Meet Kenneth Ochieng Wanga, aka “the Governor”
Kenneth Ochieng Wanga is a 21 year old ‘Change-minded’ youth, hailing from Kisumu via Nairobi. He has been nicknamed ‘The Governor’ by the Eldoret Team due to his knowledge and passion for Kenyan politics and his desire to represent and help the countries’ young people.
When did you start Volunteering?
I think that deep down I have been a volunteer since the moment I was born! However, for many, many years I never did anything about it, not until I was 18 really. It was a hungry time for me; I only realised when I needed help myself that giving to the community without expecting return or payment is the way to live.
What youth volunteer programmes have you been on before?
Action AID was my first project when I was 18; I volunteered as a social media officer for the programme. My job was to mobilise youths using Twitter and Facebook to come and take their part in the poverty-ending work of Action Aid. Social Media can be hugely empowering!
Next I worked with Youth on the Move – who’s aim is to empower talented youth who suffer from epilepsy. I worked here for all of 2014, going into various different communities and helping people to understand the disease.
Finally, just before coming to Balloon I worked with VSO from September to December 2014, on a tree-planting project called ‘Tree per Child’. We were working with schools to get each child to plant their own tree, in order to create forest coverage near Kilimanjaro.
I was then delighted to be accepted onto Balloon ICSe.
How have you found working with the entrepreneurs on Balloon ICSe?
I really feel like my mind has been instilled with the Kenyan entrepreneurial spirit and the skills necessary to make ideas a reality. Engaging with the Balloon curriculum has widened my understanding of how to approach business, and has given me some knowledge of how to think innovatively and creatively.
The main thing it has taught me is that business covers all manner of things that are relevant to me! Whereas before the word ‘business’ may have put me off. For example, using social media for marketing is part of business; I can use these skills to spread the word about the ‘Wanga’’ brand! One day I know I can be be known worldwide!
How else has Balloon ICSe helped you to develop?
The most amazing part has been working with the UK Volunteers. It has widened my understanding that we are all human beings, and wherever we are from we share more similarities than differences. The team has worked so cohesively together, you would think we had all known each other forever.
The hardest part has been understanding people’s accents…we have one guy from somewhere called Yorkshire? Anyway it’s pretty tricky! Sometimes I feel a bit behind on the conversation and have to try to catch up, but it’s getting easier!
What advice would you give to Kenyan youth who are thinking about volunteering?
I never thought I would want to be a volunteer, it can be hard to understand why you should work without being paid. But my mind was changed when I realised that if each person decided to take action, things could gradually change for the better. That is the best reward. We, the youth, need to take initiative, rather than wait for people to make changes for us.
What do you hope to do after ICSe?
I’d like to find an NGO to work for after ICSe, to carry on my mission of youth empowerment. Also, I shall be carrying out community sensitisation on the greater impacts of entrepreneurship. Young persons shall learn through the fact that this concept covers such a large threshold of business what roles and responsibilities to take to combat ailing poverty. #MyPassion
What does youth empowerment mean to you?
To me, it means when youth are given the opportunity to know what needs to be done to understand and change the world. I believe we can make a huge impact!