Who is Faridah Ally?
My name is Faridah Ally, Co-Founder at Raise Officials Kenya, a youth organization currently based in Mombasa, dealing with community services. I am a self-motivated Kenyan girl passionate about community services, an inspirational speaker and creative writer.
What led to the birth of Raise Officials Kenya? How long have you been operating and what strides have you made so far?
Well, it all started back then in 2015 during the high school debates. Back then I had this idea in mind to change my community from all the ills existing. It was during the debates when I thought of sharing it and start a movement with these great minds.
Through the 3 years of operation, I have seen a great improvement on girl child education. My area was well known for high rates of school drop-outs especially the girls. This has changed a lot. Comparing the percentage of those in school and those at home presently, its a considerable progress.
What about the debates triggered this?
What made me use that platform was the reasoning of the debators right from day one and the fact that many came from my area. Thus, I knew that I was with the right people to unite and work with.
How has the journey been so far?
Not as easy as I earlier thought, in the 3 years experience, community work really needs total commitment.
What exactly does your organisation do to create such a positive impact?
We have community barazas where we involve all the stakeholders with whom we share ideas on the causes of the school drop out issue in the area. We also get possible solutions to the causes, from them. From there we give what we can and seek help from other organisations.
We also have mentorship programs with the students, book drives where we donate books to needy schools and usually use the academic clinic day to get both the parents and students since it is not easy to get parents to school for a meeting.
Are the barazas attended? How do you encourage participation?
Let me say I thank God for the progress. In my first meeting I expected 50 people only to have 9 members, so we moved to a strategy of giving allowances after the meeting. This has motivated them and the turn out it commendable.
Does your organisation work with other organisations in the community?
Yes. All are welcomed we have our partnership conditions and from there we are good to go, change our society.
Is your organisation all run by volunteers? Who funds your activities?
Currently, we have 15 active volunteers. We don’t have donors, what we do is proposals and submit them to individuals or organisations that deal with what we do and from there we create a win-win situation, they will feel part of the whole thing since it caters for what they do too.
Is your main theme only school drop out issue among girls? Do you tackle other issues in the community as well?
We tackle many issues in the community, but currentlyare mainly focused on education.
What’s your strategic plan of your organisation for the next 5 years ?
We have plans for funding and training women in starting business , vocational training central for our youths and a long her strategy is building a youth hub in kisauni constituency.
Do you have a mentor? Or, does your organisation have a mentor or patron?
Personally, I have mentors personally and so does my organisation. But to keep moving, it is simple, what do you want? Are you focused towards achieving it? I believe if you have a good answer for this whether you have a mentor or not you will just drive yourself.
Have you ever felt like just throwing in the towel?
Yes,I gave up at first when I lost all the members I had and only remained with one member. This hit me so hard and I left Kenya for 5 good months.
How did you pick yourself up again?
I took a break in Tanzania, where my cousin connected me with organisations that do community services and there I was able to volunteer. The spirit came to me asking why don’t I go back to my community and do exactly what I am doing to this community. This drove me back and the assurance that I had people who will support me.
What is the biggest achievement has your organisation had that you look back and feel proud of?
On the education sector which is one of our pillars, we have managed to get girls specifically to schools where I personally help the parents in raising the fee through different means. To me, this is a considerable achievement.