Blog

Mentorship will take you places………


By charles esibikhwa edward, 2017-07-12
Mentorship will take you places………

Conversations with young people have really got me think of the impact of mentorship to young people. It has been quite an experience for me to meet quite a number of young people in forums, association and institutions I have had a chance to visit through the championing of our mentorship program at ngao society.

 The untold stories of success in a number of youth I hear in this forums everyday give me hope that our society can change to the better if only we focus on the strength, capacities and assets our young people carry with them. From the talk I hear every now and then it becomes quite clear that we are not a failed society as young people but all we need is someone to show us the right direction. The previous generation defined our youth with deficiency stories and especially in Africa e.g. poverty, corruption, tribe, social injustices, lack of education etc. Yet there are still positives that can be achieved.

 Now as we look deeper we realize that yes, events have happened and this has left our young people hopeless but does it mean this is the trend to set for the future generations or should we immerse ourselves in this situation and come up with a generational course to this challenge? How can we help ourselves see things differently and be all we were meant to be in this world?

Young people occupy a very unique place in the life of every society. They are the major “social capital” of every society concerned with positive changes for a better today and for the future. This explains the attention, resources and investments directed towards their education and socialization. The result, however, is that the society has ignored mentorship that youth require to compete in our present world because their educational processes barely goes beyond preparing them to acquire certificates.

Many youth especially in Africa where poverty is still at large scale, are left to deal with unimaginable situations and extremely difficult daily lives which affect their dreams and aspirations for their future. Some of them experience trauma, discrimination, suffering, atrocities and abuse and others have to take on responsibilities well beyond their capacities.

The contemporary reality of the huge population of unemployed youth draws attention to how they can be best harnessed. Besides coming up with ways to reach the youth, mentorships are critical in providing escape routes from their reality and giving them windows to dream about a future. Particularly, young people needs a model of mentorship that inspires them to learn from problem-solving, exploration and imagination where they repeatedly see and hear that they are valued and important and provide a foundation for critical thinking and a lifetime love for mentorship where their needs and opinions of are included.

The world is poised to grow through technology developed by young entrepreneurs but to effectively spur innovation and economic growth, we must look at how we support our entrepreneurs. Great ideas and hard work are vital to entrepreneurial success, but young leaders also know that improving access to incubators and mentors will help them become thriving business owners.

 Very few of these young people are involved in shaping the conversation on the future of their lives. It is essential that all leaders embrace and enable young people to succeed and show them how they can impact the future. Just as entrepreneurs need mentors to help them develop an idea into a business, our leaders must engage with young people like myself on issues if we want an engaged, active generation of leaders. Young people also are obligated to seek those opportunities for engagement.

Today, the common consensus is that there is a need to develop creative ways to help youth explore, discover, harness their potentials and leverage available resources in their environment to their advantage. Understanding how young people process information, how they perceive, learn from, conceptualize and act upon what they see and hear will go a long way in ensuring that what they learn is effective and empowering. The principles of mentorship must be exciting, participatory and based on needs i.e. a two-way process of sharing knowledge and experiences, systematically planned to achieve positive, result oriented and measurable objectives.Much contribution to this article is from international policy digest by AmanamHillary Umo-Udofia.

 Written by Charles Edward.

A story on asset mapping by NGAO Society/ABCD KENYA.


By charles esibikhwa edward, 2017-05-26
A story on asset mapping by NGAO Society/ABCD KENYA.

Traditional Soda Ash Production

NGAO Society/ABCD Kenya has just embarked on a journey to map the assets, strength and capacities of individuals, associations and institutions within Kangemi. Here is our first story of the one Mzee Dunstone Bedi.  Being in charge of Asset Based Community development at NGAO society, I needed to go to the depth of this individual stories and so I began by asking Bedi where he has come from as far as life is concerned. I won’t go into details of all this but am going to capture what is important, to bring the relevance of someone renaming his world by looking inside himself and finding something that he can do to enhance or rather to sustain his livelihood.

 The story of Mzee Bedi

Dunstone came to Nairobi(the capital city of kenya) in the year 1978 to look for employment. This was after he had dropped out of school while in form 3 due to lack of school fees. By his story we can tell that Dunstone was an intelligent kid. He actually schooled in Musingu High School, one of the best schools in Kenya. This is a school with high cut off marks for joining, but Dunstone made it to join.

