Voices of Our Future program has been a great experience for me. It gave me the opportunity to interact many other grassroots women within and outside my country. It built my self confidence and made me realize my inner strength. It was really an eye opening for me. I used to be the person who keeps quite all the time thinking that people won’t listen or don’t care whatever I have to say or suggest. sometimes it happened that I used to share my views with the person next to me in a meeting just to raise the issue and share it with the rest of the crew believing that even if I talk nobody will value it and its somewhat embarrassing!.
Pairing up with such an inspiring, encouraging and lovely mentor and midwife totally changed my life. It transformed me from the shy, quite person into a person who raises any issue that feels so right and never fears of the embarrassment of not valuing her ideas.
I remember sometime back nobody wanted my opinion, not even my coworkers and now it turned out that everybody values my opinion and ideas or even asks me for help. Just few days ago a coworker called me from Nairobi and asked me personally to report a success story from women peace activists who are our organization’s stakeholders. She told me “I am precisely giving you this task because I know you are a good writer/reporter”!
Sometimes in life all we need is someone to give us a listening ear to whatever we have to say and with their support we can take every step towards accomplishing that vision. That is what I got from my mentor, midwife, Rachael, Scott and the rest of the WorldPulse team, my VOF fellow correspondents and other Pulsewire friends. There are many visions I had which seemed unrealistic to me earlier but now I am pretty sure I can accomplish it.
The last assignment we have been given was to reach at least five other grassroots women in our community, but the option of holding trainings was still open for us. I had plans of holding many training to different parts of the society, but had encountered some obstacles including bloodshed violence in my city. This reduced to only two trainings out of the numerous trainings I planned.
Between 4th and 14th August 2011, I and two other colleagues organized ten days capacity building training for youth aged between 14 and 28. When we assessed the situation we realized that there was a need to train them for leadership skills, empowerment and also the usage of social media to amplify their voices and reach into a wider audience. The participants of this training were forty five (45), seventeen ladies and twenty eight boys. They were two batches, one in the morning and another in the afternoon.
The main objective of this training was to: improve youth’s leadership style, improve their capacity of thinking and ways of acquiring high self esteem, train them for the basics of social media tools to amplify their voices and train them for communications/negotiation skills. The main topics covered were: Self empowerment, Leadership skills (played blind folding game to indicate the good and bad leaders), Communications/negotiation skills, Conflict resolution and Usage of social media to Social change.
Before the start of the program, I was feeling a little nervous but later everything was great. I had two sessions to facilitate, i.e. session one: Self empowerment and session two: Social media. Though I was fasting I didn’t feel tired or even thirst. I facilitated from 8:30am in the morning till 5:30pm in the evening. The morning session was from 8:30am till 12:30pm. We went for prayers for one hour and came back by 1:30pm and proceeded till 5:30pm.
The second training was on Wednesday, 26th Oct 2011. I held Social Media training for 11 women, the Theme of the training was “Usage of Social Media in Community Integration and Women’s Empowerment”. The main aim of this training was to equip those women with the basic tools to connect other grassroots women (within and outside their country), give them the ability to connect and amplify their voice to reach into a wider audience, benefit from the tremendous resources in the internet and use it for their wellbeing, carry awareness raising towards women’s empowerment, get the basic knowledge of how to develop websites for their women groups, easily connect with likeminded people and collaborate in peacebuilding and community’s integration activities. They were engaged throughout the training and were very excited to get such a knowledge which will help them shape their lives and upgrade their activities. I planned to hold this training on September but the two bloodshed violence that erupted in the city took the whole month for reconciliations and delayed the training and my plans.
Both trainings were successful despite all the challenges and shortcomings I encountered. The city been turned into a battle field or losing a coworker and dear colleague who was assassinated, things that have been a little unpleasant for me but with God’s grace and the help and support of my Pulsewire friends/team and my lovely mentor and midwife I was able to cope all that and still stay strong.