February 28, 2017

Of Devotion, and Wisdom of the Rotaract Heart.

Most of us grew on a recipe of trial-and-error. The few fortunate had informed parents/guardians or older siblings who had gone before them in the baptism of fire and brimstone to alert them of the paths to take in life. Work hard, go to the best high school, then work a tad harder, go to university, be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc. and after, have that blue-collar job, pay bills, help at home and be a valuable citizen. What they don’t tell you is ‘welcome to the proverbial rat-race’.

This is the decade’s long norm that we at The Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central (RCNC) seek to counter since when we first held the first Interact Careers Day, 4 years ago. We want students to make educated and informed career choices and to have friends and professionals guide them through it.

We knew why we were doing it. The How was the tricky part. How do we create an effective yet fun learning environment for the Interactors? How do we ensure that it is about high school kids and not Rotaractors or Rotarians alone? In 2017, the RCNC Professional Development committee leadership had to solve this.

With our work cut out for us, we came up with a theme- Awakening My Potential, after zeroing in on a date, 11th February 2017and a venue at the USIU-Africa auditorium.

Interactors on site…

Months’ worth of homework analyzing previous reports, soliciting feedback from schools that attended the previous events and negotiating partnerships was done. Deliberate 100% focus and all hands on deck by the professional development committee. It helped that during the year, we had already cultivated a strong relationship with our partner rotary club, the Rotary Club of Nairobi Central (RCN) via the RCN-RCNC Mentorship Program.

Through deliberations from both our Professional Development & Leadership committee and the Youth Service Committees at RCN, we made headlong. No resource (time, finances, and human capital) was withheld. Rotaractors tirelessly fought tooth and nail to make sure this was a success despite some hurdles.

The goal was to design a careers day that benefited both interactors and non-interactors alike, in high school. We made invitations to schools all around the country from Nairobi region to the coastal, eastern and western parts of Kenya. Guided by the year’s theme, guest speakers were chosen based on topical purpose, their ability to effectively communicate to the teenage audience and their respect for time.

We had exactly 8 hours and a lean budget of Ksh. 50,000 to tackle 4 topics, have fun activities, a career clinic, lunch, pop-quizzes and at the end of the day, share some cake to crown the day. A lean, dedicated and very thorough task force was terribly necessary.

Guest speakers and facilitators for the day were as follows:

  1. Margaret Ndei (Rotaract Club of Karura)- Human Resource official with Jubilee Kenya
  2. Miss Kanze Dena-7:00PM Citizen Swahili News anchor handling Developing Talent into Careers.
  3. Country (Kenya) Interact Chair – Rtn. Gideon Akwabi (RCN) handling Interact Participation in Kenya.
  4. The USIU-Africa Careers Office who handled the career options available at the university.
  5. D9212 Interact Chair and the founder and The DEPOT Group Rtn. Mike Eldon who handled Personal Development.
  6. C, Martin Chege, Photographer, Dan Ngugi and time keeper Rtr. Japheth Agwanda (RCNC)
  7. Careers Clinic exhibition facilitators- Rotaractors and guests from Rotaract Clubs of Nairobi Central, Kampala Ssese, USIU-Africa.
  8. The Nairobi Challenge Seekers (RCNC Rotaractors)-Ice Breaker activities and games facilitators.
  9. Registration desk, refreshments, lunch, gift hampers, cake coordinators- formed committee task force (RCNC).

We had over 400 students drawn from 13 schools around Nairobi and guests seated in the auditorium as from 9:00AM, actively taking part in the day’s activities. By 4:00PM every activity had been successfully implemented, a review of the day done by way of feedback forms filled by the students and their teachers and everyone had had a slice of the 5Kg, 5th Annual RCNC Interact Careers Day cake.

Schools that did not make it due to logistics challenges owing to distance and accommodation challenges include schools from Western, Eastern and Coastal regions. However, with ample planning time, they gave word to be available for the next Careers day. To date, some shown interest in having similar engagements done in their regions and requested to have the same guest speakers as well.

The other challenge experienced was limited finances to cover most of the idealized items, however with the allocation raised by our Rotary Partner, the event faired successfully. Lastly, we realized reaching out to high schools individually was not as effective. The solution which was to tap into rotary clubs in good time to engage their interact clubs worked perfectly. Goodwill and experience gained by part of the task force during the 1st Annual Interact Country (Kenya) Leaders Training Conference (November 2016) paid back as most schools represented took up the invitations.

From the RCNC Professional Development and Leadership Director, Rtr.Olivia Ngugi and Co-director in charge of Interact Rtr. Albashir Ahmed, we extend our gratitude to:

  1. The President and members of the Rotary Club of Nairobi
  2. The President and members of the Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central
  3. The President and members of the Rotaract Club of Kampala, Ssese
  4. The President and members of the Rotaract Club of USIU-Africa
  5. The management of USIU-Africa
  6. The Nairobi Challenge Seekers
  7. The M.C and Photographer for the day.

Indeed we met our goal of awakening the students’ potential, and we look forward to a repeat of the success in 2018 for the next edition of the annual Interact Careers Day.

By Rtr. Olivia Ngugi,
Professional and Leadership Development Director 2016-17
The Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central.

Leave a comment