 

After dropping from High school and coming to Nairobi, Dunstone started working as a shop steward. He did this job for quite a number of years, 6 years to be precise. But due to his intelligence he kept on searching for his inner purpose in life and on the sixth year he quit the job. He then found a job as a security guard in Nairobi Central Business District. He liked the job not because he was passionate about it but because it gave him money that would certain him in paying rent and buying food.

 

Dunstone worked for the company for many years till one day the unexpected happened. One day as he was seated with his workmates, he saw two police men approaching, and with a blink of an eye they were all taken and put in a police vehicle, drove to a police station where they were locked in a cell. As they followed up on why this had happened they were told that they were part of the team that had organized a security guards strike the previous day and that they had beaten their boss and broken his rib.

 

Dunstone’s story is one of many stories we rarely hear from individuals as they are ordinary community members that one cares less to know about their life. It is one of the single stories of how we view others who are not us in many ways. At times the society gets swayed by the stories of extra-ordinary people and we forget that the relationships, the connections and the networks build by this ordinary community members are what make the growth of our communities. A Communities’ successful achievements depend on the success of these ordinary individuals.

 

Bedi’s case took two years, and fortunately he won. He actually told me that during this case process, he stepped his foot in the court 52 times. This was in the process of mentioning, arguing the case and finally till when they gave the verdict. He said this taught him a lot.

 

After all this had happened, Bedi didn’t want to be employed again. He sat down and thought of what he could do as an individual to help him sustain his life. In 2012 Bedi started manufacturing sodium from ash the traditional way that he had been taught by his grandparents. By then he didn’t know how this would turn out, but he carried with him hope that God was going to bless the work of his hands. Today manufacturing sodium from ash (omunyu omushelekha) as he calls it in his native language has become Bedi’s livelihood. He even gets income from this to feed his family. I decided to take a journey with Bedi to go and see how this is done. Please check the illustrations below on how Bedi manufactures his product, how it goes on the market and how it has become his source of income.

 

TRADITIONAL SODA ASH MANUFACTURING (OMUNYU OMUSHELEKHA)

During my visit, I requested Bedi to facilitate the whole process from the beginning to the end to enable me understand the concept well.

  • Collecting raw materials

The first thing we did was to go and get raw materials that are used to make the product. I am going to include some photos of different steps just to help you understand this process. Bedi advised me that his raw material include; maize cobs, banana fibers, beans leaves that have been collected during harvesting. All this he collects from the women who sell vegetables along roadsides. The women always gather the raw materials for him. He has realized that the business women on the markets and side of the road are assets, hence facilitating him with raw materials. To them its waste but to Bedi its important raw material, so they don’t throw them away, they keep them for him to collect. Other sources of these raw materials can be grass that grows along river swamps. This grass is harvested, dried, before burning.

 

  • Burning the raw materials to produce Ash.

When we reach his place, Bedi then gets to his burning area where he puts all the raw materials he had collected. He lights them then he lets them burn slowly. Some of the raw materials are wet since they haven’t dried well and so it produces a lot of smoke in the process. I ask him why he doesn’t want to dry them before burning and he tells me there is no big difference in using wet raw material instead of dried ones. The product will still be of the same quality. His production is on a small scale since he hasn’t tapped into the wide market of Kangemi yet. So I realized that this is one area of enhancement that we can work on.

  • Extracting the soda ash from the raw ash.

Soda Ash, Omunyu Omusherekha (in luyha language), Thudho (in Luo language), magadi ( in Swahili language)  is extracted in order to get the liquid mixture that is used for mixing with food to make it become soft and cook faster.

The following are the steps followed to extract it.

Step 1:  You need to have a plastic container of at least 500mls and make several holes at the bottom of the container which is used as a sieve.

Step 2: You put soda ash in to the holed plastic container, then fill it with clean water, then put the holed plastic container into another bigger container where the resultant mixture will be collected, which is  used for cooking food to make it soft.

Take note that if you fill the 500ml container with ashes to halfway full, then that can help you extract solution of up to one litre and can keep for future use. This means that you will keep refilling the container that has the ashes with clean water until you have extracted solution equivalent to one litre anymore extraction will be less effective.

Most of the old generation used to produce omunyu omuselekha for their domestic use. Bedi has expanded the idea and he is producing more of the product for sale.

  • Extracted Soda Ash (Omunyu omusherekha) (final product for use)

The product can be extracted in two forms:

Liquid form

The product extracted in liquid form is brown in color, and it has a funny test. It’s not bitter neither is it sweet. It actually tests like sodium bicarbonate.

