MashLav Foods: a Thriving Social Enterprise Founded by a Young, Daring Innovator
Martha Kamande: A Community Leader Impacting Youth and Women in Mombasa
A study shows that every year Kenyan universities release approximately 50,000 graduates into the job market. In January 2021, Martha was added to this pool of unemployed graduates. After completing her Bachelor of Science in information Technology (IT) Degree, she immersed herself into serious job hunting. Being a fresh graduate from the Technical University of Mombasa and having no prior job experience, looking for a job was a tough experience for her. After receiving several rejections from employers, she decided to shift gears.
A few months after her graduation, Martha committed herself to studying short online courses to expand her knowledge. Some of them include IT support and web design basics. She also maintained an active social media presence, especially on Instagram where she learnt about Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) Kenya. She researched further about the organization and one thing that stood out to her was the fact that DOT Kenya is youth-led.
“It clearly portrays how much potential DOT Kenya sees in this generation of young people, and how much they are invested in improving their lives, she said.”
During her interaction with our content on social media, Martha came across an advert highlighting DOT Kenya’s need for community leaders and she applied.
After the hassle and hustle of searching for jobs and upskilling online, finally there was a silver lining. Her application and interview was successful. “I joined the Digital Business plus ICT program for my first year as a community leader in 2021 and later on transitioned to Digital Jobs Level 1 in 2022,” she narrated her experience.
“In 2021-2022 I trained in Digital Business plus ICT in YMCA Mombasa, Changamwe Social Hall in Changamwe and Chaani. I am currently training on Digital Jobs Level 1 in the Jomvu Sub-County Office Complex in Mikindani, Martha added.”
Martha has trained over 100 youth and 70% of them are women. Her participants have been able to gain personal empowerment skills, which aims to help them build their Self Confidence, explore their passions, identify their dependable strengths and skill; and learn strategies of self-marketing. They have also been introduced to online platforms such as LinkedIn, Zoom Teleconferencing and Google Meet. Exploring career options and income-generating opportunities that are aligned with their vision, values, interests, skills, traits and abilities is also another area that the participants have been equipped with.
Besides helping youth to acquire skills and knowledge, Martha has also achieved personal and professional growth. Attesting to this, she said, “A major personal growth that I have experienced is the boost in my confidence. Before joining DOT Kenya I would be anxious when it comes to addressing a group of people.” She has also learnt how to build her network and gained skills in problem solving, adaptability, negotiation, decision making, leadership, communication, coaching, facilitation and so much more.
During her facilitation, Martha encountered youth with different personalities, which was quite challenging but also a learning experience. Through DOT Kenya’s annual facilitation practicum sessions, she was able to share these challenges and she was guided on how to solve them.
“My highlight has been on how I can now manage to handle different situations with minimal stress levels, putting in use the critical thinking and creativity skills. I got to learn how to be understanding and patient with people and situations.”
Talking about how her experience at DOT Kenya aligns with her future plans, Martha affirmed that, “I believe the skills I have learnt align with my aspirations and career path. Some of them are a must-have when pursuing any career.”
“The networks I have created have been so helpful in my current path and hopefully in future I will be able to make something out of these connections to help me achieve my goals. I aspire to take on new opportunities that come my way. I want to be able to work on projects and make a meaningful impact in the world. I am determined to make my career goals a reality and I am up for this challenge.”
Outside work, Martha crotchets bags and throw-blankets for commercial purposes. She also likes to swim and watch movies. Her advice to the youth out there is to take advantage of opportunities at DOT Kenya. The programs are sponsored, which means participants access them for free and they are also effective.
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