While taking a Bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness Management, Nyariara Njoroge did an internship at the tea estates in Limuru in her second year at the university. This is when she realised what children growing up around tea estates faced. She graduated in 2016 and got a job in her line of study but quit so as to go mentor those children. Eventually, she realised that mentoring the children wasn’t enough and had to find a sustainable way of improving their lives. Seeing that parents are the root cause of the problems children go through, she started a community listening project. This has enabled her to start working on developing a leadership training curriculum for the parents who have proven to be passionate in things like sports and other talents. This program will seek to empower them towards taking initiative in leading the change themselves.
‘You find a cyclic kind of thing in tea estates where girls get pregnant before completing school and end up dropping and becoming tea pluckers. In most situations you find someone’s grandfather, mother and children living in the settlements or what they call ‘Kambis.’ My organization, ‘Kambi Bora,’ therefore seeks to empower these communities towards improved child transition from one level of education to another as it is currently low,’ Nyariara explains.
The community listening project cited poverty, living in a multicultural environment, poor financial literacy and lack of mentors as one of the challenges that people face. She asserts that she wants to use sports, talent and education to empower people as these are the ‘gifts’ most parents have and can use. Nyariara is assisted by a group of university students. They call themselves the ‘Limuru Joint University Students Association.’
The Kambi Bora Initiative joined forces with Tatua Fellowship to promote positive child transition and to counter problems such as drug abuse. Since their activities require funding, they approached different people to contribute to the cause. They used various approaches including photo shoots, pitching the fundraising plan to the tea estate management, online fundraising campaigns and by selling the Kambi Bora Initiative notebooks and calendars.
The other activities include mobilizing where fifty adults will be empowered through a leadership exposure program to use their skills in sports, guidance and counselling, art, music and others to support children to transform into all rounded individuals. Their hope is to also encompass financial literacy, sexual reproductive health, parental skills, drug abuse, talent management and team dynamics into their training program.
Nyariara intends to go back to using here degree later on in community development and organization. With Africa’s population budge, she knows that the continent will continue to lag behind unless we have stable production of food.
In unearthing her view towards the perspective of African youth towards service, Nyariara understands that more youth are moving towards social impact initiatives and enterprises. ‘There are many fellowship programs geared towards transforming Africa through the youth and they have awakened the spirit of servant leadership. My only issue is that we have many people engaging in these programmes just to gain credentials and seem busy without accountability to the call of transforming Africa despite the investment being put in,’ she argues.
Moving forward, Nyariara emphasizes on the need to continuously interrogate the role we are playing in changing the African narrative through service in civil, corporate and civic leadership especially given the majority of people are young.
The late Nelson Mandela once said that safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment and we owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear. We applaud the Kambi Bora Initiative for working towards realising these words.