THESE THREE THINGS WE MUST DO
Prisca (EPTF PR) and I arrived at the Hope FM studio just a few minutes before the time I was scheduled for the interview this morning. We were ushered into the boardroom and it did not take long before my host walked in to pick us up. It was not the first time that Justus Owaka (Justo) was hosting me, he had previously hosted me in the same studio about seven years ago. Though I was uptight, media interviews are not commonplace for me (I must confess), I knew I will have a good time. This man, Justo, has a way of making an interview look normal, he has a way of easing the tension and by the time you know it? It’s a conversation and not an interview. He enjoys what he does and that is all too apparent even as he engages you all through. In fact, my 30 minutes were over too soon!
With a big smile and a deep voice (and when we were just about done) he caught me off guard with this question; “What are the actual steps that various stakeholders; learning institutions, religious institutions, private sector, Government and others should take to ensure a robust enterprise sector that is tackling unemployment and poverty in Kenya and hence transformed communities?” I must have fumbled through the words on this one but I got to give it some more thought afterwards:
- Training and Skills Development: We need to provide knowledge and skills that are addressing our needs in the society. This will be done by focusing on technical and vocational skills as well as talent development. Successful enterprises are those that are established to address a need (not just to make money) and so the entrepreneur needs skills and knowledge to address the need. It then goes without saying that someone, somewhere must invest in identifying, developing and nurturing that skill. That is what our institutions and organizations should focus on.
- Mentoring & Role Modeling: Proverbs 13:20; ‘Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.’ the role of mentorship in passing on values and morals from one generation to another cannot be underestimated. If we feel that we are losing it across generations in terms of values and morals, we possibly need to look within ourselves and ask.. .’What is my contribution?’ ‘Am I mentoring anyone?’ Someone said, ‘you might be the only book a person will read in life’ meaning how we live matters much more than what we say. We need to have our institutions and organizations become deliberate on mentoring and role modeling. This is seen in; the organizational culture that we create, the programs, projects & activities we undertake and the character of individuals in these organizations (starting from the leadership). Only then can we nurture, develop and build enterprises that we desire and which reflects who we are.
- Strategic Partnerships: You’ve heard the old adage rising tides float all boats? The core concept of this still rings true – working together to advance your cause benefits all involved. The Bible reminds me of another; . Ecclesiastes 4:9, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.” Unemployment and poverty is a problem that is bigger than any individual or any single organization, yet it is a pain to all of us. No one can address this on their own. All the stakeholders must work in synergy to face this menace. ‘Many a mickle makes a muckle’, If united we all can do what we can do best then tackling unemployment and poverty will not be the ‘elephant in the room’ anymore.
I don’t think my friend Justo would have given me time to say all this but I’m grateful I have unlimited airtime on this platform.
Giving credit where it is due — Thank you Justo for getting my mind to think through all of this.