Jackline Aseyo Kidaha is a Kenyan lady who founded Golden Hearts for the Vulnerable (GHV Initiative), a CBO in Kangemi, Nairobi. The 24-year-old is also the Program Coordinator at Edge Disability Mainstreaming Partners (EDMAP AGENCIES), an organisation that convenes disability mainstreaming training and workshops for government ministries and parastatals.
As a young social entrepreneur still in her baby steps, Jackie believes in youth power as key actors to development and agents of positive change.
Why do you say that youths are the best agents of change?
Young people make up the largest population in Africa. The youth are growing up with high energy, creativity, innovativeness, and talents which I believe are key to the attainment of various Sustainable Development Goals.
All this needs to be tapped into as it’s not only for individual benefit but also for the betterment of the African continent to bring up social and economic shifts.
What are your expectations from this generation?
Much sacrifice and aggressiveness in reaching this goal of restoring our mother continent to abundance, wealth, and diversity.
The previous generation achieved the political emancipation but I expect the current youth of Africa to achieve the socio-economical emancipation. Thus this generation of young people needs to be more open-minded, proactive in identifying gaps and addressing them.
Can you give SLA readers a sense of where GHV Initiative is at the moment and what plans you have for the future?
GHV Initiative (Golden Hearts for the Vulnerable) in a glimpse is a registered community-based organization in an informal settlement called Kangemi (Nairobi). It was founded in March 2015 and was officially registered in March 2017. Our main goal being to empower the vulnerable groups in informal settlements with relevant information on life skills, talents and helping realize their rights as enshrined in various legal documents. This is to give them a voice to speak up, be their own decision-makers in life and be actors in development too.
So far I can contently say that we are a notch higher compared to when we began as GHV Initiative. We are now equipped to challenge and ready to bridge the gaps identified in our community. More so I can frankly say that as the Founder I now have a more reliable, committed and dedicated team that I work with to ensure that we achieve the overall GHV vision.
Our future plan as an initiative is setting up a centre which will compose of unique an art space; crafts making and a talent space to nurture the spirit of dancing. The centre will entail teaching crafting, dancing, communication and entrepreneurial skills to more groups.
We are also strategizing on coming up with a charity clothing line/boutique within the centre where well-wishers can to donate. This will have clothes for both boys and girls from ages 5 to 16 to enhance decency and boost their self-esteem which is critical to many of them, especially those in their teenage years who are shy in relation to how they are dressed thus pulling down their self-confidence.Our empowerment program doesn't give fish but teaches target beneficiaries how to fish… Click To Tweet
What programs do you provide and what are some of the setbacks you have faced?
We have two programs so far. One is ‘Limited Edition’ which is a continuous life skill program for teenagers. It mainly seeks to equip young minds with knowledge of life, its challenges and how to overcome them by sticking to their principles. The program aims to reduce issues such as early pregnancies and unsafe sexual behaviour leading to school dropout as early as primary level. Being limited editions means that they are not easily swayed by things which will cost them their lives and not realize their dreams.
The second one is ‘Nifunze Nijitegemee’ (meaning “teach me so that I can be independent”) which is a continuous empowerment program that seeks to teach practical skills. We believe in not giving the fish but teaching the target beneficiaries how to fish by themselves. This is to enable them to shift their talents and skills gained into profits thereby making them sustainable.
Rolling out the programs at the beginning was a great challenge, as with any idea or innovation to be diffused both early adopters and laggards are present. Our target beneficiaries are diverse, have different mindsets, knowledge gap levels, lack of enough resources in terms of funds for facilitation and other logistics.
What kind of response are you getting from the vulnerable groups you are empowering?
From the activities conducted so far by GHV Initiative, we have received positive and overwhelming feedback. This has stimulated and motivated us to do more despite the challenges.
We are constantly receiving calls and messages from the previous schools, children centers and hospital visited encouraging us to do these activities more often.
How are you measuring the impact or effectiveness of GHV Initiative in your community?
We utilize the theory of change in executing and evaluating our programs’ effectiveness. We have set a number of indicators and respective tools to measure that.
For instance, in determining self-esteem among the teenagers we use the Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale which has ten brief questions that an individual is asked to respond to.
After each activity conducted we monitor and evaluate the success and gaps to measure the impact of our programs.Jackline Aseyo Kidaha is showing the world that something good can come out of the slum Click To Tweet
Besides education, how else are you empowering the people of Kangemi?
I personally make DIY things such as cards, hair accessories, bow ties, crocheted mats, scrapbooks and journals all with an African touch or theme.
Art is cool. I believe in touching one life at a time thus teaching those around me who are still figuring out the next step in life how to make the above stuff and getting small markets for them too. I do this during my free time just in the house.
Are there any GHV Initiative stories you really want to tell?
I have always believed in my life being someone else’s inspiration not to give up on themselves. I would really like to share my personal journey as a young lady with big dreams living and overcoming challenges in the slum until the birth of GHV Initiative.
Moreso demystifying negative perceptions and assure the world that something good can come out of the slum and there’s more rising girl power in transforming African continent.
Tell me about something you would happily do again
Serving humanity, saving the vulnerable and doing charity.
When I do these I feel more accomplished. I have or would not regret doing this for the rest of my life. I believe God gave me a beautiful mind to inspire others to dream bigger and be their own change agents.
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