My personal journey of growth and development at Nuru Kenya
Foreword by Jimmy Leak, PhD: I first met George in June of 2012. He had just been promoted to Field Manager because he is smart and innovative, but he wasn’t managing anyone. Everyone could see his talent, but he was shy and a bit timid. In the years since, George has emerged as one of Nuru Kenya’s most respected leaders. George embodies the qualities of servant leadership and shows a relentless determination in helping others. In this piece, George describes his journey at Nuru, which has led to prestigious recognition and honors. While George’s pursuit of knowledge and skills have led to accolades, his humility continues to ground him and makes him a great role model for all Nuru Kenya staff. We are so proud of George and all that he has accomplished.
I have worked in Nuru for four years and within this time, I have gained skills and knowledge that I never previously had. In particular, before I joined Nuru, I never thought that managers and subordinates would comfortably work together in the field and share duties without regard for position or title. I came to realize that this was due to servant leadership attitudes and training. I also learned and experienced the importance of receiving and giving feedback as well as other management trainings that have helped me grow in Nuru.
Starting as an education coordinator
I started in Nuru in 2011 as an Education coordinator, facilitating lessons in Nuru’s outreach program. I was then promoted to the position of an Education field manager. In these positions, I gained skills in teaching literacy as well as pedagogical skills in the same. This really made me to have a different perspective on teaching children and how to make lessons more interesting, fun and learner centered. Moreover, the position of a field manager enabled me to gain skills in management delegation and mentoring of the field officers that I managed.
Promoted to training manager
In 2013, I was promoted to the position of training manager. Having worked in the Education Program for two years, this position helped me gain further skills in curriculum development for both children and adults. I worked with the Education Program staff to develop a literacy curriculum which covered four levels of early grades reading. Apart from that, we developed an education facilitator training series that helped the Education coordinators to learn literacy teaching skills such as phonics, phonemic awareness and comprehension.
Joining the Leadership Program team
In 2014, I was promoted to the position of senior training manager in the Leadership Program. This position helped me to gain a deeper understanding of what adult training is. Furthermore, I gained a deeper understanding of servant leadership, feedback, and project management and communication skills. Additionally, I have become more skilled in facilitation and curriculum development for a wide range of participants including lower level staff, adults, children and farmers.
Continuing my own professional development
Apart from the growth in skills, my being in Nuru has helped me gain various professional opportunities. One of such is a certificate program in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) which enabled me to further develop my curriculum development skills in literacy. I was also privileged to be sponsored in attending the Pan African Reading for All Conference which took place in Nairobi in 2013. The conference hosted over 500 literacy experts and delegates from all over Africa. This was a big learning opportunity for me and my colleagues. We learned and shared best practices in literacy from all over Africa, such as Reading to Learn by Agha Khan and literacy circles by International Mennonite Committee, among others.
Pursuing higher education
Similarly, my being a Nuru trainer and curriculum developer greatly contributed to my securing of a Commonwealth Scholarship to attend the University of London for a Master’s in International Development and Education. This scholarship program started in 2013 and ended in 2015 September. Since it was an online and face-to-face blended programme, I visited London for 3.5 months to do my face-to-face modules. This was indeed a great learning opportunity for me. I was able to gain more skills in research, academic writing as well as vast knowledge on curriculum development, facilitation, training and education as a whole. I interacted with a class with people from all over the world and I was able to get a diverse and open perspective to issues affecting various populations and community interventions that have helped create solutions. My classmates were very interested to know more about the holistic model of Nuru and the interventions that work towards ending extreme poverty.
Sharing servant leadership principles with others
More recently, I am among the 60 participants in East and Central Africa, who have been chosen to attend the Young African Leadership Centre in Nairobi for two weeks. This program is meant to increase the capacity of leaders and retool them in creating more impact in their organizations and the community at large. It is such a great opportunity and I am eagerly waiting to learn and share new leadership skills.
I believe that all this growth and achievements would have been almost impossible without my being in an organization like Nuru, which is not only creating positive changes in the community but also the staff.