Solid form

The liquid soda ash is then condensed to produce a solid form. This is done in a pot so that the solid residue should not stick on the surface. If you use equipment which is not the pot then the content will stick on the surface and this will spoil the product. The solid form is used to smoothen the face or the body.

  • Cooking using soda ash (omunyu omushelekha)

Clay pot (nyungu) was the most recommended for cooking the above although sufurias for the present generation are applicable. The amount to be used depends largely on the size of the food to be cooked, however Two to three table spoonful is enough.

This Soda Ash is used in cooking some food delicacy which include:

LUHYA

LUO

SWAHILI

ENGLISH

Likhubi

Boo

Kunde

Cow peas

Omurere

Apodh

Murenda

 

Emiro

Mitoo

Mitoo

 

Liro/lisebebe

Budho

Malenge

Pumpkin leaves

Eshitiani

Ogira

Borohoa

Mashed beans

Isindu

Aluru

kware

Quail

Inyieni

Rech

Samaki

Fish

Ingokho

Gweno

Kuku

Chicken

 

 

 Nyama

Beaf

Production cost of Soda Ash

Production cost is almost free since material used is sort of recycled, i.e. Banana peelings, beans thrashings, cobs and grass harvesting along the river swamp depends on one’s own energy to harvest as much as one is capable of.

Availability of Traditional Soda ash in essence of economic empowerment.

Initially traditional soda ash was make in households only for use within the families. Mzee Bedi produces the product for sale to other people. He even has selling points. He has assigned it to roadside women to sell the product to those women they sell vegetables to. The traditional soda ash is also readily available at various points of markets which include: Gikomba open air market Muthurwa open shades market, Toy market in Kibera and Burma market just to mention a few. Charges of traditional soda ash ranges from hundred shillings for a two kilograms container better known as (gorogoro) by mama mboga and the smallest is a twenty shillings container which is about 200 grams.

Importance of passing Indigenous Knowledge

The soda ash raw materials which include beans leaves are burnt and the ash is gathered and stored in a large pot or traditional basket that has been fine painted using cow dung to prevent wastage.

Traditionally prepared soda ash is free from chemicals hence fit for human consumption in advantage compared to sodium bicarbonate.

Traditional soda ash production has been seen as a Woman’s work hence not many men fork have ideas about “OMUSHEREKHA” preparation but enjoy delicacy cooked using it. Maybe this is so because many African traditional look at a woman’s work as being in the kitchen.

Besides many city dwellers may have little knowledge about this vital commodity, but with this information available and through interactivity those interested can easily pick up and put them in practice.
CONCLUSION
Indigenous knowledge has been and will remain a working force hence it has to be harnessed for posterity.
Finally knowledge is power invest and use “Umusherekha” as indigenous soda ash for better health.

Story by: Charles E. Edward

Posted in: Stories | 0 comments

Mentorship Born Out of Community Conversations


By charles esibikhwa edward, 2017-04-09
Mentorship Born Out of Community Conversations

Some time last year when i together with other like minded individual began the practice of ABCD in our community.Little did we know how far this could take us in terms of finding the real solutions for what we looked on as problems within our community.We began with community conversation which is a component in ABCD. Community conversations really gave us a good entry to the involvement of community members to find what really is affecting us and how we can deal with it.We held quite a number of community conversation with different themes.As the community Conversation Concept kept on taking roots in the community, one sure thing was clear that for quite a long time we kept on focusing on our problems more that what we can do for ourselves. We held our 5th community conversation which had the theme "WORRYING TREND OF-JOB CRISIS VIS-A-VIS SKILL CRISIS AMONGST THE YOUTH IN KENYA.On that day together with the help of  Reuben Medina from U.S.A on Skype we conversed over the theme.Young people really showed up for the event.|It become clear how rich we were in terms of asset and that we could look inside ourselves individually in terms of assets that we  have,look into the community itself for asset and now look beyond our community for the asset that are outside that could enhance the ones that are within us.This day was the birth of our mentorship program.Some of the insight of what we share on that day we as follows:

Passion: Reuben emphasized that for young people to succeed in life,one must follow his or her passion.Because its only through passion that one can do something and feel the fulfillment of life itself.Doing something through passion gives one a sense of greatness.And this sense of greatness gives one hope even to do more great things.

skills,talents and abilities:Another thing that was quite clear was that young people have to look into themselves and find what is good in them.Everyone is blessed with different abilities and skill and where young people go wrong is trying to emulate other people and forgetting who they really are.What they can really do best.So they were encouraged to focus on what is really good in them and with that they will achieve their purpose in this world.

