Introducing Leadership District Manager Jane Omanga
Jane Omanga is the newly hired District Manager for the Leadership Program. She has extensive experience in project management, counseling, and social work. She is originally from Kisumu and is married with three children. She is happy to join us in the fight of eliminating extreme poverty in rural Kenya. Below, find some of her initial thoughts about Nuru and the Leadership Program.
AT THE BACK OF MY MIND
Normally if a thought that worries you is at the back of your mind, it is always there although you may not spend all your time thinking about it. At the back of my mind I have always questioned the reason for the wide gap between the rich and the poor and what my role would be in bridging that gap. I have worked in various organizations, both local and international, but in those organizations leadership was just a component in day to day management. When I began to get to know Nuru, the word “leadership” also began growing at the back of my mind and I began to further understand what my role would be in helping to bridge the gap between rich and poor.
When I got to Nuru, this big phrase, “ending extreme poverty’’ meant a lot to me and I started reflecting on my life and related it to who I am and the value I would add in Nuru towards this mission. I remember when my Grandmother would ensure that I go to school so that I could gain more knowledge. She always made sure that at all costs I would be there, and that nothing would stand in my way of working towards an education. At the back of my mind I thought, “so my Grandmother valued education even in the state of poverty she lived in,” and I realized that was her way of equipping me with the knowledge I needed to be able to get out of poverty. At Nuru, this is the role of Leadership, to equip staff with the knowledge and skills to help them run their programs effectively, and so work towards ending extreme poverty.
I began working with this program only three weeks ago but through intense introduction I have learned a lot. During this time, what has amused me so much is the servant leadership approach that Nuru takes. I have realized that this concept is missing in many organizations. Mostly leaders are used to having their offices well cleaned and arranged, served meals first among others contrary to the servant leadership approach. I have learned that this is the best approach to be a servant leader, which in my view is more of a mentorship, being a role model and doing for others to see and practice.
The aspect of sustainability is another interesting area which I have desired to work on and see a sustainable community initiated program. What Nuru is working towards is in line with this very thing. Many programs are donor-driven hence are challenged on sustainability issues after donors pull out. All programs at Nuru are geared towards sustainability but it is the Leadership Program that drives the importance of sustainability through staff management. The role of the Leadership Program is to train the staff with the goal of building their capacity to perform and be competent and productive in their respective program areas.
The Nuru Leadership Program is a rare strategy used in organizations as a way to ensure management sustainability, but it is one that is very important. So as I think back on that original question that is at the back of my mind, I have realized that working as part of the Leadership Program is my role to answer that question.