CYRIL PETER

CYRIL PETER OTIENO; CHAMPIONING FOR EDUCATION

Feature

Kindly introduce yourself to us.
I am Cyril Peter, a social activist in the field of Education, Governance and Youth empowerment. Currently, I serve as the Director of YAUDI.

What does YAUDI stand for and what activities does it engage in?
YAUDI stands for You and Us Development Initiative and it mostly focuses on education, policy advocacy, governance and the youth. It has been in existence since 2014. The key ideology is focused on the things that will bring prosperity and social equality in Africa which we believe is by investing in the marginalised communities and groups.

Which kind of youth do you reaching out to empower?
We do mentorship for adolescents because this is the most critical stage of human development. Also, we engage with different schools on matters to do with lifeskills. Secondly, we deal with youth leadership through a program that looks into creating or developing youth leaders at the grassroot level. Finally, we do skill and job placement through our capacity inventory desk, which is under our program called YOUTH EMPLOYABILITY HUB.

Geographically, where do you work?
Nairobi County, Ruaraka constituency, Luckysummer ward.

How do you intend to invest in the marginalized so that they can take charge and control their own lives?
We are keenly looking at 3 key issues that is;
1. Economic whereby we try to create economic opportunities.
2. Governance, whereby they are involved in equal representation and;
3. Education which is another key approach since it cures multi needs in the community.

Do you self-fund or have an angel investor for your organisation?
Our real investors are everyone in the community which include the people, religious organizations, Other NGOs, County and National government. Through this, we are able to sustain ourselves.

How do you get the access to the youth? Where do you get them? How do you interest them in your projects?
First, we use social media since majority of young people are on internet. Secondly, through partnerships, we are able to get more youths on board as we expand on our image as well and programs.

How can one be part of the program?
We have volunteer opportunities twice in a year and these opportunities are always advertised periodically at the start of the each year and after the month of July.

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The smallest library in Africa, an initiative run under YAUDI

How do you intend to change youth perceptions in terms of education so that they can know how to fish and go beyond fishing?
First for us to have a prosperous Africa we need equal opportunities and education gives us that bridge. So through Nipeleke Shule Initiative, we ensure that those children from disadvantaged families do access education from primary, secondary to tertiary.

Secondly , it is about looking at different ways on how you can create opportunities for both the skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled because what I believe is that we have a lot of opportunities out there which young people lack information on their existence. So, if we identify such opportunities through job placement and training like “youth employability hub” does, the better fishers they become.

What challenges do you face?
One of the most pressing challenge is resources but when you have the right people with the right attitude, creativity becomes the driving force.

How have you managed to deal with the issues of culture in terms of leadership for example in the society that looks down upon women on matters of leadership?
Lack of women in leadership comes down to the old narrative that we had inherited from our folks or forefathers. We are trying to counter this in 3 ways. One is emphasizing on the advantages of girls having equal opportunities with boys especially on access to education.

Secondly, through Aspire Youth Leadership Program we ensure that young women are trained just like male youths on leadership and finally is creating that space for women to thrive.

What motivates you to wake up daily?
Seeing a better empowered and more prosperous Africa where everyone has equal opportunities.

How do you apply technology in advocacy if there is any application of technology which is it?

We use social media where majority of youths invest their time.

If maybe you are given a chance to change one thing in the current education system, what will you propose to be changed for the better future?
An education system that is value based, where you don’t read to be a lawyer or a doctor alone but you read to become an honest lawyer, a diligent doctor and a leader who believes in equality.

How has YAUDI navigated these political minefields that face you so far? 
We have looked at why is it that young people in every elections are used as a tool to cause violence? Then we realised it is lack of employment. What we decided is coming up with a youth peace tournament that is sustainable in a way that the winning team becomes the peace brand ambassadors for six months. They are trained on entrepreneurship for one day and are given both M-pesa shop and Dstv to start their own businesses.

Unemployment among the youths in Kenya has now turned from a problem to a hot crisis, how have you manage to advocate for this? Or what is your take?
Its a big issue but our local mechanism is based on 3 things, jobs, trainings and passion. What we do we have a capacity inventory desk which looks at your passion, your education level and we are able to either link you to trainings or jobs that are based on your skills and passion.

Do you follow up them to establish how they are doing ?
This program is still on development stage but our real stake is to do follow up so that we can evaluate its outcome.

Do you carry out needs assessment before doing this?
Sure, needs assessment is key, we also do our own research just to have a clear picture.

What does YAUDI do to improve education standards?
One of our key objective in education is policy advocacy which is linked to Sdg 4. Currently, we are doing county education budget follow up at the ward and constituency level where we emphasize on establishment of E.C.D centers and renovation of public schools through the CDF.

Africa still lags behind on digital literacy. What can be done to ensure Africa becomes digital?
I think it as to do with having our priorities right in the field of education . we cannot thing of laptops while other kids are learning under a tree somewhere. My take is ensure that every private school becomes public so that every child goes through the same experience and through this then sanitizing our education system will be for all of us.

Governance is a really big problem with regards to corruption. How do you intend to champion and challenge this?
The key is accountability through strengthening public participation.

Where do you see this program in few years to come?
For me, I see this program based on the aspirations of the youths, their dreams and potential. Meaning I see this program changing the narrative of youths in my community for the better.

Many youths have big dreams, but are still in their comfort zones, your advice to them?
The real and better you awaits out of your comfort zone, and by moving out of that zone you give yourself the real opportunity to grow and become an inspiration to others. Sure and one of the things we need to do as youths, which those who have been before us didn’t, is to believe in the power of synergy. We need to work together because together we can do much more.

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