The third and fourth group of DOT Interns delivering the MasterCard Foundation - funded ReachUp! program are currently in the field facilitating the ReachUp! curriculum. Last week, we talked to some of them on their experiences and visions and here is what they had to say...
Elvin Oeri Nyagaka: I am a holder of a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Studies and Community Development from Kenyatta University. I am registered with the National Environment Management Authority as an Associate Environmental Impact Assessment Expert. In a bid to further my career I am pursuing a Project Planning and Management Course at the University of Nairobi. Before joining, DOT I had an opportunity to work with the Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers, which entailed empowering farmers on various aspects.
Millicent Tossy: I am a 25 year old lady and a graduate with a degree in Education. I am self- motivated, a team player, a result oriented person, I aim to offer quantifiable results, I'm always thinking ahead and consider every challenge as an opportunity to excel to greater heights, and I also have good interpersonal skills. I possess strong organizational, time-management, conflict management and team building skills.
Charlton Omondi: I am a graduate of Moi University with Second class Honours Upper Division in Technology Education (Electrical and Electronics Technology). I am very passionate about change in perception of life and the society in general. I am also a lifelong volunteer to the service of humanity through volunteerism. In my day to day work, I aim for achievement of excellence. I am a great team player and a leader. This I can attest to the various teams I have led in the past, which include: Kenya Red Cross Society, Moi University Chapter (Chairperson), Electoral Commission of Moi University (Chairperson), Technology education student organization of Moi University (Organizing Secretary).
EXPERIENCE SO FAR
Elvin: I am at my initial stages of delivering Reach Up! Program in Nyamira. Going to the field where DOT centres didn't exist before was not such an easy task. It meant that my first task was to negotiate to prospective partners and do intensive advocacy to get participants. All was well for me until the day I was to start facilitating in Bigege Youth Polytechnic when the plan was changed due to demonstrations by students; this meant I couldn't start my delivery. Fortunately, my plan B of reaching out to youth groups in one of the rural settings came to my saving. I have had to translate it into Eekegusii since some participants neither understand Kiswahili nor English, all in all the communication is achieved. I am also glad to say that we have come to an agreement with St. Anns College in Kisii region to facilitate in some of its centres.
Millicent: I have now owned the fact that through me, DOT has constructed a bridge to link people from development shyness to a well equipped community armed with good technological knowhow, business skills and improved livelihoods, which will help to remove ignorance and illiteracy. I have established a good networking system with my participants and now they consider me as one of their friends whom they can freely talk to, seek advice and clarification concerning their current and future plans. In one centre I easily got a committed team but in the other I had to use my skills to get the participants to cooperate.
Charlton: It has been amazing! Joining the DOT family is an opportunity I have been yearning for a long time. I've always dreamt of working in an environment where there is continuous growth in knowledge with the sole aim of empowering people to achieve their individual goals and appreciating the existing available opportunities. I have been able to learn a lot in a short period and I have met so many inspiring people who have changed my life in so many ways.
Elvin: I am currently using Riakimai Primary School to do my facilitation which is poorly equipped with ICT infrastructure. Thus, I have to mobilize computers including my laptop to facilitate ICT modules. However, I am likely to have so many centres come June 2012 when St. Anns College and the yet to be established Youth Empowerment Centre are opened with their state of the art technical facilities.
Charlton: Currently I am facilitating ReachUp! Program at K.C.I.T.I based in Eastleigh, Nairobi. The centre is located where there is a vast number of unemployed youth, a majority of whom have given up on life, have low self esteem, are idle and abuse drugs. There is business potential in this area due to the population and the mass flow of people from other places; it links Kenya to other countries like Somalia and Ethiopia because it's a huge shopping market.
SUCCESSES SO FAR?
Elvin: My success in month one of my internship is on the number of partnership agreements made bearing in mind that DOT did not have partners in this area before. I have managed to create partnerships with five youth polytechnics, three learning centres of St. Anns College and yet to be commissioned Business Information Centre and Youth Empowerment Centre. Negotiation skills, better presentation of WIIFM statements and unique approach of Reach Up! Program has won most hearts.
Millicent: I have managed to get 46 participants for the Reach Up! Program in both of my centres. My participants are self-motivated and are inquisitive which improves their learning and expands their thinking. Through them I have learnt a lot on what it takes to be a good mentor.
Charlton: My biggest success is participating in spearheading the partnership between DOT and K.C.I.T.I. Having over 50 participants who are willing to join the ReachUp! program including about 15 members of staff. They believe that the program should have started earlier because now they see a bright future ahead.
MY ADVICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE
Elvin: Have focus in life. Jobs and livelihood opportunities are created and not awarded. Remember, the Governments' role is to create conducive policy and regulatory framework the rest is upon us. We have the skills and knowledge. As the youth, optimize your potential.
Millicent: The young people should shun away from ignorance and fear of development. If the old are willing to learn and grow, the young should feel challenged. They should use their talents to improve their livelihoods; failing to try is trying to fail. They should come up with ways they can employ others instead of waiting to be employed and later sink into drugs and immorality due to their frustrations.
Charlton: The young people should realize their skills, strength and passion and find a way to fit them into the existing opportunities around them; which will help transform themselves and their communities from grass to grace through successful sustainable businesses or employment. They should learn to lead a life of continuous learning through appreciating the power of ICT in development in the 21st Century.
MY VISION IN 3 YEARS
Elvin: Be a leading consultant in empowerment and entrepreneurship training. In addition I have started working on a business enterprise; soon venturing into agency banking.
Millicent: To be an influential female activist, striving to achieve growth in terms of skills improvement, job creation through talent identification, economic growth especially for women and the youth; I also want to pursue development studies. I hope to work all over Africa to enable the communities identify what they have to do to enhance, develop and suastain themselves.
Charlton: A leader in a community where the youth, women and vulnerable members are; empowered about their skills, strengths and passions, are aware of available opportunities around them and use these to secure successful and sustainable livelihood. I wish to lead a community with a vision, capacity and willingness to achieve their set vision with use of the present ICT systems available.