Moses Waweru– Creating an inclusive environment for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)

Feb 29, 2024

Who is Moses? (personally and professionally)

I am Moses Waweru, a person with a disability from Kenya, serving as the treasurer of Youth Alive! Kenya’s Kiambu working group. Alongside my role, I am a Cisco Certified Network Engineer, a PWD Lead/Champion at YALI (Young Africa Leadership Institute), and an entrepreneur, founder of Top Ride Tours. I am also an internet governance ambassador, a music artist, and a social gender officer, with a certificate in Data Science & Analytics. Currently, I lead disability mainstreaming campaigns, facilitating programs in both public and private sectors to ensure government institutions embrace Universal Design and Reasonable Accommodation principles, creating an inclusive environment for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). I conduct training sessions to increase awareness of PWDs’ rights, institutionalize Disability Mainstreaming, and advocate for job opportunities reservation for PWDs, aiming for a 5% target.

Tell us about your organization.

YALI (Young Africa Leadership Initiative) is dedicated to molding future leaders and championing the rights of persons with disabilities. As part of my role, I establish and oversee a Disability Mainstreaming Committee, ensuring 30% representation of PWDs. My responsibilities include formulating comprehensive action plans aimed at empowering individuals with disabilities and providing necessary training to our staff. I’m deeply committed to enhancing accessibility, implementing measures such as sign language training, Braille materials, and physical accommodations like ramps and accessible toilets. Moreover, I actively work towards achieving the 5% target for PWD inclusion in recruitment and promotion processes, ensuring fairness and equality throughout.

                        

What challenges have you faced in this work as a young leader?

My two primary challenges included feeling inadequate and leading a team composed of individuals older than myself. Often, leadership opportunities arise when others recognize leadership qualities within us, even if we haven’t fully acknowledged them ourselves. It’s common not to be the most experienced person on the team, but a key aspect of effective leadership is continuous growth. If we believe we’ve reached our peak, we may have inadvertently diminished our leadership influence. Leading a team of individuals older than oneself can be intimidating. It’s important not to assume superiority but rather to seek their guidance and leverage their expertise. Respect for their knowledge and contributions is crucial, and patience is essential when introducing change initiatives.

What are your proudest achievements as a young leader?

In the last four years, I’ve proudly served as an active member of our local youth group, a vibrant organization uniting young people from all walks of life to support our community. Our journey began tragically, with the passing of a vocal youth in our midst, prompting us to rally together to raise funds for funeral expenses. Surprisingly, our collective effort exceeded expectations, inspiring us to formalize our collaboration into an association aimed at aiding not just in times of crisis but in ongoing community projects. As the elected project coordinator for four consecutive terms, I spearheaded numerous initiatives aimed at improving our community’s welfare. From livestock feed distribution and bridge construction to tree nurseries and counselling sessions on AIDS and substance abuse, our projects touched various aspects of community life. Crucially, our efforts didn’t just bring tangible benefits; they also reshaped perceptions. We transitioned from being viewed as a mere nuisance to becoming integral parts of community development.

Through counselling sessions, we’ve witnessed remarkable transformations as some of our peers abandoned harmful habits and embraced more positive lifestyles. Moreover, our endeavors fostered stronger intergenerational bonds within our community, bridging gaps between youth and elders. Today, we not only see our parents as guardians but also as confidants with whom we share our deepest fears and aspirations. Reflecting on these four years fills me with immense pride, knowing that our collective efforts have made a tangible difference in the lives of our neighbors. It’s a testament to the power of unity and community spirit, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community that nurtured me.

What has it taken to achieve your success? What advice would you give to other young leaders trying to build organizations?

Achieving success has required unwavering dedication, resilience, and passion. It has also demanded a deep belief in myself and the power of collaboration.

 

 

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