Stephen Machua|Changing mindsets

Stephen studied at Chania High School in Thika, Kiambu County where he scored a mean grade of a B+. During his time there, he participated in community service through the President’s award-Kenya. The Award is a member of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association. He later proceeded to the Technical University of Kenya where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce(Finance). Between September 2014 and May 2015, he pursued a Post- graduate Diploma in Global Social Sustainable Enterprise at the United States International University. This was a scholarship that was granted by the Colorado State University.

The Mandela Institute for Development Studies youth dialogue in Kigali, Rwanda was also a good opportunity for him in July 2014. The institute provides a platform for young people to talk about the challenges Africa faces and what long-term and short-term solutions are available.  He later got a chance to give a feedback of the program at the headquarters in South Africa. This included designing a sustainable and better program for the next sessions.

‘I am a social entrepreneur. I like identifying needs and finding solutions. I have done this for five years now. My concentration has been on youth and children,’ he says

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 He is happy when he sees transformation in people’s lives. ‘In 2012, I advised a student in Mathare Slums on how to do well in class. He moved from a mean grade of a C and even qualified to join the university. I have also assisted five other students to get secondary school scholarships and school entry materials by mobilizing friends,’ he explains.

What he does

I co-founded a non-governmental organisation in 2012,it’s called Change Mind Change Future(CMCF). The organization creates a platform for volunteering and mentorship opportunities for young people. We have done mentorship in schools by encouraging young people to pursue their passion and act as solution providers in their communities. We have  been recommending the organization’s volunteers to conferences, scholarships and exchange programs in different parts of the world. The networks that young people gain during our activities are also important as they act as stepping stones in their careers or entrepreneurial pursuits.

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One of our recent achievements was mobilizing CMCF volunteers to set up a computer lab for the female juveniles at Kamae Girls Borstal Institution. It only took a month to do this! The volunteers are also training them on how to use the computers.

Another major stride was when I assisted in putting up the first ever African Youth Charter Summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 2013 through Change Mind Change Future. The summit was organized by Zayrah Africa, a development agency based in South Africa. We later commenced monthly forums to popularize the charter and it was an honour to have positively influenced the ratification of the document in January 2014. The purpose of the document is to mobilize African countries to make a commitment to empower the youth.

In 2014, we started an annual summit to influence youth into entrepreneurship and that’s what gave birth to the African Summit on Enterpreneurship and Innovation (ASENTI). It has created space for young entrepreneurs to come together and share their ideas. Young people have also had the chance to network with inspiring entrepreneurs such as Dr. Manu Chandaria who is the chair of Comcraft Group.

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I am also the founder of Afrom Media which started in 2014. My team and I do social media management and training for organizations. We also design websites and recently introduced a digital research product. Through Afrom Media, I am able to financially support myself and the projects I am engaged in.

I also serve in decision making capacity for various organisations such as;

Cheza Sports Academy which is a talent academy based in South B for young people interested in soccer.

Design to transform which builds websites for community based organisations.

I have also volunteered in a number of platforms such as;

Volunteer Involving Organisations Society where I contributed in the development of the national volunteerism policy.

Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD(VI) youth side event where I contributed in the formulation of TICAD VI Youth Declaration. TICAD focuses on the formulation of policies and programmes that are aimed on promoting development in Africa by creating a forum for dialogue with relevant stakeholders. It’s spearheaded by the Japanese Government.

With the Japanese First Lady and Kenya's First Lady,Margaret Kenyatta
With the Japanese First Lady and Kenya’s First Lady,Margaret Kenyatta

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD14 Youth Forum where I served as a facilitator for a session on “More and Better Jobs”. The youth forum was the first of its kind. The aim of the conference was to set an agenda for inclusive and equitable global economic environment for trade and development.

Quickfire Q and A

How do you take time off?

By visiting the less privileged, swimming and hanging out with friends. I also love travelling.

Time off
Time off

What don’t most people know about you?

I don’t have a lot of money as people think (laughs) and I also find it humbling to dine with people of reputable and high standing in the society.

With public service, youth and gender affairs C.S. Sicily Kariuki
With public service, youth and gender affairs C.S. Sicily Kariuki

Parting shot?

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Don’t be afraid to start something especially if it touches on the lives of others. Volunteering brings a certain level of transformation both to the contributor and recipient. Life is beyond ticking a diary, do something for others!

Update

Meet the volunteers who equip out of school youth with ICT skills

Have you ever thought how life would be if you ever found yourself behind bars while still an under 18? That’s the story for a few young people who have been confined to special correctional facilities within different prisons in Kenya.

Earlier today, we spoke to Stephen Machua whom together with Change Mind Change Future Volunteers are doing all they can to restore hope and equip the young offenders with the much needed ICT skills. In October 2016, they established a computer laboratory and commenced ICT trainings at Kamae Girls Borstal Institution. The institution is located within the famous Kamiti Prison premises and it’s the first ever female juvenile in Kenya. It currently hosts 17 girls serving a maximum term of 3 years.

What is Computer for Juvenile?

This is an ICT program that equips young offenders with computer knowledge and skills, by establishing computer laboratories and running ICT trainings in Prisons with a special focus on Juveniles.

We believe in second chances and the ability of young offenders to transform their own lives and the communities they live in on completion of their jail term.  Equipping them with ICT skills in the fast changing technological world is one way of expressing empathy and compassion and giving them another chance in life to pursue their dreams and utilize their talents for the good of all. The program transforms the lives of young offenders into meaningful members of the society through improved and high quality ICT training.It also creates a critical mass of young people who envisage a sustainable society and become active crusaders for achieving the SDGs (4.7)

Funding

At the moment, we rely on Change Mind Change Future Volunteers, one of the organization I co-founded in 2012. These volunteers spare their finances to ensure smooth running of the program. Getting fully dedicated volunteers is a huge task but so far we’ve managed.

In the near future, we shall be exploring funding avenues from like-minded organizations and partners to ensure sustainability of the program.

Impact

We influenced the Female Juvenile to employ a full time ICT Trainer who together with the volunteers have managed to train 17 girls out of which 9 are expected to graduate as soon as their course work is complete.

We also challenged the Kamiti Youth Correctional and Training Centre to establish a similar computer laboratory for boys, they were lucky to get computer donations recently. Today, we shall launch and officially commence ICT training program for 10 boys with Change Mind Change Future volunteers as trainers. Life has chances and perhaps the chance you have is to make a turn around and transform someone’s life.

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30 Responses

  1. Humility is a virtue. We must always maintain it no matter what we achieve. Thanks for reading.

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  3. You Inspire me brother, continue with the good work, your persistence and commitment to serve will take you places . Thumbs up

  4. Wow! So Inspiring. Steve a shining star that brings light into communities especially in the lives of young peaple. He is a blessing to our generation. Humble and selfless despite his place in the society and his numerous interactions with policy makers. He is my role model…
    GOD BLESS YOU BRO!

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