SLS Student Ruth Ambogo features prominently for her leadership skills
At 22, Ruth Ambogo is heading a national organisation that equips young women and girls with necessary leadership skills and networks.
Young Kenyan Women Leaders (YKWL), which she co-founded in 2015, brings together hundreds of women across the country in various positions of leadership, or those who aspire to be leaders.
We have 1,700 young women across the country who are either currently in leadership in business, university politics and other social sets ups, says Ruth.
We also have women who are aspiring to be leaders in various fields. The youngest of our members is 16 years-old and the oldest is 39-years-old, she adds.
She was inducted in leadership when at the age of 21, she was appointed the Country Director of Young African Women in Leadership, a continental entity mentoring young women leaders.
However, after a short while, the board decided she was too young to lead an entity with much older members. Unbowed, Ruth teamed up with a few like-minded friends to form YKWL last year.
Among the roles the organisation plays is give motivational and mentorship talks in high schools, universities and other institutions of learning. So far, the organisation has held talks in more than 30 institutions where they have interacted with young women and men.
To join, you have to fill an online form that enquires about your area of interest, age and geographical location.
We have offices in five counties; Nairobi, Embu, Uasin Gishu and Kakamega and we intend to open five more offices by the end of the year, she explains.
DRIVE TO SUCCEED
Our core mission is to nurture a generation of women whom society can look upon as leaders. Women who will shine and provide leadership in whichever career path they chose to follow.
The first born in a family of three, Ruth was born and partly raised in Kibera and Western Kenya and later joined Loreto High School where her parents struggled to raise her school fees.
My grades in the first two years in high school were poor since I was in and out of school because of fees. I was determined to be a lawyer, and promised my principal to score A, which seemed improbable since I had dropped to become a D student.
The resolute young woman went on to score an A, earning a full scholarship at Strathmore University.
Growing up in a slum and rural setting and then joining a national school with students from all social classes had a profound impact on my general life outlook, says Ruth, whose role model is lawyer and politician Martha Karua. This, combined with my parents constant reminder that education was my only ticket to a new destiny, drives me hard both in and outside class.
She says YKWL helps its members by organising monthly round table discussion sessions and mentorship seminars where members help each other identify their purpose. The sessions are held every last Saturday of the month, where they invite a prominent woman as a guest speaker. Members are also informed of opportunities available for self advancement like scholarships.
Since the organisation is a non-profit entity, its activities are facilitated by volunteers and donations from able members.
Being a third year law student at Strathmore University means that Ruth has to intricately juggle between running the organisation and her studies as well as other women-oriented causes.
When I joined Strathmore University three years ago I promised myself to get the highest score, so I drive myself hard in my studies and so far I am happy with my performance.
The secret behind this is passion and a clear thought line of where I want to be in the near future.
Ruth, a former student representative at Strathmore Student Council, says her dream is to land a scholarship at Harvard Universitys Kennedy School of Government to study public policy and governance.
I am a beneficiary of the Elimisha Stratizen, a scheme in my university where students fundraise for their needy colleagues tuition fees, she explains and adds, My mission as a student leader was to ensure that this scheme helped as many students as possible achieve their academic dream.
Several times, she has been honoured to be in Strathmores Deans List, a prestigious recognition for outstanding students. She has also been invited as guest speaker at several national and regional gatherings on matters women, leadership and politics. During the Independence Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Stakeholders Forum she delivered a speech on the role of young women in the electoral process.
She also played a key role in the review of the Access to Information Bill that was sponsored in Parliament by Nyeri Woman Representative Priscilla Nyokabi.
Her passion to nurture young women in leadership saw her recently picked as the project director of an initiative known as Women Campaign School, an entity established by a group of non-governmental bodies designed to train young women on how to conduct political campaigns.
The main objective of Women Campaign School is to ensure women aspiring to vie for political positions in the next general elections are equipped with the necessary skills to effectively compete and win, says Ruth, who divulges that she has not ruled out politics in the near future.
We hope this will help increase the number of women in elective positions, who will in turn help push the women agenda.
This is definitely a young woman to watch.
Source: Daily Nation