the financial resources available to a judiciary may indeed threaten judicial independence and create a more subservient judge, but it also hampers the entire institution’s effectiveness. It reduces its adjudicatory capacity by lessening its accessibility. 

Defunct tribunals, the abolition of mobile courts, less efficient judicial systems, and reduced personnel are among other consequences of reduced funding of the judiciary. 

This article does not assume that efficient funding of the judiciary will miraculously heal the institution of its bad manners, for instance, the ministry of devolution has so far had two major scandals, NYS I and NYS II- but no case has been fully mentioned and no key suspect has been arrested in relation to the same. Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Gitonga Riungu in 2017 said that Ksh. 11 billion may have been lost in the case. But why have the cases taken too long to be exhaustively prosecuted? There have been cases that have been completed at a faster rate. Unfortunately, most of those cases have been around low-profile citizens. 

The public has been treated to a war of words between the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the office of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the former accusing the later of shoddy investigations which cannot stand trial. The judiciary has also accused the ODPP of not arguing its cases effectively and sending inexperienced lawyers to court. All this time, many judges have been accused of corruption, most recently through confessions of the Akasha brothers who have been jailed in the USA for dealing in narcotics.  

Additionally, there is a distinct lack of adequate training for probation officers to build competencies to address emerging demands from criminal activities and to adapt modern evidence-based supervision and rehabilitation programs. The number of probation officers is not adequate to meet the demands of magistrates and high courts in the country.  

Improving the performance of our justice system is a complex and long-term issue which goes beyond budgetary improvements. Funding will undoubtedly help us deal with the backlog of cases in our courts. However, injecting money to the courts will have to be augmented with an ethics and integrity check among the judges and court officers. 


halima dube; “i lead with conviction”

‘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.’


Forwarded by:

Halima Dube Ursuna

Cohort 4

no human is limited

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.


Submitted by;

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.


Submitted by;

Faith Nyasuguta

The African Impact Award.

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.

Meet our Mentee: Seleyian Partoip

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.

Read more


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.

Apply for Cohort 8 here!