Harun Mwadena

Dear young people, Dare to pay the cost for accessing a purposeful life.

“What is my purpose in life?” This was a question Harun Mwadena Muyesi struggled with when he finally completed the YALI online courses he was doing after his Secondary School education. He shared with us his story of launching into his purpose at our offices. 

Harun joined a small Primary School in Ribe village to acquire the marks of joining a National  Secondary School. True to his determination, he was able to join a National Secondary School where his passion for community development was sparked. In School, he became Cabinet Secretary for Clubs and Entertainment Prefect, and alongside the administration he was able to reduce the cases of strikes and students sneaking out of school.

“I was the youngest Prefect elected while in Form 2 first term, in my time at Ribe Boys High School. I believe it shaped my passion for young people.” Mwadena notes proudly. 

“After graduating from High School, I found myself in a state of confusion because I felt the need to discover myself and get direction in life.  I wanted to pursue a career in line with my passion for young people. I set out to take an ICT course  in Mombasa Town whilst I enrolled online to study civic education. After successfully completing my online studies at YALI I went back to my community in Kambe/Ribe Ward,” He vividly shares. 

Launching into purpose

Harun noticed the lack of drive amongst young people in the village. Most young men were getting into criminal  gangs and underage girls were getting pregnant. So, he took it upon himself to mobilize five young people and apply the knowledge he had gained from his online YALI studies in 2017 in the hope of solving this challenge.

“We began a whatsapp group with a cousin of mine, my late uncle and two other friends, then I requested each member to invite at least five new members,” He recounts. 

The General elections was a common  topic nationally. Harun mobilized young people for  a peace walk, and Civic engagements whereby he encouraged young people to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner, and participate in democratic engagement during the general elections. This kept the forum engaged and vibrant. The main focus was to help young people to become proactive in their own lives, these initiatives enabled more young people to connect hence he named the forum  Lamukani Youth Forum. Lamukani means awaken. 

Harun also held motivational and mentorship engagements for the young people. During these engagements he discovered that most young people lackedLamukani Youth  interest towards community-led groups. Additionally, he discovered that the young people didn’t have economic muscle to even afford their cost of living.

Lamukani Youth Forum at the Stories for Peace initiative sharing on how COVID has affected them.

One day, while surfing the internet, Harun received  an advert  from a friend about the DOT Kenya’s Youth Leadership Program. It was a pilot program in 2018  targeting Social Innovators seeking to create impact in their communities. Out of curiosity, he applied for it as he continued interacting  with youth on trendy issues at a community and national level. 

Introduction of new knowledge, tools and networks to grow the youth forum

‘’I began pursuing some of the economic opportunities available to us as young people within the community by utilizing local resources from within the community without external support.” He expounds. “This served as encouragement for youth in the forum since we were able to get into an income generating activity.”

“When I joined DOT Kenya, I gained skills in social innovation, personal branding, preparing financial documents and coaching that enabled me to overcome the challenges I was facing while implementing projects and activities. The skills I gained enabled the financial development of the forum as I was now able to improve on marketing strategies. We were able to enlarge our client base which led to increased profits. My network grew as I was able to meet like-minded individuals. “ He elaborates carefully. 

One key approach DOT Kenya has applied in its programming is the peer to peer approach that allows young people to support and  grow alongside each other by holding each other accountable.  Additionally, Harun learned about Human Centered Design where he was able to focus on building the economic opportunity for young people within the forum.

“After the training, I received an investment that made things smoother for the initiative. We settled some loans and were able to secure more economic opportunities from three new clients. Additionally, I was able to brand the initiative and kept our activities updated online.” 

The Soap Making Business by the forum empowered 20 youths as they got an employment opportunity. Additionally, to facilitate logistics for the soap the forum collaborated with 30 motorcycle owners which enabled economic development.The project ended in 2020 due to the global pandemic.

The exposure Harun received from the training has opened more opportunities for him locally and globally. He has grown to become a voice of youth to reckon with by setting the pace for other youth leaders. He won the Youth of the Year award under Exemplary Leadership awarded by Youth Agenda and Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs in 2021!”

 harun  Harun Mwadena receiving his award

“The blended approach in the program allowed for me to get clear feedback on the challenges I faced with real time explanations. This made it practical for me.” Harun reveals. 

As we ended our meeting with Harun he shared a quote he says is close to his heart. A quote that has been a guide to him: Do not  give me fish. Do not teach me to fish. Give me the critical steps to revolutionize the fishing industry.

DOT Kenya offers an array of opportunities to serve as a catalyst for young people to improve and grow their livelihoods. For Harun, the Youth Leadership Program opened many avenues for him. Are you a young person, we have available opportunities for you, please use this LINK to learn more about them. 


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