Founder & Executive Director, African Woman Global Network
BoldQuestion: What if we were able to create a safe and inclusive environment for children and women thrive.
Path to Metis: My life growing up was adventurous,a very beautiful experience that led me to believe that I wanted to do things that people thought were difficult and one had to be Bill Gates to be able to do them.
There was this informal settlement next to my school....Just like every Informal settlement, the people there had their own way of doing life. I was in school with a percentage of kids from there. I used to find those kids rough, impolite, and frightening. It was their way of existence. These are kids who sometimes came to school hungry and would steal or even snatch peoples snackboxes and
Eat whatever one had carried. No one would fight them or report them because that meant calling for a merciless beating by the gang on your way home. Nobody wanted to cross them. I do not think many of us understood where these kids were coming from, so we judged them.
I was a curious child. I have always been a curious humanbeing. So,thisone Saturday I left home at 9am and told my parents I was going to the barracks to watch the army practice their parade. I was about 10/11years.(We used to use the back entrance to the barracks and lie to the guards that we were going to a classmate’s house to pick a book just to gain access.(Nobody teaches children how to lie,they lie anyway.)
Before getting to Soweto ,I decided to cut up jeans and dad's jacket, walked around the slum looking like I belonged there.I wanted to have a feel of life in the slum without uniform. I cannot remember who I went with,but I was not alone.There was an organization we visited that was engaging people. I Joined The Team, and went round listening to people's stories. (In my torn jeans wanna-be gangster look)...I did not knowabout NGOs, so I thought they were nice people who had come to kill their curiosity like me.
I went home having satisfied my curiosity and happy that no one was mean to me.At the time I hadn't realized that the mean kids were that way in school so as to feel in control as life back at home was unbearable. I wanted to understand them but my options were limited.
Fast forward to 3 years ago when I went back to Soweto,Kibera & mathare & founded African Woman Global Network. An organisation that promotes human rights, advocates for change,good governance, policy development and implementation. I have been involved in Reform Initiatives which entaile programmes within the youth and gender departments. Through encouraging youth to go to school, creating legal awareness and offering legal support, we are trying to solve problems related to Our culture including early child marriages that prevent girls from going to school, poverty that interferes with children going to school, SGBV cases in children,women and men.
I believe that to make a difference one doesn't need to do it big. Start small,start big, just start and follow your heart.
More about Nyokabi: