Thursday, December 5, 2013

Youth On the Move – I BELIEVE I CAN FLY!

To make it in this crowded society more than one skill is required, and the best of all is to tap into your talent and what you are passion about. Today I had a small interview with one of my students who will be graduating next week as a web design and developer after the intensive course at Nairobits Trust where I’m a senior trainer and the training coordinator.

This interview presented itself after Kennedy came in late today and instead of reprimanding him to go home which to me isn’t always the way, I was empathic with him to understand more about the reasons of coming in late to school. Apparently for the last six months I didn’t know Kennedy  was a DJ and his story today has really inspired me and what we do at Wilsen Initiative (Wi) urging the youths to use their talents and skills to foster positive change which can be social, economical or political.

Here is part of the interview;

Introductions
“My name is Kennedy Wanjohi better known as the Dj Cosmic the name means a free form of mixing. I live in Kayole. I started Dj in late 2012 though got connected to the professional circles  in 2013 where I started playing in clubs and events”.

What inspired you to be a DJ?
“I got the inspiration from renowned Dj’s Like Dj Kaytrixx and Dj Kaydee who have made a mark in the entertainment industry. I have grown in many skills and now one year down the line I have the privilege of playing on Clubs steps in Town, Viva Lounge in Kileleshwa and other events”.

Does it pay to be a DJ?
“I have been able to pay for my fare to school at Nairobits and also support my young siblings. My greatest challenge is getting good equipment which is too expensive to start my own business in Dj.  Besides being  a Dj I’m a student at Nairobist Trust majoring in web design and development and I’m happy next week (10th December 2013) I will be graduating.  I’m a passionate designer and Nairobits course has sharpened my skills to another greater stride and I’m ready to venture into the same field juggled with my passion for DJ on the side".

What is your future plans?
“My future plans are getting into radio and TV, and also buying my own equipment which will help me teach my fellow youths in my neighborhood. I  would like to share the skills acquired to  impact on other people’s live and  create networks that will promote young  talent".

Any best quote?
“Winners are losers who never quit”.

Personal  Logo – design at Nairobits
 
Kennedy Wanjohi AKA DJ Cosmic during one of the events in town.

TOUCH AND GLOW BY SARA KWALA


Kenya at 50years and we are celebrating those who fought for the freedom of this land. The question that strikes me the most at this point is where do all Kenyan women who have made an impact on society feature in all this? Kenya being a patriarchal society holds all successful men in high regard, statues have been erected all over in their honor to immortalize them. The least we can do for the Kenyan women is to recognize their efforts and accomplishment. In my mind I see a way of filling this gap is by mentoring our young girls and celebrating their being.

Mentorship is something to go back with to the drawing board and have a fresh start in terms of appreciating our women. Being a contemporary dance artist and a literature student. I am inspired by themes and stories that address the issues of women and I have created a work that speaks volumes on the subject matter: I still feel the need to do more.

Over the years I have seen girls with passion for art and categorically those from underprivileged background invest their time to learn and when they don’t feel the relevance of their being in what they are learning they abort their dreams and settle for anything that comes their way. We now have a growing breed of single young mothers with suckling babies strapped on their backs roaming the street, others becoming twilight girls and some turning to crime for survival. In other words I have seen talent being wasted and my position is lack of enough mentoring program for the girls is a setback especially in the contemporary dance field. I was privileged to be mentored by James Mweu who has been a constant guide in my journey as a young artist in the contemporary dance field. There are many other young female artists that need mentoring and don’t know who, where or how to approach this. Touch and glow is an initiative that seeks to empower young girls from all spectra of life, largely through arts and mentorship. In this regard the objective is to create a personal developmental relationship with the apprentice through learning, dialogue, stipulation of challenge, presentation in terms of performance and awarding efforts.

The launch of B3 T-shirts dedicate to all African women. Get yourself a copy and support the African women.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

East Africa Summit 2013

Happy birthday GoDown Art centre!  It’s now ten years since inception and indeed you are a testimony to be emulated: if you want to run fast you will run alone, while if you want to go far you need to work with others.  You have indeed gone far and wide in shaping the art industry by providing the much needed platform for artists to learn, share and co-create while finding lasting synergies. 

I was honored to be part of the celebrations which were well organized from day one. I was able to connect with like-minded creative’s from different genres of art such as digital artists, sculptures, painters, curators, script writers, choreographer just mention but a few. I also learned a lot from the moderators and the panelist who shared their vast knowledge in ICT, policies development, economics etc.

