A Beautiful Reflection on Leadership

Growing up as a first born, I was always responsible for my sibling’s well being. I would give a few orders here and there, which would be dutifully followed, perhaps for fear of my dad. My granddad too placed me in charge of all his goats, sheep, and cows. I would decide who would take care of what and when, and for fear of him as well everyone would dance to the tunes. In school I had some small position of responsibility where I could get a few things done and again everything would happen with very little objection.

Then I got into the job market where again I ended up being in a position of authority working with a team directly under my supervision and I had no headache. My instructions were well followed and my seniors would marvel at how I was leading.

What was lost, even to me, was that in all the above situations the followers in the all the cases feared losing or running into a situation that would definitely be unpleasant. My siblings and cousins knew too well the consequences of defying my orders because there was indeed a powerful authority behind my words: Dad and Granddad. In school the last thing my fellow students would have wished for was ending up in front of the disciplinary committee and for my team at work, the thought of losing a job would be too much to handle. For the followers, there were very few options, if any.

But this year, in this community that we organize, I have witnessed real leadership. Trust me, leading the community that has very little, if anything to lose, no father, grandfather, disciplinary committee, or a boss to fear and definitely not a job to lose is a whole different story.

I am, on daily basis, learning the huge difference between managing and leading. Investing in people who can actually wake up in the morning and drop a call just to say, “by the way I am gone,” or worse still just disappear into the thin air, I have learned to stretch my hands to slow walkers with the hope that some day they will walk with my pace and willingly knock on a door and have it slammed in their face, but show up again the following day and gently knock again hoping that this time around things will be different.

I canĀ  confidently say that weather 1,200 children commit to going to school consistently or not I have indeed had a taste of what it feels like to really lead in a real world.

Cheers to all leaders I salute you. You are incredible!

Jacob, along with members of the leadership team in Ngong.
Jacob, along with members of the leadership team in Ngong.

-Jacob Okumu, Tatua Community Organizer

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Getting Closer

“We were following a beacon of light that seemed so far away,but now it’s getting closer with every coming day. Let’s join hands and hold the hands of these parents so that they too may see the challenge and the urgency.”

– Zulpha, a cell member in Magumoine, Bulbul Community

Bulbul community currently holds seven cells. They are meeting every Saturday until we launch the campaign in August. There will be a big kick-off event that will bring all seven cells together. Check back next month for updates after the event.

Strategy is a Process

Building a workable strategy is a process.

A process that needs constant revision, review and new ideas that can better the existing work plan.

In appreciation of this the leadership team in Ngong constructed a whole department known as the strategy team. Currently the group consists of four people who will constantly keep the entire team adhering to the plan and always be on the look out for new ideas that will better the current structure.

What are some more ways to increase the accountability and efficiency of campaigns?

Standing Strong to See Change

Imagine yourself standing in a room and listening to women listĀ all of the responsibilities that have been thrown on them while their husbands spend most of their time in liqueur dens taking cheap liqueur, which they call “changaa.”

Now envision them standing strong at the same time.

As our organizers work in the office, those women are on the ground recruiting more people to work towards the eradication of child poverty in their villages. How amazing is that? These women not only want to work towards getting children back into school, but they also see the importance in working to rehabilitate their husbands and others in the community. They want to see change!