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Youth are key to solving Kenya’s challenges

Tells us a little bit about yourself?

I am the Assistant Chief of Oldepe Location in Kajiado West. Currently, I am also the acting chief in the area because my boss retired. I don’t know my exact birth date because I wasn’t born in an hospital. My birth date was estimated to be July 27, 1982.

Tell us about your upbringing

I was born to illiterate parents in an area called Olepolos in Mosiro Ward, Kajiado county. My father had two wives; my mother was the first one. I am the third born in a family of 12  children.

During those days, the Maasai community was not keen on educating their children, but there used to be a committee that went from one homestead getting  children who could attend school. When they came to my home, my father said the firstborn was busy attending to cattle, while the second born was tending to goats, so they could only pick the third born – me.

At that time, I was at my aunt’s place and was picked from there and taken to Oldurko Primary School, which is 15 kilometres away from my home. I joined school in 1988.

I lived with the head teacher until 1996 when I sat for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) at a different school, in Ewuaso Kidong, which was 70 kilometres from where we were staying. From Class One to Eight, I topped my class.  I scored 418 marks out of the possible 700.

That’s impressive… What was the next step?

In 1997 I joined Enoormatasiani Secondary School (now a girls’ school) and my father sold three cows to pay my school fees. The next year, I had to drop out due to financial constraints and became a moran.

However, my desire to remain in school drove me back. I called a relative who was living in Kajiado and he agreed to take me in. I joined Mashuuru Secondary School and in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) scored a C+ – the highest in the school.

After that, I decided to go back home. How were things at home? I joined a community-based organisation, Naning’oi Child Development Project that is affiliated to Child’s Fund.

I worked as the sponsor relation’s officer.  My job was to communicate with the sponsors and later rose to be the secretary of the organisation up to 2008, when I was appointed the  chairman. I held this position until the year 2010 when I resigned.

How did you end up as an assistant chief?

In 2007 November, the government advertised for the position and I applied for it. A year later I was appointed the assistant chief. Juggling between being the chairman of the organisation and a chief was demanding and that is why I resigned from the CBO.

While at it, I noticed a number of things that I knew given the right environment could improve. This included inclusion of young people in  development and and the adverse effects of Female Genital Mutilation and early child marriages.

Through the help of Yes I Do Alliance, we have created groups for the youth who we engage in community issues. At the moment, there is an increase in school enrolments and fewer cases of girls being married off and undergoing the ‘cut’.

We used to go to different villages and homesteads and collect girls who were not going to school because their parents were looking for suitors for them.

For those who ran away from their homes to escape the ‘cut’ and being married off, we would have a reconciliation day where we would invite their parents for a “kiss-and-make-up” session.  Since 2015 we have saved 87 girls from FGM and early marriages and put 250 girls in school. We are targeting to push this number to 500.

You are passionate about the youth. Tell us about it.

Yes. When we say that the youth are the future of this country, we also need to involve them fully in decision making. It is widely recognised that young people must be at the centre of sustainable development agenda.

For this to happen, mechanisms must be put in place to allow young people to have an active role, in which their voice is heard and respected. By doing this, we have active citizenship, as they will  know how things such as government structures and procedure works.

At the same time, meaningful youth participation helps in economic empowerment of the young people as they also bring in innovation and creativity. For example, young people can hold a meeting in their WhatsApp groups where they also discuss emerging issues in the society.

Tell us about your family

I got married  in July 2013 and we have three children. At the moment I am planning to go back to school and pursue a degree in public administration.

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