My ten take-away during the summit are as follows:

  • Artist needs to collaborate and co-create.
  • It is important for an artist to adapt to the changing trends notably Information Communication Technology and different policies that surround our work.
  • We need to clearly understand and define the markets that we operate in.
  • An artist guild would help shape creative economy and ensure quality of work produced across the board.
  • In the near future there’s going to be overwhelming need for content especial in the ICT sector!
  • As artists we should think on uploading creative contents as much as we continue downloading.
  • The question we need to ask ourselves is how can we involve other sectors to help us reach our agendas
  • For an artist to prosper they should join artist networks like arterial…
  • The big challenge artist’s face is management of their work, and generally of the sector. In some countries like Tanzania, it’s is costly to being an artist from abroad. This poses a great threat to the East African community working together. The action point is for the entire artist network to come together and make our voices heard in lobbying for some punitive policies to be removed.
  • Each individual artist should think on how to pass the skills to the young generation.
I thank The GoDown for having achieved a great milestone, and I look forward to the next summit and wish you all the best in the next ten years road map.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mathare North Rangers F.C

Mathare North Rangers F.c is one of the best teams in the slums of Mathare North. Since inception it has attracted youths who are interested in footballing activities whereby exposing their talents to the public while creating opportunities / platform for other young upcoming footballers.

The team is one of the 'vehicles' that Wilsen Initiative (Wi) uses to foster understanding and create lasting relationships amongst the youth and their community. Some of the skills the footballers acquire directly or indirectly are; leadership, teamwork, sportsmanship, decision making amongst others.

At the moment Mathare North Rangers F.C has a total of thirty players who have been selected from a competitive process whereby they express passion in football as an agent of change. Their big dreams is playing in the Kenyan Premier League and oversees leagues which we believe is achievable through discipline and hard work.

We actively participate in the MYSA (Mathare Youth Sports Association) zonal league with the vision of playing in tournaments and other competitive leagues. Our visions is hindered by lack of resources to run the club more professionally,  but we are determined to give the youths a professional alternative to play and express their talents which is non-existing in many slums in Kenya due to mismanagement, lack of resources and other downfalls.

Our clubs values are;

  •     Discipline
  •     Team work
  •     Respect
  •     Fair Play
  •     Passion Vs. Talent
  •     Motivation
  •     Open communication
  •     Role modeling


“To dream anything that you want to dream. That’s the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed.” Bernard Edmonds

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I Love Teaching - Musoma, Tanzania Exprience

I was honored to be part of the team at Musoma Information Center based in Eastern edge of Lake Victoria in Mara region in Tanzania. Since I visited the place in 2011, there has been tremendous improvement on how the trainers conducts training and connects with the students in both outdoors and class activities.

Coaching is one of the core activities Nairobits uses in connecting senior trainers from Nairobi, Kenya to train and share their experiences with other subsidiary projects in Tanzania and Uganda.
Trainers and students every morning plays basketball as part of their warm-up games.


Purpose of the visit!

My visit was purposed to train both the students and trainers in more advanced skills in web / graphic design and related technologies.

We divided the training into two segments as follows;-

Students Segment;
  •  Review of current students work and give feedback.
  • Teach and test the student on conceptualization (Think & Decide).
  • Technical knowledge transfer ( CSS, HTML forms and Joomla)
  • Presentation skills – Both students and trainers presented their work.
Trainers Segment (TOT)
  • General overview of Joomla and Word Press.
  • Review of websites online.
  • Introduction to PHP.
Training Methodology
Embracing our teaching philosophy of learning by doing we were able to achieve the following;
  • Trainer illustrations on the board and group discussions
  • Individual assignments.
  • Aptitude test.
  • Power point presentation and analyzing best practices.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Kenyan Football as a Glass of Water Mixed With Oil

The Kenya Premier League (KPL) has come to an end. We witnessed the pomp and color of the green army way before the end of the scheduled league matches. I take this opportunity to thank Gor Mahia fans, followers, players and managements for winning the trophy after eighteen years of hard work and determination despite the challenges witnessed on and off the pitch.

