I first heard about the Kectil program last year November. Kectil is a leadership program for youths in developing countries founded by Sherry M. Knowles.
My Friend Buya called me and told me there was this program that she and Guguni were part of and she thought I should apply. She further explained it was a very good program, that was going to hone our leadership skills and build us as leaders.
Of course it sounded a very big deal to me. But there was a challenge. At that time I was just a month from battling depression and I did not want to try everything, and I mean anything that could trigger stress . I was very afraid (I still fight that fear up today) of applying for programs because If I value them and don’t get picked it normally affects me so much. I think it’s a challenge for everyone, especially those who have had challenges with self esteem or there are some incidents in their lives that left them a little afraid of life, and afraid of any situation that makes them question their self worth. It’s a step a time.
For like a week, I kept telling her I was afraid they may not pick me and she kept on encouraging me to try. She kept on repeating her favourite phrases in times of doubt ‘ Just try it Brightstar, what’s the worse that can happen? She even gave me a deal, that I answer all the questions, then I send them to her for editing, especially those I wasn’t sure of. And it was on that day, that I learnt much about interviews from her.
Then the longest part was the anxiety that comes with expectations and hope of waiting. Then one evening I received a congratulatory message. I was the happiest person on earth. At least, someone somewhere thought I was good enough to be part of a big program. (For those who have been depressed you can attest what that means. )
I was supposed to recommend one leader and I recommended my then crush who had become (still is so I hope he doesn’t read this😁) a close friend because he is a leader in his own capacity. Oh well, of course I send the link to all my friends who I knew had interest in leadership, but for him I followed through and even wrote a recommendation letter. I hope he didn’t see through it though, that yes he is a leader, but I felt the program would be the best to mould him to realise his full potential and being a world class leader. Just in case. Hahaa. It’s always good to look years ahead you know. Anyway whether he followed through it or not is a story for another day. I wish I could just tell the story😀
10 months later I look back and thank God because joining Kectil was and is one of the best decisions I have and will ever make in life. Yes I have been in many leadership programs, but with Kectil, it is more than just a program. It has become part of me. It has build me, walked with me and encouraged me.
There are several lessons that Kectil has taught me as a leader:
First is the Kectil Ten Points of leadership
6. Equality and Respect
As a leader, I have been able to practically understand those ten leadership points and how important they are in our day to day life.
For example I never took the issue of measurable accomplishments seriously like I have learnt to in Kectil. Every month, Kectil gives an assignment to research about. The assignment has to be submitted by a particular date. The last time I received an assignment and somebody followed about it was in high school. Now ,given that I was in my final year in school and I had many things running for leadership and class work, I found myself having to plan myself well, because the assignments for Kectil are not just comprised of questions you can do in few hours . They are thought provoking questions, that require you to think critically, research widely and understand about the given topic and questions. I had to plan my time well and be on time because Kectil is strict with deadlines and they insist ‘Leaders meet their deadlines.’
I also remember prior to that I did not know the definitions of some of those points and the first time I did my assignment on a leader who has demonstrated those achievement with example of how in each I had to redo it again after reading the email that was meant to guide. I also learnt to be keen with details and not just do work for the sake of doing it like I would. The assignments instilled in me personal discipline too. I have also understood in depth some of the challenges facing my county and developing countries at large such as Unemployment, Environmental degradation, Corruption, Poverty among others and understood the best solutions to those challenges. I believe as a a leader the most important part is being aware what you are facing.
Every month, Kectil sends articles to all of us about Leaders who did or are doing amazing things in their country, about women who were firsts in various fields and defied all odds, about leaders who did great contributions but were never acknowledged. All these have shaped my view on life, and opened my eyes wide too.
One of my favourite articles from Kectil is Male as promise keepers.
It is a very insightful article on how we should shift our conversations from just holding females responsible to having and teaching men to be responsible and be promise keepers and their sisters keepers too. As a boy child enthusiast, and as a young leader who understands the importance of mentoring both young boys and girls, I felt so happy because someone who can reach out to a wider audience than I can is speaking up despite the sensitive issue it is.
Kectil has provided me with a network of friends and mentors from all over the world. It is like a big family, where you can reach out to anyone as long as you are respectful. This is incredible because it is easier for me to understand other cultures from the comfort of my room, I just need to reach out to someone and start a conversation.
It was in one of those days that I was presenting my passion for children when Guguni told me told me ‘Have you talked to Sherry? I think you two would do great together because she too is very passionate about males as promise keepers. I think she can be of help, kindly send her an email, and he gave me her mail and see how you can work together.’ Long story …
On 13th and 14th August, Kectil had a conference in Kenya, at Strathmore university. I was excited, because the Founder Sherry Knowles was going to be present. We had never met or had a conversation before, but I so much wanted to see her.
On Monday 13th, when I walked inside the auditorium the meeting had already started and she was there, beautifully dressed in a blue dress and high heels. I actually thought she was the daughter to Sherry because one she looks so young and two I did not expect her to be leading the conference herself, what level of humility!
They were two beautiful days full of lessons, laughter, of photo sessions, of team work and of love and unity. Sherry redefined strength for me. She has achieved so much in her law career and is doing amazing things for the young people. Yet so down to earth. I want to be that woman.
The speakers were amazing.
Dr. Snowy Khoza who is a seasoned executive and acknowledged development activist and strategist with remarkable business acumen is a woman of substance, she taught us a lot us about work and ethics. I would recommend any young person to have her as a role model, I only heard her speak once but I can attest she is simply phenomenal.
Martin Luther King 111 is just like His father, eloquent, passionate, God fearing and down to earth. He answered every person questions in depth, and he was laughing out with all of us. His big name did not make him feel superior. And I got a chance to engage him. I asked him about children program and whether he had one I’m Africa that I could join and if not whether he could part of my mine. Of course it was a light moment, and everyone laughed so I expected him to dismiss it which he never did. He instead told me ‘when we were young we had mentoring programmes, which would teach girls to be girls, and boys to be men. I do not have such a program in Africa, but if you have one or you are planning to have one, I would be glad to go through it and see how I can be part of it and help you better it’ Wow. What a moment. I hope to one day and interact with him and tell him I asked him that question because I feel he can do so much for young kids given he was only 11 years old when his father got assassinated. I feel just like me he understands the pain of growing up without a parent.
And then there was Dr. Mclean Sibanda. (You will want to google him, he is inspiring and the very very humble you can overlook him in a meeting. Hehee) In our first interaction I actually thought he was a colleague before he introduced himself. He then he told me I will be a president, and he was so kind and help me to serve them would often tell me ‘You know I have to take care of the future president. ‘ That was so humbling. He even came and told me ‘There is a friend of mine I want you to meet. I feel your roads were meant to cross. ‘ And took me to a very amazing lady who we had a lifetime conversation.’ Up-to today he reminder me often that I will be a president. Well, I have never dreamt of that myself, but who knows God speaks through Angels like him.
There were other amazing speakers from different country’s too.
I made an amazing friend too. Her name is Terry.
I can write and write about Kectil because it is something I am really passionate about. For more information read here
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I encourage every young passion who is passionate about personal development and transformative leadership to apply by November 15th 2018. (https://kectil.com/) If they need help they can reach out to me. I can guarantee them that it is the best chance that someone can present to them. It will not only mould them to be self disciplined, give them amazing friends, expand their mind, teach them how to transform themselves and to transform lives, give them a big family but it will renew their mind and push them out of their comfort zone and grant them a transforming life experience. It will not only equip with mentorship, networking platform, knowledge, skills, international world view but will give them a family to love them unconditionally.