Educator | Community Mobilizer | Organizer - Advocator
Mambo! My name is Esha Mohammed and I am from Mombasa, Kenya. I am an educator, community mobilizer, and organizer, with a passion for advocating for the participation of youth, especially young women and girls, in leadership spaces. As a champion for Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5, and 10, I believe in the power of youth to drive change in our communities and our nation. It's disheartening to see that despite more than half of Kenya's population being young people, our voices are not as strong as they should be in key decision-making processes. Growing up, I saw very few young people taking up space, and many of us felt that politics was not for us. However, it's ironic that our founding fathers and mothers took up leadership roles at a young age, with some even becoming senior state officers. This shows us the power of starting early, mentorship, and trusting the process. Recognizing this, I and two other young people started a youth-led organization called Her Narrative. https://www.instagram.com/invites/contact/?i=3dfpfbva00pn&utm_content=kp7z6ox
Our goal is to mentor, create awareness, and advocate for youth leadership, gender issues, and education through storytelling and training. We work with both students and out-of-school youth to help them develop their leadership potential. Through my work in the youth sector, I was appointed as one of the directors of the National Youth Council at the age of 24. The National Youth Council is the official voice of youth in Kenya, and it's a state corporation domiciled within the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Sports, and the Arts.
What were the biggest initial hurdles you faced and how did you overcome them?
Making the decision to pursue a new career path outside of my teaching profession was a difficult one. While I deeply admire the teaching profession, I have found my true passion in social work. I have always believed that I was meant to serve and make the world a better place, and I believe that social workers are crucial in achieving this goal. Initially, my parents were hesitant to support my decision, but they have since come around and are proud of my growth and dedication.
Navigating within these spaces as a young woman can be quite challenging, especially with the stereotypes and preconceived notions that come with being young and female. Additionally, the fear of the unknown and imposter syndrome can also be daunting. To overcome these obstacles, I have learned to first outline my goals and then stay consistent and dedicated to achieving them. I put in the necessary effort and hard work to ensure that my dreams become a reality, while also bringing more young women to these spaces. For me, mentorship plays a central role in everything I do because it provides a sense of appreciation for the work I do and helps me uplift others along the way.
What advice do you have for young people locally and internationally who are just starting out in their careers or pursuing their passions?
To all those who are hesitant to take the first step towards their dreams, my advice is simple: start, just start! It may seem daunting at first, but consistency is key. Find people who will support and cheer you on throughout your journey. Along with mentors, it's also important to have sponsors - individuals who can vouch for you and your abilities in rooms of opportunities.
Networking is also crucial in building relationships and making meaningful connections. Be intentional in seeking out and nurturing relationships in the various spaces you occupy. Remember, the journey to success is not a solo one, so surround yourself with a supportive community and keep pushing forward towards your goals.
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