…Champion of the #RebrandingSlumsOfAfrica Mission – WE CAN DO IT.

PASS IT ON

PASS IT ON.

Looking back might not sound like the thing most would want to do and more so when it has to do with a regret. “I wish I knew that then – I wouldn’t have…..” are familiar words when one realizes that they have hit a dead end.

Not so anymore as Mentors and Leaders of the International Churches of Christ – Nairobi took it upon themselves to build careers and nurture leadership when time is tour advantage. Led by Bro. Francis Kamau and Wife, Albert Nashon and Wife, Mr. Kimani, Wambwere, Mbugua Kinyanjui, George Khisa, Newton and Enock – the team has been brainstorming on how to use locally available resources to build capacities of its teenagers.

One such an instance was the just concluded exercise where over 72 participants were taken through a Personality Trait and Testing Test online (Insert photo) Amazing deal when parents offered to have their laptops be availed for use by the children including bringing a loaded modem to access the online tool – the exercise was an astounding success. These are teens who are growing in a World full of challenges leading to desperation and mediocrity. And worse off in Kenya where the education curriculum has been blamed for producing “half baked” graduates into the competitive job market.

The rate at which young persons are getting exposed to happening s outside their homes is rapid and they seldom get adequately prepared for their future career choices and endeavors. This initiative is therefore a big plus for the organizers. A chat with Joy Mandila and Emmanuel Arvin reveals its great success. I had always wanted to be a news anchor, now with my traits revealing otherwise; what is my fate? Asks Joy, whose DISC results puts her out as an introvert of the Steady or Melancholic type – silent and very relaxed. Arvin seems pretty excited that he is on the right path and has just been bolstered by the revelation – he can now focus. As an Influence or Phlegmatic personality also denoted as a blue, he just needs to fix his social skills and all others fit in.

How many kids get such chances to build on solid foundations in a world where economic crisis have taken Mother and Father into the work fields?  Many African children are so disillusioned by the Principles of Professionalism. Helping these cohorts make the right and informed choices early is a core support process that every parent must engage.

Luckily; this is not only happening in Umoja, but 3 km away at The Slumcode Centre through a major investment by Tara West of the famous Australian Resume Writer – out of school youth, job seekers and even professionals now have access to a professional Career Guidance Tool that helps generate Employment seeking documents from very well researched and designed templates with over 1039 professions covered. This is a great solution to Youth Empowerment and Employment in Kenya. The Slumcode Group again wins a plus for availing cutting edge technology right at the grass root and helping raise living standards for the needy persons in Huruma and beyond.

Not only in Africa, but across the divide in India, The Slumcode Group’s German Ambassador – Ulrike Reinhardhttp://about.me/ulrikereinhard is building the We School http://www.we-the-school.orgon a concept to enhance children access to fundamental solutions. The lowly need Professionals to STAND UP and be counted. From “I” to “WE” this concept is changing the World based on the idea of synergy, teamwork and Oneness.

There is nothing greater than building on a strong foundation and The Slumcode Group, International Church of Christ Nairobi and The We School are playing their part to shape future generations.

Will your presence be felt, can you support, do you want to be a change maker? Talk to me today and let’s be the change we ought to see in the World.

If we can make things happens, then we shall talk less.

When leaders sat down in 2002 to craft amongst many other documents the Youth Employment Network – Alexandria Declaration of 6Es more solutions were to follow and resolutions of the General Assembly years later brought forth the Opportunity Fund for youth development now in its third tranche.

The whole idea of youth empowerment and employment must revolve around necessity and reality. Funding and Financing of youth led initiatives has come of age. Initiatives by young people are no longer for social impact alone but economic empowerment and sustainability. Read the rest of this entry »

With the global economic meltdown – survival can only be for the fittest – where fittest is relative. Who empowers and who’s to be empowered?

I have witnessed over the years communities as vulnerable as they are succumb to ideologies without basis and accept to enroll in projects without impact. Non Governmental Organizations or as one Local Administrator satirically made intonations: Nothing Goes On – NGO have cast aspersions or alluded to the fact that communities must be segmented into viable areas of need and recently funding has been channeled to specific areas for specific remedial measures. This modus operandi is by far welcome but only in theory and principle.

The monitoring and evaluation appraisals carried out by these organizations are purely based on targets and rightfully so a strict means of verification comes in handy. The big question however is do things change or an impression of a graduated situation is created to justify existence and by extension funding?

Take for example the menace that is HIV/AIDS and Global Fund pulling funds out of this kitty and into a more acute problem – possibly cancer or malaria, does HIV go away? Or the reported numbers create an impression that all is well. The Millennium Development Goals just 3 years away have many targets yet to be realized by many governments. My point in this is so many solution oriented organizations have found their way into unsuspecting communities to bring piecemeal services that appear to solve their problems albeit superficially. These organizations have templates for Entrepreneurship, ICT, Conflict Resolution and even Food security but scale and scope is compromised based on impact to community. Intended recipients are over sensitized on many of the above without intention to support infrastructure, competency and professionalism. An area littered by the numerous, “Sponsored Courses”  banners, many which deliver substandard lessons to the chagrin of commercial institutions.

Over time, most of the projects or programs brought in by these agencies are being carried out by the youth themselves and a need to raise stakes in service provision is ripe. The battle of brands, corporate collaboration and donor funding are all big issues between youth and these middle agencies. Organizations seeking to empower youth in slums must rethink their strategies and define newer techniques to curb the situation. The corporate practice too must be transformed and more focused and personalized partnerships developed with various stakeholders – many organizations have split well organized groupings just to realize their own agendas. Dedicated partnerships to implement various categories of projects are a welcome rule of the game. These are the methods that increase the capacity of youth to learn corporate strategies, project management, business relations, governance and financial systems.

Slums are therefore not dumpsites for unapproved interventions. Government must vet and institutionalize operations and terms of community reach out by the many change agents. If the clear intention is to make  a better life for many then take them to the next level and many will fill the space. A friend once said a great NGO is one that sets camp, achieves mission and winds up – not in practice.

…a personal library would make my house complete, and why not.

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Celebrating International Youth Day and Slumcode 6th Anniversary 2012 at The Slumcode Centre rooftop was an amazing experience for the Huruma Community.

One would be shocked that when I asked a group of over 50 kids from ages 4 – 16 what the word “Nation” meant; it was easier to connect my answer to a local Kenyan newspaper in circulation and a secular music group called, The Swahili Nation than to some sovereign state. My effort to explain the word “International” almost hit a dead end as none could relate (nation) to (country). My deduction – enhancing a reading culture must be at the core of developing this community. Read the rest of this entry »

To empower Kenyan youth and enhance a reading culture; a call to action best sends the message. Caroline Mutoko a renowned Media Professional with Radio Africa’s KISS100; an FM Station with huge following in Kenya through her Big Breakfast Show which is Authoritative and Precise on issues, couldn’t say it better, “I am big on education, I am big on reading. I love what Slumcode is doing.” Together with a fellow avid reader; Mr. John Ngumi CFC Stanbic Director Investment Banking Africa, joined efforts in the donation of over 100 Inspirational, best reader novels and poetry books by Kwani.

Arvn Emmanuel admires “The Facebook Effect”

The approval of a role model of such standing signifies authenticity of our initiative. African’s are not originally keen readers hence the adage, to hide anything from them, put it in a book. Not any more as we can boast some of the best Professors in Medicine, Research, Tech and Law fields.

Spending time with Emmanuel Karuku (11), Faith Atieno (14) and Dabraham Mbugua (10) Read the rest of this entry »