If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go with others! You most definitely must’ve heard of that African proverb, right? Well, different contexts can make meaning out of it, but for NairoBits, it is core to our work – Partnerships are a key ingredient for our success. On Monday 8th March, 2021, the World marked the International Women’s Day 2021 under the theme “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World.” We chose to honor some of the Women in NairoBits who have made remarkable contributions to make the world flatter for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds amid the COVID-19 pandemic and other social challenges affecting the youth. By choosing to celebrate these amazing women, we acknowledge their hard work and priceless contributions towards equality.
Magdalene Wanjugu – Maggie is the Executive Director of NairoBits and is very instrumental in overseeing a great deal of transformation in the quality of work that we do as a social enterprise. Her selfless leadership style, mingled with firm focus has seen the NairoBits offering improve a great deal. It goes without saying that amid the COVID-19 pandemic that almost drove our programmes to a halt, Maggie captained the ship and offered the much needed morale that inspired resilience in everyone. When the books of NairoBits history are rewritten, Maggie indeed occupies an enviable position in this story of transformation.
Lucky Namunyak – Lucky served as the Partnerships and Linkages Coordinator in 2020, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Kenya hardest, and went out of her way to inspire hope in our students then. Cognizant of the diversity of personalities and temperaments in our students, she deployed her selfless acumen and unique emotional intelligence to ensure that all in her charge were comfortable at that fragile time. Lucky is now the Policy and Advocacy Associate at Pathways, where she is continuing with her stellar record in championing for women’s rights, and work to ensure that all women get access to all reproductive health services. Lucky is our #NairoBits Woman in Leadership whom we are proud of.
Jacquilene Lidonde – Buoyed by her deep passion for the development sector and African philanthropy, Jacquie founded VoluCulture, an organization that serves over 25 grassroots nonprofit organizations in Kenya, and over 300 volunteers from 18 countries. The year 2020 was one that challenged many nonprofits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in onsite volunteerism dropping by over 90%. As a servant leader who understands the importance of building a strong culture and an enabling environment for experimentation and innovation, her partnership and patronage of NairoBits as one of the Organizations that she supports is our moment of pride because she has been been able to link our students and alumni to various opportunities in the development sector where their learned skills are harnessed for their socio-economic forward thrust. Jacquie remains a valuable strategic partner to NairoBits and for this, she is in our Women in Leadership segment as a celebrated Leader.
Mariam Zaitun – Zaitun is our Design Trainer at the Mirror of Hope Center in Kibera. She is steel packaged in human flesh. Her calm demeanor conceals a fierce, training room warrior who stops at nothing in order to have her students get the most from her every session. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Zaitun, as she is popularly referred to in our corridors of innovation, worked fearlessly and ensured that our students never stopped learning. She always gives extra material to the students at her own expense, and worthy of note, was her emotional intelligence in diligently checking on the students via WhatsApp all through this toughest of times. Casting aside all her personal uncertainties in servitude, to say that she has demonstrated sacrificial bravery would be an understatement. The future of our students is indeed bright with Zaitun in the house.
Michelle Tracy – Michelle Tracy has been and currently remains one of our most celebrated Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights champions and ambassador. She stood tall amid the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 and led a teenage mothers’ support program and campaign in the Mathare informal settlement, which was by and large, overlooked by most aid agencies and organizations supporting the underprivileged community members. “The young people in Mathare lacked information on comprehensicve sexuality education which was a major contributor to many teenage pregnancies and a rise in teenage motherhood numbers, seeing that schools were closed” She observes. Her efforts led to a 3-month CSR donation from NipNap, a diaper company in Kenya, that offered to supply free diapers to the identified teenage mothers not only in Mathare, but also in Mukuru and Kibera informal settlements. We are proud to have Michelle within our ranks and with this knowledge we can only envision bigger gains and greater heights for our SRHR program. She indeed is a Woman in Leadership worth celebrating.
NairoBits once again takes this opportunity to appreciate all the women in our network. To all the women leaders, both those within the leadership structure, and also those from among our students and alumni and associates who are tirelessly causing community change one youth at a time, you are our heroes. Happy International Women’s Day, Week, Year and a timeless endeavor! #WeAreBits