Impact Stories & Blogs
Our team share their insights and perspectives on the impact our program is having on youth in East and Central Africa.
by Harun Mwadena, Cohort 30, Kenya
I was a street boy. I grew up poor a good part of my childhood, in the far interior of coast province, in a small village called, Ifunda in Kambe-Ribe Ward of Kilifi County in Kenya.
After failing to join university in 2016 for lack of fees, I came across the YALI RLC EA U-Learn online courses. I had a hunger for knowledge and a great desire to serve humanity even as a street boy in Mombasa struggling to make end meets. I completed 20 courses in civic leadership. I had found my purpose. I wanted to transform my society and create sustainable impact. In 2017, I left Mombasa to go back home to my community in Kilifi. This was the birth of my project, Lamukani, which means wake up. I mobilized my peers and together we would work as Kambe/Ribe Lamukani Youth Forum.
Through this organization, I have invested in the development, equipping of leaders who have purpose, motivated by service to humanity, and driven by sustainable results to achieve an inclusive society.
Having volunteered for 4 years without funding, we have come to believe, to serve humanity is greater than the desire for money. With the very little, we have had different programs that focus on youth and women. Lamukani Youth Forum has been advocating for sexually reproductive health rights trainings, focusing on relationship issues, managing puberty, providing a platform to young girls to tell their stories and provision of free sanitary pads. We have managed to reach over 400 underprivileged adolescent girls in schools within Rabai District of Kenya.
Through our employment program, we have been supporting them to pursue one of two pathways; self-employment or employment. We have achieved this through use of systematic approach; building and growing market-driven enterprises using Design Thinking skills. One of the major projects I have undertaken is preparing detergents and disinfectants. This has benefited over 100 youth from informal sectors and young mothers.
With support from Human Rights Agenda (HURIA) and Arigatou International, we have been enhancing the level of awareness, knowledge and understanding of radicalization and violent extremism to communities with the key target being the community policing members, learning institutions, local youth leaders and media. Currently, we plan to improve our capacity-building program to train youth advocates and women to know more about radicalization, violent extremism and equip them with skills on changing the narratives that promote ideologies of violent extremism.
There is comparatively low level of women involved in peace and security issues as compared with those involved in human rights and development issues. Our focus has been to ensure women and youth have more control over their life choices and know how to tell their stories. As a personal initiative, I launched it in Ethiopia in May 2019 where I collaborated with YALI RLC EA Ethiopia chapter and Ethiopia America Space. Through this, we managed to bring together 74 Ethiopian youth and women and they are now ambassadors of change.
In January 2019, I was selected by YALI RLC EA as one of the young leaders from East and Central Africa to participate in a 4-week intensive leadership training. Through this, I fully discovered my life and leadership journey. I learnt some principles of leadership that have helped me to lead effectively within my community. This was a stepping-stone for all my success stories of 2019 as captured below:
- In February 2019, I was appointed as one of the board members of Kambe/Ribe Vocational Training Center where I am mandated of welfare of fellow youth and development of the Center strategic plan.
- In June 2019, I was nominated to be a YALI RLC EA Alumni Kilifi County Chair with key mandate to lead YALI RLC EA programs from the grassroot level with support from my fellow alumni.
- In May 2019, I was selected among the top 20 youth from East Africa through a program known as ChangemakerXchange hosted in Ethiopia, sponsored by Ashoka and Robert Bosch Foundation.
- In July 2019, I was elected as Secretary General of IGAD Centre of Excellency on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (ICEPCVE) of Kenya where our mandate will be to strengthen collaboration & coordination in the prevention/countering violent extremism (P/CVE) space.
- In August 2019, I got the opportunity to hone my leadership skills as a peace influencer, particularly in addressing violent extremism in the region, and using creative storytelling for policy and social change. This was a fully sponsored opportunity by Arigatou International.