AYOT ABIGAIL ACHIKA.
I was a member of AYLF and Kyambogo Chapter coordinator in 2012-2013. I equally served as the deputy speaker student’s guild council same year I have since then traveled to Denmark and thanks to my first trip to Kenya for the prayer breakfast as the first one out of Uganda. As a National Youth Leader I was overseeing the program in 5 branches and based in Kitgum. The leadership skills that I learnt while in the chapter has helped me grow steadily and now a Vice chairperson for the Red Cross youth in Adjumani District. I have worked with the communities with more zeal as I have looked up to the role model leaders like Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi and the rest whose work was aiming at transformation of societies.
I have worked in the refugee camp now for 6 months in areas of psycho-social support, community services, hygiene promotion and First Aid. I have done this with the aim of transforming lives and there after society.
For all the training offered by AYLF especially through the seven habits of highly effective people sessions, role models in Cornerstone and the networks I have all over East Africa, am at another level in life that I would not have attained if not for the platform given to me by AYLF. Thanks to all the founders, staff, partner, stakeholders, beneficiaries and all in the family of friends, because I have a family with you.
Daniel Gyagwe, currently living in Masaka. I’m attached to Datamine Technical Business School in the Department of Business studies as a business lecturer. I went to Makerere University Business School from where I successfully graduated in 2013 with a Bachelors degree in Procurement and supply Chain management I am convinced that leadership stops not only at being in charge of a community of people, but rather being in charge of the person called “me”. My life is always groomed on principles drawn from experiences and teachings of the people I choose to learn from and some personal experiences and inspirations. I quote this from Michael Kiirya, the AYLF coordinator Uganda. In one of the campus meetings at MUBS he said; “each new day that comes presents to us an opportunity to learn something new”.
While at MUBS life presented me a golden chance of participating in so many leadership activities, especially AYLF whose platform I learnt timeless principles like; personal responsibility and a sense of servant hood (performing an act intended to impact the life of another positively). I got a chance of working alongside visionary people both of my age especially my Brother and Friend Daniel Donald Mukuye. Leadership is one main thing that has defined the turn of my life especially at my transition from child hood to adult hood through to university where I served as a guild representative council (GRC) in the students’ guild. I was equally appointed as a fellowship leader in the Christian Union; where I drew a lot of inspiration relating to “self exaltation through servant hood” as taught by the apostle Paul relating to the life of Jesus (Philippians 2:6-11).
I joined the AYLF in my 2nd year of study. I was appointed assistant coordinator to Daniel Donald Mukuye with whom we led the members through two leadership curriculums; the seven habits of highly effective leaders by Steven R Covey and the 21 laws of leadership by John Maxwell
AYLF defined the peak of my University life, through different mentorship programs from Cornerstone Mr. Tim Kreutter – a very influential person in my life along with the AYLF team (Allan Shepherd and Micheal Kirya,). The knowledge I acquired and the principles I learnt an analogous to a steering only by which you can keep the car moving in the right path.
Last year in November I entered the employment world. I was hired to work as a part-time instructor at Management Training and Advisory centre Masaka and later I was taken on by Datamine Technical Business School as a full time lecturer in the Business Department up to date.
I am aware that am the immediate role model for the ones I teach. At the school, I established a student’s leadership club called the Datamine Intellectuals club and the Datamine Leadership Forum tracing its affiliation to the Africa Youth Leadership Forum. These are all avenues for influence and AYLF inspired me in this area.
My personal message to the young people who have hope of making something good out of their life can only be summarized in my personal story; when I was growing up (though I’m still growing up) I was given a lot of advice from the people who loved me, I didn’t realize the importance of it by then (being young and inexperienced) but now I appreciate. Sometimes I was rebellious but my mother’s whip shaped me (Proverbs 22: 15 “folly is bound up in the heart of the child but the rod of discipline will drive it far it). Now I thank God I’m giving the same guidance to my students, I feel a lot of compassion looking in the eyes of young, inexperienced and vulnerable young girls (they are like a young bird making its first step out of the mothers nest) un aware of the danger awaiting. Sometimes I talk to the young boys; I draw examples from my own experience. There is nothing as dangerous as being a misguided young man.
Development stories of AYLF in Uganda of leaders that we have mentored
I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Development Economics from Makerere University, later pursued a Certificate in Administrative law from Law Development Centre (LDC) and have since acquired several trainings in Human Rights, Management of International Organizations (University of Geneva) among others.
While at Makerere University, I was actively involved in youth Leadership development as a Coordinator of Africa Youth Leadership Forum (AYLF) and had the opportunity to convene the guild leadership and other students’ leaders from faculties and halls of residence. I participated in a couple of National Prayer breakfast gatherings in Kampala and interacted with members of parliament, ministers and several members of the diplomatic community. Honestly, each event was always an inspiration and I always looked forward for other events organized by AYLF. I was also one of the few students recruited as students’ peer trainers for the Gender Mainstreaming Division, now directorate of Makerere University. I participated in the university politics to become faculty president but lost narrowly to Nabukenya Prossy who had huge funding from her friends and other politicians.
It was not a loss; I considered it a win-win situation. We all won. I won friends, popularity and fame for my principles of clean campaign of not smearing the opponent dirty for my own selfish gains. Even on the last day of the elections, I shook Prossy’s hands and wished her well. She saw uniqueness and we have since remained friends. It makes me happy when I meet somebody in a bus or on the streets of Kampala and says,” hello Baker, I know you, you contested for president in the faculty of economics, I was a student of B.A Economics then”.
After graduating from the University, I worked with Rubirizi District Local Government in the Planning Department as an Acting District Planner for two years while at the same time devoted some efforts to a Community based initiative for one of my benefactors. Later, I founded Invisible Talents Education Foundation (ITEF)after returning from the United States (New York) where I had spent over three Months as a Dekeyser and Friends Fellow (D&F Fellow). I was chosen to represent youths in Uganda at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Summer School held in Coimbra Portugal. I had the opportunity to visit Spain (Madrid) and five cities in Portugal. This was a life changing experience. We discussed Internal development issues including the Arab spring and repositioning Africa for development and the role youths needed to play in the realization of Africa’s dream.
I proposed to AYLF to extend to Western Uganda and went on and started the Western Uganda which is doing pretty well so far. Small groups meet regularly at Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Bishop Stuart University and Mountains of the Moon University in Fort Portal. The same leadership skills, principles and values that have shaped what I am today are already trickling down to many University students in Western Uganda. I am grateful to Mr. Tim Kreutter, Allan Shepherd and Kiirya Michael for continuously supporting this initiative.
AYLF shaped me a lot to the extent that in the Civil Society World, I have moved to the top. I have been a Board Treasurer of the Leading Civil Society Network in the Western region. My message to all youth leaders is that, whatever you do now determines who you will be tomorrow. All the best friends