Person of The Month: Edwin Michieka Ogendi

Jan 31, 2024

Who is Edwin? (personally and professionally)

I am Edwin Michieka, a youth leader, trauma-informed practitioner, and social media strategist from Nairobi County. I hold a degree in Environmental Health. I am the founder of Diplomats For Health In Resilient Community (DFH-RC), an organization dedicated to promoting the mental well-being of young people, women, refugees, and the most vulnerable populations in my community. Additionally, I serve on the Kamukunji Youth Advisory Committee, where I advocate for the rights and welfare of women and marginalized people by holding our leaders accountable for community development plans. A platform provided by Youth Alive Kenya.

Tell us about your organization.

DFH-RC is a community-based organization that provides safe and supportive spaces for healing and support to vulnerable groups in Kamukunji sub-county. We operate four programs:

Mental Health and Trauma Healing: We offer a space for young people to enhance their mental health literacy and provide sessions for healing through trauma healing sessions.

Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR): Our focus is on improving access to and uptake of sexual reproductive health services for young people. We address issues such as teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence in our community.

Peace Building and Climate Change: We promote peaceful coexistence through community dialogues and building resilience to address climate change, allowing the community to flourish.

Education and Early Childhood Development: We advocate for positive psychosocial environments in schools by promoting education and development through creative arts such as dance, music, yoga, storytelling, theatre, and soccer. Through these programs, we utilize creative arts to create positive and resilient spaces for learning, healing, and transformation.

Since 2019, we have made significant strides, including improving the mental health literacy of over 5,000 people, empowering young individuals to become change agents, enhancing learning outcomes in schools, and advocating for better public services and disaster response in our community. 

                        

 

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

As a community development leader, one of the primary obstacles I’ve encountered is the ongoing challenge of securing sufficient funding to sustain and expand the impactful initiatives I spearhead.

What are your proudest achievements as a young leader?

As a community leader, I have spearheaded numerous initiatives aimed at enhancing the well-being of those in my vicinity. Some of my notable accomplishments include establishing a sanctuary for youth to heal from trauma and access counselling services, mentoring aspiring individuals to attain their personal and career aspirations, delivering leadership and capacity-building workshops to various organizations, extending support to refugees within my community through the provision of secure spaces for healing, resources, and advocacy, and advocating for the rights of women and marginalized communities by ensuring accountability among leaders in delivering public services as mandated by the constitution.

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

Success is not a one-size-fits-all concept. For me, success means making a positive difference in the lives of others through my work. To achieve this, you need to be self-aware, purpose-driven, and aligned with the vision of the organization. You also need to cultivate patience, perseverance, determination, and resilience, as these are the values that fuel me to overcome challenges and pursue excellence.

Parting shot?

Being a change agent is not something that happens overnight. It requires self-awareness and purpose, as well as dedication and courage. You have the potential to be one, if you choose to. That’s what I want you to take away from this.

Please follow Edwin Michieka’s work on:

Facebook: Michieka Edwin 

X: @DFHRC

Instagram: dfh.rc

LinkedIn: Diplomats For Health in Resilient Community

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