I recently began an internship at the Emerging Leaders Foundation (ELF), an impact-oriented mentorship program that is designed to address real needs and create opportunities for youth leaders. Their vision is to build a community of inspired young people who lead purposeful lives and realize their full potential. ELF works primarily with student government leaders in the local universities, and as a young woman in university myself, I see this internship as a great opportunity to learn about leadership cultivation and community-building at the college level. It’s our responsibility to ensure that poor leadership does not dictate the future of our society.

As an ELF intern, my role keeps me busy and engaged as I take on tasks related to everything from errand running to research.  Part of my research involves looking to other organizations who do similar work to see what we can learn in order to find the most effective way to implement our programs. In addition, I am exploring the funding landscape in the leadership development space, which has been an incredible introduction to resource mobilization.

This month, I also attended the Yale Conference on Research and Innovation. The conference, which took place at the Sarova Panafric Hotel in Nairobi was eye-opening. Presenters came from universities around the world, including: Yale, Stanford, University of Malawi, Makerere University, Wits University and The University of Nairobi. The keynote speaker was our very own John Githongo who talked about nurturing and recognizing innovation in slums.

My challenge to all my fellow university students out there who are on holiday and/or cannot find jobs to do, let us volunteer our time and skills. We should market ourselves and not wait to be found. Let us avail ourselves and work hard to contribute once we’re there. Let us believe in ourselves and each other, and extinguish all fear of rejection or failure that can hold us back.

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