Pauline Wanja is Future First Kenya Programme and Advocacy Manager.
It is a sunny Saturday and this weekend’s alumni events takes me to a school nestled in the leafy suburbs of Nairobi. The school is one of the oldest national public girls school in the country, the 100 year old buildings make for a spectacular view and working on Saturday afternoon feels like an adventure.
Today’s event brings together 150 student from The Kenya High School and 21 alumni and mentors for an afternoon sessions titled “One more step into my career Journey”. The first session is a plenary session with five alumni and a life coach. They talk of their career journeys, relationships, motherhood, identity crisis, humble beginnings and work ethic.
“I put a lot of effort into my work when I started out and now it is paying off” said former student Wavinya, who started her career as a bus conductor and is now the Business Development Director for Media Products East Africa.
“I am moving into a new job in June still dealing with equities, I know I have to be very good to prove that a woman can do it and also that an African woman can do it”.
Two hours into the program we all go for as short tea break after which all the alumni and mentors sit in a row and mention the different careers they are in to allow students to ask targeted questions on various careers.
As the day goes on and the conversation between the girls and the former students flow, the schedule end time comes and goes.
As I listen in I cannot help but marvel and think to myself that the future of the next generation of young Kenyan women leaders is in safe hands. I spot the teacher in charge seated in a corner, I join her for a brief feedback sessions and to let her know how grateful we are that she spared her Saturday afternoon to be with us. She tells me she has been a teacher for 30 years and she is supremely gratefully for the session.
“The curriculum only provides room for us to provide the girls a basic education, but what you guys did in there, that is the real life education they need.”
The event was made possible by a partnership with Akili Dada; Akili Dada is an award-winning leadership incubator investing in girls and young women from underprivileged backgrounds who have a passion for social change.