Archive | June, 2009

Democratic or rebellious?

30 Jun

Yesterday I visited Kenyatta University, a public university with over 20.000 students, which has been closed after riots in March. We still remember the pictures of burning dorm rooms and police throwing tear gas on students on campus from TV with some students killed.

Right now there are no classes, the dorms are closed and students are not allowed to come. Students still pay their fees, but are not allowed to continue their studies right now. And the best part is that they are not even informed when they will resume (rumours vary from September to January). So they cannot do internships or do other courses in between.

That was all I knew before I went there. But the reality shocked me even more. The guards didn´t check us, so we just walked in and I took a 2 hour walk around the extremely large being shown around by an AIESECer. The campus, seeing the leftovers of the riots, the deserted dorms and the hundreds of closed offices. A beautiful campus being deserted. Talking to students, who don´t know when they will graduate or resume their studies. Hearing of students from the rural areas who could not leave campus and thats why suffered most during the riots. AIESEC KU without an office or the chance for recruitment. Quiet sad.

So today on the radio Hope FM was discussing the “current trend of Kenyans going on the street and expressing their opinion in an uncivilized manner”.

Primary kids going on strike, secondary kids burning dormitories, students rioting, hawkers fighting with the police, police threatening to have demonstrations… They claimed it is a bad thing and Kenyans should NOT develop a (western?) habit of expressing their opinions in public.

Funny.

My general feeling is that for the amount of problems (corruption, infrastructure, hunger, unemployment…) and miss there is not a lot discussion in public. People are rather busy solving their daily life problems and therefore do not spend much time on writing letters to newspapers or organize demonstrations.

The understanding of each other is quiet low. As soon as students discuss things that they do not like, somebody asks them to better return to the books than start thinking to much. The roles of women change a lot these days without the man noticing (?) or at least taking notice. It ends up with the police, which is asked to restore “law and order”, which most of the times means to enforce policies that were the introduced by the richer and do not favor not the masses.

In my opinion we need more open forums where people talk to each other and listen to opinions. Especially opinions of the young people, who are so many in this country. People should talk more to get to know the different realities and try to understsand why other people

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Leadership

22 Jun

This blog entry can give you some insight in my work…

What is leadership? Who is a leader? And what is Manuela doing to develop leaders in Kenya?
There are probably more quotes and websites about leadership than sand at Diani Beach…

“Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen”

or

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go but ought to be” 

In AIESEC we focus on developing leadership in students. We do not think you become a leader by holding a title. It is about offering a position plus an environment to learn and grow!

In AIESEC Kenya we have 24 young people on national one-year leadership positions for the upcoming year. Another 80 students are running the 9 Local Commitees around the country. Then we have countless Conference, Event and Project Organising Teams, where members can get short term team management experiences.

Part of my job is to provide that specific environment that comes on top of what other student organisations offer. So right now I am planning a leadership development seminar for 130 students in July. For all members holding a Leadership Role I am planning quarterly reflection and learning events. We are constantly trying to connect our members to people in the outside world as Mentors. With my Trainers Team I am looking at ways to include into learning on Kenyan/world issues into the weekly meetings of the members. These are some of my tasks.

Now how do we measure the outcomes of those tasks? This is where you can come in now with your opinion… How do we measure leadership in people?

The days are going by faster…

22 Jun

My last post is two weeks old… Am wondering where those days went.

I visited different universities, giving them ideas on how to work in a more efficient way. Then I started working with my group of students in my portfolio at the universities (VP TMs at the different LCs), and my Team responsible for Training in Kenya (NTT). Amazing people, in both of the groups. We are in the process of creating year plans, getting a good transition from the previous responsibles and getting to form our visions.

Most importantly am working on my own year plan and different support structures for the universities, called LC Coaching. And we have first applications for positions for internationals working inside AIESEC in Kenya! So am interviewing them, discussing hosting and their jobs etc. For example we will need help with expanding our network to new cities.

Below some random pictures from my school in Mukuru Slums, a workshop for VPs, the different teams I am working with.

Finally a video from yesterday´s LAZY afternoon with a friend. Just people watching from the rooftop of his house near Kenyatta University (wonderful: you can stare at people without them noticing you), including German and Swa lessons. Important questions were answered: How cold is a Tusker Baridi when you drink it in the sun? How long does it take to change a tyre? How many people does it need to fix a matatu? Will this guy really pee with you watching him? How many birds can you kill with one stone?

The days are going by faster…

22 Jun

My last post is two weeks old… Am wondering where those days went.

I visited different universities, giving them ideas on how to work in a more efficient way. Then I started working with my group of students in my portfolio at the universities (VP TMs at the different LCs), and my Team responsible for Training in Kenya (NTT). Amazing people, in both of the groups. We are in the process of creating year plans, getting a good transition from the previous responsibles and getting to form our visions.

Most importantly am working on my own year plan and different support structures for the universities, called LC Coaching. And we have first applications for positions for internationals working inside AIESEC in Kenya! So am interviewing them, discussing hosting and their jobs etc. For example we will need help with expanding our network to new cities.

Below some random pictures from my school in Mukuru Slums, a workshop for VPs, the different teams I am working with.

Finally a video from yesterday´s LAZY afternoon with a friend. Just people watching from the rooftop of his house near Kenyatta University (wonderful: you can stare at people without them noticing you), including German and Swa lessons. Important questions were answered: How cold is a Tusker Baridi when you drink it in the sun? How long does it take to change a tyre? How many people does it need to fix a matatu? Will this guy really pee with you watching him? How many birds can you kill with one stone?

Just a normal day

3 Jun

5.30: alarm bell
6.10: family gathering at the breakfast table, our lords prayer together
6.25: leave the house
6.35: word of the day: “tabasamu” (= smile)
7.20: arrival at unviversity
7.30: hooray, there is internet today!!
7.35: wow, we have three applicants for LC Coaches! answering emails, inviting trainers for saturday, reading the motions for fridays legislative meeting, budgeting for travelling costs…
8.45: internet is getting slower
9.00: taking the new volunteer to the school in south b
11.00: the newly finished kitchen looks really good
12.00: she seems to like the school, cool!
1.00: visiting one of the teachers at home, this baby is so sweet, only ten days old!
1.45: the neighbour comes visiting, asks for advice on how to care for three orphans of a friend
2.25: buying maize in the slums… lunch for 10 KSh only!
2.30: matatu back to town, “my president is black, my lambo´s blue… and i´ll be god damned if my rims ain´t too”
3.05: walking to uni, 29 degrees, am glad I used sunscreen
3.30: first interview for the LC coaches
4.30: second interview
5.30: wanted to go to comfort, but: RAIN! So I write the recommendations for the two applicants
5.35: someone is matched to go to Germany and needs advice for booking flights
5.30: meeting at comfort with the alumni manager, postponed for one hour due to rainfalls.
6.40: those goals are well set in the alumni year plan! adding some details and tasks
7.35: quite late. time to leave!
7.45: talking to members
8.15: my host brother comes from campus to pick me in order for us to go home together
8.20: meeting my MCP for the first time today: decisions about the review, discussions about general team feeling and leadership problems in one LC
8.55: due to the traffic (due to the weather) there are no matatus waiting for us
9.10: one matatu for 150 people, matatu price is doubled
9.55: dinner!
10.25: fixing my comp, discussing stuff with my host bro
11.25: this mexican soap opera is just crap
11:59: time to sleep…