The question to ask is Kenyan football growing or it’s on the brink of stagnation? Are we moving forward or back-tracking with our airwaves still dominated by the Barclays premier league? Leave alone our social lives, on the street you’ll hear the deep loyalty given to the foreign clubs which is also goes to branding our businesses, vehicles, houses etc. Does anyone think of developing the grassroots football? Where is the competition witnessed back in the years 1997 -2002 during the Millennium tournament, Coca-cola tournament, Koth Biro tournament just to mention but a few. Those were days when football was felt in the grassroots’ with teams like Swapo (Huruma), Otto-benecker (Mathare North), Sakayonsa ( Pumwani) among others were the home of talents for the great game we love.

So what did happen? I know of some of my friends who left football and are now languishing in misery and some are successfully playing in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) and in the foreign leagues. I’m sorry to say Kenyan football and that of most African countries are still at the position of defining their niche in football as an economical and social pillar especially in supporting the young people who make the larger population percentage of our nations. This is an example of a glass of water mixed with oil, which when left to settle does not result in an equal mixture. This analogy illustrates a situation where the grassroots’ football in Kenya as been left to die slowly at the expense of the flourishing premier league.

The situation is even worse for women footballers as their future continues to darken. You will only hear about them when there is a regional tournament because many opportunities pop up, not for the poor hard working ladies but for individuals who are eager to make quick gains at the expense of the sport and the ladies. http://www.wilsenx.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-voice-of-voiceless-in-kenyan.html

 In the Kenyan situation the oil floats on the top (the top layer) meaning there are tremendous efforts and achievements if you focus on the top leagues (KPL and national wide league) and the national team (Men’s senior team). The water is the grassroots football and all other lower divisional leagues which are in a wanting situation where teams complete to get to the next stages with nothing to reward the champions or even reimburse the costly expenses of attending different matches.

from row on the right with the green jersy is me :) Picture taken the year 2000. Third from left standing in Antony Kimani currently playing for AFC Leopards in the KPL.
I was once an active footballer and currently I’m running a community club called Mathare North Rangers F.C under umbrella of the Wilsen Initiative which is a youth led initiative that urges the young people to use their talents and skills to inspire positive change despite the challenges faced. Our football team is not registered in any league owing to the current situation and without adequate funding we can only do so much. The best part is that we won’t give up and we shall try to improve the situation for the next generations to come and the is the spirit at Wilsen Initiative (Wi). Our key mandate is to use football as vehicle to tapping into our uniqueness, skills and talents while learning and inspiring positive change in our society.

For a nation like KENYA to play in prestigious tournament like the Word Cup the football managements should switch their focus on the following;
  1. Create balanced football management rules that creates a win - win for corporate and the partners involved. 
  2. Create Football Academies. 
  3. Support Local Tournaments. 
  4. Support Regional Tournaments.
  5. Support International football exchange programs.
  6. Support grassroots football
  7. Professionalize the game (it is a serious career for talented youth).
  8. Create a Scouting program for the national team (equal chance for all).
  9. Believe in a philosophy - football as a vehicle to other careers and positive social issues like football for peace etc (Think life after football for example football and education).
  10. Don't politicize the game and be transparent! 
Football for hope and development we should not give up as youth!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

On the Move, Foot Prints.

My desire and passion is to connect, share and give back to the community, and influence positive change. Part of my dream has always been to establish a youth empowerment center that will create channels of opportunities, growth and trust amongst the young people growing them into responsible citizens.

After five months of intensive classes in Social Innovation Management (SIM 2013) at Amani Institute, I take this opportunity to thank the Amani team, my fellows from different countries, Nairobits team, personal mentors and my family for the cordial  support they gave me during my learning journey at Amani.

My project was born some twelve years back during the days of my football life, and to date I’m very happy for what it has grown to be; from changing the from Wilsenx, which is  a personal brand, to Wilsen Initiative (Wi) which is a team brand of change makers who aspire to influence positive change using their talents and skills.  Wilsen Initiative hosts creative integrated programs from football, motivational talks, co-creation of activities, volunteer- ship, leadership etc.

My appreciation goes to Amani Institute (http://amaniinstitute.org/) and the Do School (http://thedoschool.org) for being part of my journey of discovery in social innovation and social entrepreneurship.  I proudly acknowledge my new title of Social Innovator / Social Entrepreneur after five months of intensive training at Amani institute.

Even though the journey continues I greatly appreciate the much we have achieved since the idea came in place of Wilsen Initiative.

The Wi effect; INSPIRE, CREATE  & EDUCATE is our three  strongest pillars of success.


