Phillipah Nairiantoi- Tackling Mental Health Issues and FGM

Jun 3, 2024

Who is Phillipah? (personally and professionally)

I’m a passionate 25-year-old professional model, electrical engineer, and young mother based in Kajiado town. My modelling journey embodies the poised elegance of the runway. Beyond the glitz and glamour, my heart lies in serving my community and acting as a beacon of hope for young girls affected by mental health issues and FGM, and those in need of mentorship to move forward. Collaborating with Youth Voices Africa and Youth Alive Kenya has helped me envision a future where every girl is empowered to pursue her dreams.

Tell us about your organization.

Youth Voices Africa is a registered, female-led self-help group dedicated to youth and women empowerment, mental health, mentorship, and sexual reproductive health rights. Over the past year, we have reached out to both in-school and out-of-school young girls and boys, addressing topics such as menstrual hygiene, drug and substance abuse, and the Men 4 Periods movement. With the support and intervention of Youth Alive! Kenya, we successfully advocated to the county government on matters related to the Annual Development Plan (ADP), which was previously overlooked. Through Youth Alive! Kenya, I also learned about lobbying during a peer learning exchange in Kisumu, which we applied to address sand harvesting issues in Kajiado County. Additionally, I had the pleasure of participating in the The Challenge Initiative project, where we conducted comprehensive budget tracking and advocacy, significantly enhancing service delivery within the county. I have organized several webinars on mental health and suicide prevention, sharing my personal experiences with suicidal thoughts and poor mental health to encourage others, both in and out of school. These webinars were hosted on various platforms, including Women Volunteer for Peace and Youth Voices Africa’s Twitter account.


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

In my community, the main challenges I’ve faced are prejudgments and societal beliefs. As a Maasai woman, I am often expected to remain silent on important issues. Additionally, the lack of resources and proper support has made it even harder to enact change. Furthermore, there is a significant lack of proper knowledge on how to address certain issues effectively.

What are your proudest achievements as a young leader?

As a young leader, I have successfully assisted other young mothers in rebuilding their lives. We have engaged with both in-school and out-of-school young women to address issues related to hygiene and sexual health rights. I have also been instrumental in raising awareness about the importance of climate justice. Furthermore, I have participated in rescue operations for flood victims, a significant achievement in life-saving efforts.


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

Persistence, patience, and self-belief are key. It’s okay not to be okay; making mistakes is part of the learning process. Life is a rollercoaster with highs and lows, so try to enjoy the ride. I urge other young leaders to always believe in themselves, even against all odds. It’s okay to take a break, and remember that making mistakes is essential for learning and growth.

Parting shot?

Everything we do starts in the mind; our mindset determines how we move forward. When it comes to mental health and climate justice, having the right mindset is crucial. Additionally, support from other organizations, both educationally and financially, is essential for making a meaningful impact.

Any links to media appearances (if possible)

X: https://x.com/nairiantoi?t=jabrisUVpTuICuQ3Ahu3HA&s=09




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