In a period marked by Kenya’s complex struggles, the narrative of Adora Kavengi Kioli, my 9‑year-old niece who recently assumed the role of president at Briar Rose Junior School, stands as a beacon of personal achievement and a metaphor for the nation’s resilience and progressive mindset. Her campaign, motivated by a commitment to diminish noise at the school’s gathering area, eliminate any form of bullying in the school and to enhance greenery and environmental preservation, underscores her commitment to nurturing a positive and enduring impact on her school’s atmosphere. This milestone which brings out three issues for me, arrives at a pivotal moment, aligning with the nation’s need for fresh, steadfast solutions amidst economic, political, and environmental challenges.
Firstly, facing economic instability demands innovative governance. How so? Consider Kenya’s situation, with a predicted 5% GDP growth in 2023 amidst global and domestic challenges, including a youth unemployment rate over 20%. Adora’s campaign for school presidency perfectly illustrates this. Despite being in grade five and initially being told the position was reserved for older students in the upper classes, meaning class seven and eight, she creatively overcame this barrier by partnering with a class seven student Trevor Taya Aliet. However, it wasn’t a straightforward journey because her first choice was rejected due to gender similarity, her second choice left her for another candidate, and her third choice was banned by parental decision. Adora’s determination and ability to navigate these setbacks reflect the innovative leadership needed to address Kenya’s economic challenges.
Secondly, amidst political unrest, the integrity of Kenya’s governance at all levels stands as a crucial pillar for national stability. The 2022 Global Peace Index, which positions Kenya at a moderate level of peacefulness, highlights ongoing political tensions that pose risks to development. This scenery frames the significance of the fair election process at Adora’s school which was surprisingly managed by IEBC officials and accepted by all four presidential candidates. This exemplifies a miniature of the transparent and equitable governance needed on a national scale. Adora and her running mate Trevor was fully prepared for either outcome of the election, with speeches ready to unite or graciously concede, underscores a commitment to unity and the collective well-being. Her successful campaign, marked by overcoming barriers and emphasizing inclusivity, serves as a model for the transparency and fairness crucial in mitigating Kenya’s current political tensions and fostering progress.
Thirdly, Kenya finds itself at the forefront of the climate crisis, a situation underscored by the United Nations Environment Programme, which points out the country’s susceptibility to climate change effects like droughts and flooding. The urgency of Adora’s environmental campaign is echoed by warnings from the Kenya Meteorological Department about increasing variability in weather patterns, impacting agriculture, water resources, and exacerbating the high cost of living. Her efforts to advocate for tree growing and environmental conservation at her school highlight the proactive approach necessary to mitigate environmental degradation and climate change in Kenya. As I have repeatedly emphasized, uniting our efforts can unlock extensive global resources to support our initiatives and significantly improve the livelihoods of our people.
Certainly, Adora and Trevor’s election to the presidency is a testament to youthful determination and innovation, mirroring Kenya’s challenges with Economic Instability, Political Tensions and Governance, and Environmental Concerns and Climate Change. Their campaign against any form of bullying, environmental advocacy, and adept handling of school politics showcases the leadership and dedication needed to tackle national issues. As I hold their certificate from the school and the IEBC, it represents more than a paper, it’s a validation of their roles and a nod to participation and democracy. As we anticipate their inauguration, it’s a moment to reflect on Jesus’ words, “Let the children come to me, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” This biblical invocation reminds us of the purity, potential, and promise our youth hold for leading Kenya towards a brighter, sustainable, and thriving future. Aisee, Tuwache ujanja! Think green, act green!