Monday, October 14, 2013

3 things about Wilsen Initiative (Wi)

 Mission: Develop young change makers in informal settlements in Kenya

Vision: Self-confident young people who inspire change using their talents and skills.

 Gap in the society. “Mismanagement of talents amongst the young people in the informal settlement of Kenya”. www.wilsenx.com

video

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Online & Offline Presence for Creative’s

dickensWilsen Initiative (Wi) is a group of young innovative people who values positive change through sharing skills and Knowledge. A part from motivational workshops, T-shirt design, football, youth exchange among others, we offer free consultation to youth groups and established/emerging artists who would like to set an online/offline presences. Our main focus is on the basics of branding both for online and offline production.  

We shall help you set up;
1. A website in form of a blog and other social networking tools
2. Advice on digitizing your work.
3. Design and print business card, brochures, T-shirts etc. d) Advice on setting up a working team (community youth groups). Etc.  


See an example of project done by Wi.
Project: Mabati Taylor Artist short profile: Dickens George Otieno is a Kenyan artist (sculptor and painter) based at based at the GoDown Art Center. His work influenced by creating innovative products using used aluminum cans for soft drinks or beer etc. which he shred and weaves through copper wires into big fabrics like clothes and trousers. Task done: Designed business Cards and blog customization on WordPress. Website: https://mabatitaylor.wordpress.com/

Dickens-Cards_version2Artwork by Dickens Business Card design by Wilsen Initiative (Wi) Front & Back view

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

D&F - Driving Force

I’m a passionate about many things and today I want to share my driving force towards my learning curve and establishment of Wilsen Initiative project.  This is a list of things that I love doing or aspire to learn and connect with...

Top 20:  Without any order of preference!

  1. Photography
  2. Systems and Applications ( ATM, Mobile, programming)
  3. Visual communication design
  4. Tech for Change
  5. Sports for Development
  6. Youth Empowerment
  7. Leadership
  8. Peace building
  9. Teaching
  10. Social Entrepreneurship
  11. Financial Management
  12. Multimedia
  13. Advertising
  14. Coaching and Mentor-ship.
  15. Life skills  & Business skills (storytelling, Presentation, writing skills, Personal Branding etc.)
  16. Branding
  17. Community Development
  18. Creativity and Innovation
  19. User Centric Design and User Experience (UX)
  20.  Project Management.
It is all about creating your own learning spaces to be better in what you love doing and passion is the key. To succeed you have to know yourself before diving into anything. Ask yourself what are you passionate about?
Highlight of the day Photography: My theme is about people!


Learning by doing is the principle! "It is the man who carefully advances step by step...who is bound to succeed in the greatest degree."- Alexandar Graham Bell

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Inside Out Africa & Passion Meter

Inside Out is a concept I launched this 1st September 2013. I advocate for positive values that drive people to success and make positive impact in our lives and that of others.

The Inside Out concept launched 1st September 2013 advocates for the positive values that drive people to success and make a positive impact in our lives and that of others.

What Drives You? Please share your comments @wilsenx #YourDrive

Inside Out Africa & Passion Meter T-shirt Design

Africa is a blessed continent.  Unfortunately the indigenous people don’t see through these lenses.  Many reasons can be given, but we become what we are through what we feed our mind, heart, eyes and soul. Media is generally the biggest culprit of feeding the public with the bad news of destruction, death and poverty, especially in Africa.

We need to restored our positive values and dignity from the Inside Out and spread it across the continent.  Why should Africa be the emerging market or developing continent for centuries and yet God has blessed us with many natural resources?  Stop civil wars, tribalism, child trafficking, drug trafficking, and bad leadership. We know our problems and challenges, some of which are of our own creation and we can work towards solving them. Let us work together in build Brand Africa.

Examples of great initiatives;


Brand Africa http://www.brandafrica.net/ : They are doing great work in building the African brand through Proactive leadership to drive Africa’s growth reputation and competitions.

Brand Kenya http://www.brandkenya.go.ke: The brand Kenya board is tasked with the responsibility of identifying and refining the key attributes of Kenya that contributes positively to the image and reputation of the nation.

 These are great initiatives and we should build values from inside (intrinsic values) to make impacts, and this values are not only for organizations but to individuals all well.

Examples of positive values: Passion, Integrity, Respect, Creativity, Dignity etc.

In my series of t-shirt Design I launched the two T shirts Inside Out – Africa and Passion Meter which measures our level of passion and commitment to our goal.