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 Hassan Mulata, Cohort 12, Kenya
I am from Marsabit County in Northern Kenya and an award-winning activist who is passionate about women/girls rights, community peace building and development. I am the founder of Initiatives for Progressive Change (IfPC) which is a community-based organization that inspires change and transforms lives. Being passionate about women/girls empowerment, I identified the harmful cultural practices and in particular, female genital mutilation (FGM) as a foundation to women/girls disempowerment and eventual community underdevelopment. FGM robs the girl child of her right to education and childhood leading to early marriages and high rate of school dropouts. There is also the risk of death from excessive bleeding or infections and numerous medical conditions. I carry out campaigns against this practice through creating platforms for community dialogue on effects of FGM. After my training at YALI RLC EA, I was able to reach out to one hundred women and youth leaders representing over three thousand members to whom they cascade the information during community dialogue. In addition, I have trained 126 youth (57 female/69 male) across the four sub-counties of Marsabit County on Social Change Communication in a bid to build their capacity to trigger social movement within their different communities. The group of trainees are expected to directly reach approximately 3,200 of their peers and become part of the anti-FGM youth network – Marsabit Chapter. This campaign is not limited to creating dialogue and capacity building exercises but also utilization of existing platforms such as social media, blog writing on positive stories of change and local FM radio talk shows where thousands of people are reached. In order for community development to be achieved, there must be peaceful and harmonious co-existence among the communities that I serve. Hence, I am also involved in community peace building through active participation by closely working with the Interfaith Council of Marsabit that plays a mediatory role between Borana and Gabra leadership. I am also a member of Marsabit County Committee working on development of County Countering Violent Extremism Action Plan. After YALI RLC EA in the Civic Leadership track, I had a paradigm shift on how to view myself as an individual and the society as well. With sharpened problem solving skills courtesy of design thinking model of addressing issues, I have been able to look beyond one or two generations into the future and embrace community challenges as an opportunity to solve them. Synonymous with Marsabit, is the acute water shortage and food insecurity. To facilitate access to clean and safe water, I am working on the Maji Safi na Salama Project, that intends to harvest rain water into water pan and install a water purification and treatment system. This project once actualized is intended to cut water cost by 75% in the target area (approx 700 households).This project will also have a ripple effect of spurring economic growth and enhancing community health. On food security, with insufficient rainfall and an unpredictable weather pattern, I have introduced Mulata’s Farm, using irrigation and embracing demand driven farming. I have prepared three acres of land to plant kales, tomatoes, spinach and green pepper. With Marsabit market relying on Meru and Isiolo for grocery products, the prices of essential grocery items consumed by most of the households on daily basis is exorbitant yet the purchasing power of many is restricted. Mulata’s farm will identify about 40 small-scale grocery traders and empower them as the farm agents to sell its produce at subsidized prices.