Impact Stories & Blogs
Our team share their insights and perspectives on the impact our program is having on youth in East and Central Africa.
Sally Musonye, Kenya - WiAP Cohort
Six years ago, I took the maiden step of joining the YALI network by submitting my first ever application. My sole motivation then was a schoolmate who seemed to be excelling so well as a YALI alumni. I was unsuccessful because of my non-impactful and messy submission. Occasionally, I would follow her work in the community and her desire for growth and change was transformational. I resolved to be a change-maker and strive to lift others to learn and share in my joys and successes. The resilience, commitment, and dedication gave birth to my present status as a proud alumna of the YALI RLC EA - WIAP cohort.
All this zeal has been informed by my neighbourhood, Mathare North, which has its fair share of ups and down on matters of education, empowerment, gender, and inclusion. Having had the privilege of studying in a primary boarding school, I felt that it was my duty to ensure my friends and peers get to see and experience the other side of a “good” life and big dreams, the possibilities in impossibility.
In 2015, I began AshGold Africa Initiative whose main objective is to innovate, inspire and interact with young girls and women through mentorship. We seek to create a network of female leaders in STEM who will be role models and inspire younger generations in pursuing STEM careers. As an electrical engineering graduate, I joined the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to grow professionally and advance technology for the benefit of humanity. The three areas of focus are diverse and yet give a personal sense of satisfaction and fulfilment.
My YALI RLC EA training experience can be equated to a blooming jacaranda tree in the spring season. I realized that I had been doing my engagements as separate events, yet they shared a similar foundation, humanity, and community service. The design thinking models, partnerships, and financing knowledge blended into one tree with several branches. I am now able to integrate engineering, technology, and community service in my STEM mentorship activities.
Adversity is one of the most challenging and yet rewarding obstacles that life puts in front of you. In my life, I was struck with great adversity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Working in rural Kenya, Kitui County, the impact of the adversity greatly affected our economy, way of life, and livelihood. Partnering with IEEE Kenya and the global IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee, I conducted a mentorship session and donated foot-operated hand washing stations, menstrual products, re-usable face masks, soap-making ingredients, and Queenengineers magazines to Kyeni Girls’ School in Kitui. To ease the post-COVID-19 back-to-school burden and inspire the girls to pursue STEM especially on TVET training.
We have recently installed roof-top solar to Blessed Peace Children’s Home in Makindu area, Makueni County, and participated in a mentorship camp at Samburu Girls’ Foundation in collaboration with eMentoring Africa.
My biggest YALI RLC EA lesson has been on building partnerships and community service and empowerment as the models that drive sustainable development. The impact of the great training is seen in the transformational experiences of our communities.