Monday, July 29, 2013

Untapped Potential – Hands of Gold

In this month’s edition of featuring champions in our community (iDream - iShare), we feature the work of a young lady by the name Peninah Achieng Owidhi. Penninah lives in Kariobangi South with her family and she learned how to make cards in 2009 at SOS centre in Buru Buru. According to her, the classes were not meant to have a far reaching impact but it was ways of making youths do something a part from idling around.

 Penniah’s case is exception after beating all odds by following her passion after the introduction to card making. She has developed a strong passion in designing through which she express herself, work, dreams, community, clientele needs, events etc. The cards are made using;
  • Embossed papers 
  • Shaded threads 
  • Special needs 
  • Beads 
  • Pencil 
  • Holing pin 
  • Print glue 
  • Pattern scissors etc.
These cards are specially designed for various occasions like weddings, greetings, valentine etc. Penninah enjoys making cards which are unique and value oriented to anyone that purchase them. You can place an order by defining the color, theme, purpose and style etc, and she will always tweak it with the creative ideas to match your preference. Each design costing depends on the size, time and material used. She will always strive for unique and quality design that you will not find in the supermarket shelves.

Currently Penninah is taking a course at Nairobits School of digital design studying web design and development. She is a passionate designer and most of her work is driven by intrinsic value like passion, creativity and she is always read to share her skills with others. In any creative process you have to be patient and be a good planner for example with the card making it is challenging to get the design right and sometimes you have to strain your eyes using the needle to punch holes in the correct places.

Many young people are blessed with many talents but there are no enough avenues to support creative works originally designed by the youths from the informal settlement. Wilsen Initiative (WI) seeks to mentor, train and inspire youths to be change makers in the larger society using their skills and talents. On the other flip side majority of the youth from informal settlements (slums) are faced with high level of unemployment which contributes to other issues like insecurity, drug abuse, crime, early parenthood etc.

Penniah’s story is an inspiration of how talents and skills can be used to tap into other areas of learning or opportunities. Please support the initiative by ordering customized cards specially designed for you.

You can write to or drop a comment and we shall get back to you. Penninah’s Best Quote: “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve”.

Watch out the space many more to come... Support Wilsen Initiative (WI) so that we can promote, inspire and manage talents that is either untapped or not supported.

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Learning Curve at Amani Institute Social Innovation Management (SIM).

Amani Institute

From the day I applied for the SIM course and later attended the interview at Adams Arcade, I was filled with desire (which is still present) and a sense of good things to come if I was selected to particiapate in the program. My goal is to Interact, Explore new fields, Learn and Share Experiences. I have been interviewed in many ways but the approach which the Amani team is using is exceptional. I love the blend of professionalism and social connectivity (Trying to find the best in someone) with the interviewers who create a learning experience in conducting an interview in different styles. For example, an interview doesn’t have to be in an office set up. In a special way, thanks to ILA and Roshan for such an encouraging interview and follow ups.

I have learned a lot in Amani’s great environment which includes :
  • Bio Mimicry & Connecting with Nature.
  • Quick Pitching Versus Time Management.
  • Working in teams and support groups around my initiative.
  • Eight words within a mission. 
  • Presentation techniques, learning from other people, and feeling ignited with energy to even do better.
 I love all the presenters and their presentations, but Jabari’s presentations always leave me connected with myself. This is another way in which cultural diversity can trigger inspiration into other societies. Working in teams like the peer group, the buddy system and mentors is a great idea which has helped me go to the root source of discovering my untapped potential connected to the inner voice within. These supports teams have helped me open many new horizons.

I have also learned to listen especially when somebody either shares a question or comment that seems insignificant during brainstorming sessions. So, rather than keep quiet, I have embraced the act of positive engagement in terms of giving honest feedback without postponement or dismissing other people’s viewpoint. Appreciation I highly appreciate the learning approach especially the manner in which we have embraced technology ( teleconferencing with experts abroad) and also the planning that goes around everything.

It gives me an in-depth understanding of how an effective team can pull together different skills, experiences and energy. Lastly, I am indirectly learning how to manage people from different backgrounds in a creative environment. I have been receiving a lot of questions from my friends about why I think Amani Institute is a great place for learning as a young change maker. Here is the answer, pictures speaks louder! If you like it crown this in your companies and organization and you will see ripple effect in result, passion and teamwork.
Amani Norms SIM class 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Reasons Why Many Youth Groups (initiatives) Don’t Take off

I have come to observe keenly how great ideas dissolve into thin air whilst the existing ones either stagnate at the same location or die slowly. These trends are similar in the business sector or in organizational setups.  On 26th June 2013 I did a small survey on my Facebook wall requesting my circle of friends to give feedback on the subject.  The following were some of the results received;

Question: Do you know why many youth groups (initiatives) don't take off or the existing ones fade into thin air slowly?


Nevoh Fidel “they not ready for change themselves”.
John Maroria “Fear of growth and expansion, impatience, untrustworthy, lack of transparency and finally greed”.

Edgar Chris “one thing is eminent the need for instant results when that is not favorable they become discouraged and think the initiative is not working as intended.”

Elijah Mumo  “I was told that goals are no longer SMART but SMARTER, The E and R are for Evolution and Revolution, many initiatives want to maintain the same status quo but things change so you  have to re-strategies every now and then to survive.”

Wilson Masaka
“Focus Collaboration and Not Competition for your group ideas to work!"

The information in this feedback is really true, thus  to start a project  you need a lot of resilience, focus and consistency. Many times people won’t believe in your cause and it will be extremely hard to find the perfect match to your passion and drive to achieve the stipulated goals. 

As the founder you might find yourself either doing 120% or sometimes  in the lonely dream zone wondering if the idea will materialize one day.  My advise to all social change makers is to continue following your dreams, and link up with like minded people who will collaborate with you rather than compete with you in the process of achieving the big dream.

Listening is a great virtue as a leader of the initiative while assigning people  different roles. Also,  believing in them is important. If they don’t perform,  it is  crucial to give feedback,  restrategize,  find new creative space, and collaborate more with passionate people in  connecting with the bigger mission and vision. If nothing is happening as planned and you did not achieve your goals, the best things to do it to take the experiences as great learning lessons.

On the other front, existing initiatives lack passionate people who understand the big picture (vision) of why the initiative exists. Young youth groups sometimes also lack leadership, transparency, accountability, professionalism, role model, give back systems, relevant programs among other factors.

Looking at all this and as the founder of Wilsen Initiative (WI) I still feel there is a lot that needs to be done in growing the idea and the best attitude I have acquired is to never give up, observe trends, listen more and restrategise.

Currently I’m attending a course at Amani Institute on SIM ( Social Innovation Management) which will complement my experience from in Hamburg, Germany.
In the last lectures at Amani I came to learn the  GROW model which stands for;

G =  Set GOALS for yourself and the project.
R = Where are you now and what REALITIES do you face.
O= What OPTIONS do you have and what OBSTACLES have you encountered.
W =  What are the WAY FORWARD or WILL POWER!
This is all for this month. Please share your thought by leaving a comment.