FRANK THOYA; On Community Engagement

Kindly introduce yourself to us

I am Frank Masha Thoya, the founding member of an organization called Dream,  Act, Transform. A sociologist by profession and I am from Kilifi County.

Where did the motivation and passion to be a sociologist come from?

This came from a mentor by the name Prof.  Halimu Shauri of Pwani University. I met him in a youth conference and he really changed my thinking by how he was articulating community issues. He had a wide view of how a community should live.  This really drove me to love sociology.

How did your journey towards this organization begin and does it have any influence from you being a sociologist?

Well as the name suggests, at times we have dreams but the problem is we don’t believe in ourselves.  I have volunteered for a long time with different organizations which has given me a good understanding on how an organization can be managed and run. The experiences gained from volunteering made me believe I can manage one.

For a long time, Kilifi as a county, has been in a negative light in the media especially concerning the high teenage pregnancy rates. As a sociologist, what has contributed to this? What can be done to address this issue? Does the community have a role to play?

Teenage pregnancy is a social problem and requires a social approach and not Pythagoreas theorem.  This problem can be solved by the community itself.  One thing that has led to this problem is parental neglect. Parents must be responsible for their children. Cultural values of the land have been set aside. People must understand how our old generation used to live.  Where is the respect for the elders? So we need to go back to the drawing board and respect our values of the land.

Where do we go after university?  Most of us tend to run away from our communities, reason best known to ourselves. Where are the younger generation going to learn from? We need to go back to our community and give back. This will change a soul I believe. The communities have a big role to play. As stated earlier, this is a social problem and requires a social approach.  The community have the answers to this. The community can try to solve this by establishing community policies that govern themselves.

So what community issues do you address in your organization?

We address issues on Health, Education and Gender Based Violence.

People blame politicians for every social ill. Should all burden be placed on them?

I think blaming politicians will not help.  Politicians can be blamed for not legislating laws that can help in fighting this menace but we all have a responsibility to play.

So in your line of duty, do you face challenges? If yes, how do you overcome and what makes you stand strong in all odds?

Challenges are good in life, they strengthen and keep me going.  I am learning new things in challenges. I mind my business and focus on my core.

Apart from setting policies/laws, how else can the community solve their problems?

Let’s love each and be a brother’s keeper; share what we have with each other; this can be ideas, money, clothes and food.

What steps did you take in forming the organization considering the fact that it’s not that easy?

It is easy. Believe in yourself and you will succeed. Take the step and I will try to help you realize your dreams. I am always ready and available to network with people who feel they can make change

What is your parting shot?

Believe, Trust and always be a solution of a problem Dream, Act, Transform.

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