Connecting the dots:After knowing what is good in you then what next?.Now here comes the connection of dots between what is inside you and what is in the world.This brings the enhancement of what is inside you to the world and that is how success creeps in.

This are just a few things that came up during the community conversations of that day.But much was talked about and much continues to come up positively since that day.

After the community conversations we as young people agreed that the only way we could achieve all this was to come up with a program that would spearhead the idea.This program will be for mentorship purpose,so that we could have people to help us identify what really is good in us,then walk with us and guide us to success in terms academics,careers and even our social life.

After some consultations we structured the program as below:We looked at it and saw that if we follow it and walk this path,we will unearth hidden strengths and unfold greater opportunities in the community than ever before.

ABCD KENYA MENTOR AND PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM
SELF: Who Am I?
January – Values & Volunteerism
February – Understanding Your Personality
March – Identifying Your Interests and Skills
April - Appreciating Your Accomplishment & Assessing Your Confidence
WORLD: Where Am I Going?
May - Where Am I?
June – Where Am I Going? What are my Dreams?
July – Potential Careers for me
August – Understanding My Needs, My Wants and Budgets
ACTIONS: How Do I Get There?
September – Choices & the Power of My Decisions
October - Future Planning: Education, Job Readiness and Skills Building
November - Setting Goals & Achieving Them
December – Taking Action & Overcoming Challenges

We have walked the program for only four month and the positiveness that has been seen in this is just encouraging.Young people including me have began to realize their potential and looking at life positively with great hope that we never could have seen before.As of now,we have completed the first four month of mentorship. We have exhausted everything we could about "SELF-WHO AM I?".We have looked into values and volunteerism,understanding your personality,identifying your skills and interests and this last Saturday of 8th April we did our last bit of the first quarter which was appreciating your accomplishments and assessing your confidence.This Saturday proved a great milestone for this program as we shared our accomplishments and even evaluated ourselves on how we did in the first four month and how we are progressing.Thanks to ABCD,now we can realize just how blessed we are in terms of Assets that are withing us as and in the community.

So my Question goes to all ABCD proponents.Does the program enlisted above speak to you, does it echo specific indicators for a transformation to you and community? Let’s engage then do something with common convergence to facilitate opportunities and break down barriers for the young people. You might not know what to do with the young person next to you, but to us he/she remain an asset and a big opportunity.

Posted in: Blog | 0 comments

ABCD ni NGAO YETU.


By Hulula, 2017-04-07
ABCD ni NGAO YETU.

"Ngao" is a Swahili word which means shield and "yetu" is a swahili word which means "ours".With this description then our heading means "ABCD is our shield".This is a term used by women in our areas.And why do they use this term,its because,if i wasnt for ABCD facilitators in the area then the women wouldnt have realized their gifts and talents and how far they could forge the destiny of their lives.

Before the women being told on how they could find solutions from within themselves,they used to depend much on their husbands who would fail them in many ways.But here they are now,full of life and true to themselves in terms forging their future and the future of their families.

All this has been the work of Ngao society.This is an organization that  facilitate an asset based community Driven development model, a conscious effort to focus strengths, abilities, opportunities, talents and gifts as a foundation of individual development. With the understanding that no one is poor to the point of not giving out something. Everyone has something to give within the community.This is a group of men and women from Kangemi informal settlements are giving out something (their skills and talents ) to transform their lives and others through the products they are making.

The group now  believes in the community as an asset,since if they have  realized  their potential, abilities and skills  to improve their livelihood then anyone else can do that.The proceeds of their work go to paying rent, food and education of their children. The group is not only a source of joy and hope to each other but a pillar of individual encouragement and change development.Now the task still remains on our part as the facilitators of ABCD model to help the group enhance their talent and skills by facilitating the growth of their bead making business.

Posted in: Stories | 0 comments
ABCD Kenya
About ABCD Kenya

We are a group of individuals who  facilitate the community in realizing its own potential to initiate sustainable change using the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Model in Kenya though this approach,we have engaged the community in community conversation and this has really brought some enlightenment  to the community that they can look deep into the strengths and capacities they have to come up with solutions to the issue they are facing.This conversation have really given birth to a number of programs that are driving forces in solving this issues.i.e mentorship program for youth in school and out of school,bead work for women and ABCD training that have really helped us expand the knowledge of ASSET BASED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT and practice it.The number of those who have started believing in this methodology is increasing in Kenya.And we continue getting the community engaged and changing and adopting what works in the community from what doesn't work.

Followers:
Siphosenkosi Ndlovu Hulula charles esibikhwa edward