Author | Mental Health Advocate | Founder
My name is Nadia Ahmed Abdalla, currently serving as the Youngest Chief Administrative Secretary (Assistant Minister) at the age of 31 in the Ministry of ICT, Innovation & Youth Affairs in the Government of Kenya. I am also an Author of my current book called, ‘Of Dreams and Whatever.’ I have a bachelors in Public Relations & Mass Communication with a minor in Journalism and a Masters in Arts in International Relations & Cultural Diplomacy. I am extremely passionate about Girls, Young Women and Youths in Kenya and Africa as a whole by providing opportunities and reinventing the image when it comes to representation and being competitive in the specified markets.
I am driven by the zeal and attitude to amplify 3 things among Girls, Youth and Women which are; Representation in the different fields, Participation and Cohesion, Talent and innovations as a form of job creation and entrepreneurial skill building for better livelihoods. My journey has never been an easy one but it is still an empowering one. I was born and raised on the coastal side of Kenya in the 2nd largest city called Mombasa. I come from a marginalized community where to some extent women could only reach to where the society allowed us to. However, I was always the young girl who had a mind of her own and always believed in the greater things than what I was meant to believe I could reach. My passion for working with the community and focusing on the girl child and young women put me in places where I could speak and influence people’s minds on opportunities being vast and unlimited to our reach. Having been in government and still serving at a very young age has enabled me to show young people that with commitment, discipline and zeal you can influence perception and create opportunity. It is also what one needs if we are striving to change the narrative and grab opportunities to make better livelihoods for ourselves.
In addition to that I am also a Mental Health advocate, so I constantly use my platforms to speak about the need to normalize the mental health conversation around our African societies in order for us to build healthy environments for those struggling. I also emphasize on the importance of having more resources dedicated to mental health in order to create an environment of mindfulness that allows the youth to share their mental health struggles with those who can assist them. I am currently spearheading the #KenyaNiMimi (#KenyaIsMe) Campaign that brings together Youth and Young women to discuss pertinent issues and on-board various stakeholders (both governmental and non-governmental) who offer youth opportunities for growth in different industries and sectors. In addition to that I also run a campaign called #NdotoHalisi (#DreamsAreValid) that focuses on empowering marginalized girls to invest in their dreams, strive to be educated and work on being represented in spaces where their voices are needed.
What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?
One of my biggest hurdles is really the stereotypes around young women like myself and having to prove that we belong in the spaces that we occupy. Due to coming from a marginalized community growing up I never saw opportunities coming our way and from then on, my goal was to create & educate young women and youths on opportunities that would benefit them. The other biggest hurdle was financial instability, and most of the time as women we face a lot of this because we are never empowered enough on how to save, invest and generate multiple sources of income. Therefore, my goal is to curate conversations on how to generate multiple financial channels using technology and innovation to equip and enable youth and young women to strive to be more educated and independent as we grow.
What books are you currently reading?
My book of course, ‘Of Dreams & Whatever’ you can get it on Amazon and also The Sex Lives of African Women by Nana Darkoa
What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?
My advice would be don’t wait for the right moment, the right time or the right funding. If you have a vision, an idea and the belief that it shall work out then just go for it. Do it to the best of your ability and give it your all, because the real struggle comes with starting something. I have seen it and I am a true believer of that mentality. Just start, once you take off you know that is the only way forward. Also, you should remember you don’t need anyone’s permission to be great and be who you want to be! Be Your Own Vibe Always!