Winfred Buya is the immediate outgoing Organising Secretary at Maseno University in Western Kenya. She is a visionary leader with a mission to change the face of student leadership at the university. Buya, as she is popularly known, says she learnt all the tenets for good leadership when she attended a leadership training for university students organised by Akili Dada. In her final year, she has founded an initiative to empower female students that is making waves in the university.
*By Winifred Buya
My name is Buya Mukozo Winfred, a 4th-year student at Maseno University taking B.Sc in Public Health with IT. I am the immediate outgoing Organizing Secretary of the Student’s Organisation for Maseno University (SOMU) and the Founding Director of Empower HER Initiative, a platform that seeks to empower female students in all aspects of their lives.
I have been in leadership from the time I knew to spell my name all through high school and now in campus. On my day of admission having bumped into many male aspirants seeking elective posts I felt the thrill of the challenge. I remember mentioning to my parents my desire to get into campus politics , I felt the calling deep within, so so deep and I purposed to pursue it. Every time I prayed I would mention it to God and somehow He made a way.
Campus leadership is not a bed of roses. In high school, all I needed was the right grades and friends who believed in your manifesto and that was it. For campus the process is intense, it involves resources like time,money, strategy, genuine friendships and many more ????.
When I started out, all I had were genuine friends and the idea. I wanted to know how other female student leaders had done before. I started browsing about Kenya Female Student Leaders. The details were so scanty.I then researched on organizations that empower the girl child. I liked more than 20 pages on Facebook that would bring notifications on their programs. Some were high school mentorship programs, others involved donation of sanitary towels and many more.
Then I came across the Akili Dada page. Besides their programs for high schools they had a unique program for female students who wanted to contest in their campuses. Exactly what I needed. Coincidentally at the same time, their application were open for the next intake. That was God in action ???? The prayers I had made right from 2013 were now being answered. I decided to apply though not sure of the outcome because previously I had filled countless application forms whose feedback turned out negative or I haven’t gotten to date. A few days later, I received a call, my application was successful. Akili Dada is an equal opportunity giver , purely based on merit.I joined other girls from different parts of this country for a 3 day comprehensive, eye-opening training during which I realized the amazing things my peers were doing. Some were running very successful initiatives.
I remember being taken through Uungwana na Ushenzi training and many other trainings that have shaped my integrity and many other values that I stand for. To date, I don’t compromise, it’s either the right way or no way. I purposed to be a transformative leader.As we were taken through the canvas model, my plan is the initiative we are running, Empower HER Initiative. During the session I was able to put my scattered thoughts into a plan and developed an action plan that made it a reality. Empower Her is now an initiative that is changing the lives of female students in campus in a big way.
I learnt that I needed to be financially prepared if I intended to vie and I had to earn the money. We came up with ideas to raise the funds and I started saving in preparation for the elections . During one of the sessions by Minky Wanna who having gone through her elections successfully had a wealth of knowledge and experience that I totally related to. She impacted my life in a big way and held my hand throughout.
After the training my mind was made up I was going for the seat and would battle it out till the ballot. I did and in October during the elections I had a massive win and I am glad I got into office as a transformative leader. The values I gained still play a major role in my life.I live the values, walk the values and talk the values because it is through transformative leadership that we can change this nation.
#Proudly Akili Dada. God bless you.