Raising Girls to be the “Voice of Kenya”: An interview with Carolina, Health and Leadership Training Facilitator
Carolina: I’m Carolina Joya.
Kakenya’s Dream: Carolina, tell me what is your role when you come for the Health and Leadership Trainings?
C: My major aim is to mentor the girls, but especially on leadership and also public speaking. The main aim of introducing leadership in this training is to lift up young girls to realize their full potential and become the next leaders for the next generation in Africa. So that is what we do.
Particularly, we focus on transformative leadership. Looking at the current crop of leaders, vis a vis what is expected of them. We mentor them to do need analysis - what is affecting their community - and if given opportunity, what are some of the areas of interest that they want to improve as leaders.
For instance, we most emphasize leadership that is geared to transform the lives of people. We insist on telling them leadership is not about themselves, but about others. It’s about what they can get, but about what they can give back to the community. We also insist on servant leadership, helping them to identify their talents - their potential - so we [may] nurture these talents to enable them to become the kind of leaders that we want to see, to help them reflect the kind of leadership that is expected of them.
That is, in essence, the root of the content for the leadership training.
We also deal with issues [challenges] of public speaking. If FGM is one of the components we train these girls on, and we expect them to engage in advocacy issues, you cannot advocate for something when you cannot even speak before people and defend what you are advocating for. So we insist on the element of public speaking.
We tell them what public speaking is about, what is expected of them as a Public speaker, and the kind of audience they will face, and the issues they are supposed to advocate [on], one of them being FGM. If you study FGM, it shows that it affects these girls both socially, economically, education-wise, so we introduce them to public speaking.
One, we give them tips to public speaking, the “do’s” and the “don’ts” as a public speaker, what is expected of them. What are some of the mistakes people do when they speak in public? What are some of the things that If they do, they can maybe resonate with their audience, for instance, what are some of the things that if they do, they can capture the feeling the passion of their audience. Can they use that public speaking and the advocacy issues to raise awareness in the community? Even to raise awareness among their peers? And can they bring it at a level that can they convince even the donors and other people to support them, in terms of the issues of the advocacy that they have?
Basically, that is what we do.
KD: That is well explained! Why do you do it, from a personal perspective?
C: Okay, first of all, I’m passionate about young girls. And most so about Maasai girls. The reason being that, these girls are uniquely endowed in all aspects of development, uniquely endowed in terms of talents and potential, but we have this retrogressive culture that makes them not realize their potential. So we find in most cases, Maasai girls are not given a level ground compared to other girls in Kenya and Africa.
One of the things that made me passionate about this is seeing some girls, who if they had been given an opportunity to realize their potential, maybe we’d be talking of some girls and women who could [now] also mentor others, but unfortunately we realized that that level playing ground was not there.
So when Kakenya’s Dream came and said that they were mentoring girls, I felt that it was an opportunity for me to explore my talents, for me to explore the knowledge I have, and for me to help raise these children so they can become the voice of Kenya and beyond.
That is why I’m in this program. I’m very passionate about it, and I want to believe that, given an opportunity, once you educate one girl you will be transforming a community. That is what I believe in.
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