Invaluable Lessons I Learned Working with AIESEC Kenya

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AIESEC is an international non-governmental organization with the aim of “Empowering Young People for Peace and Fulfilment of Humankind’s Potential”. For Stephen Kairuki, joining AIESEC Kenya has been a life-changing moment. Being exposed to various worldviews and cultures, finding like-minded people, and learning leadership first-hand are only a few of the highlights. Today, Stephen shares his experience on AIESEC Kenya and what it has meant to him.

 

How I Joined AIESEC Kenya

My journey in AIESEC Kenya is an interesting one. I joined because of a girl I had a major crush on. I had no clue what it was about!

After I attended the first meeting, I realised that the young people in the room were not your ordinary university students. They were bolder, more self-driven. This got me interested in the AIESEC Kenya.

I wanted to have the confidence and energy that those members had. I wanted to live more and make an impact on the world. I wanted to create change  in my own little way. AIESEC Kenya would be my stepping stone towards all these.

 

AIESEC Kenya Experience. Dinner with the team

AIESEC Kenya Experience. Dinner with the team

Learning Leadership with AIESEC Kenya

AIESEC Kenya gave me the chance to be a leader. Initially, I had no idea what effective leadership was. But my experience helped me understand the concept better.

I was part of a  team that had to create innovative and impactful projects to be taken up by Local Chapters. This was a new frontier for me, as I had never worked in any non-governmental body before. I had no clue of what kind of projects to think of.

However, AIESEC Kenya helped me come up with effective projects. I learned through the amazing team I worked with, and numerous trainings and case studies available to me.

Eventually, I got the chance to lead my own team. I was elected Vice President of Incoming Exchange, Global Community Development Program in my Local Chapter, AIESEC in Daystar (VP ICX GCDP). This role enabled me to improve my communication, planning, marketing, and leadership skills.

This new role required me to be more proactive. It involved a lot of meetings with decision makers in the companies we were working towards a partnership with. It required me to be able to sell the AIESEC way in board rooms filled with corporate leaders who wanted to know why they should support us.

This made me better at preparing and giving presentations. It helped me study the faces and reactions of those I’m presenting to. From the way the presentation flowed to ensuring it was short and punchy, my skills were greatly improved through these presentations.

 

AIESEC Dayster at the International Congress 2011 in Nairobi Kenya

AIESEC Dayster at the International Congress 2011 in Nairobi Kenya

A Most Memorable Project

One of the projects I kickstarted in conjunction with other partners was bringing in teachers for a community-run primary school. It was started by The Lukenya Pillars Organisation. The organisation approached AIESEC in Daystar. They were in need of assistance: They did not have enough teachers at the school.

We came up with the idea of bringing in university students who were majoring in different fields and who had excellent skills in different subjects. This kicked off well. We were able to bring in seven interns within a six month period. We made sure the school never lacked a science or math teacher.

Things got even better. The interns got involved in more than just teaching. They helped raise funds for the construction of a new block, as well as a kitchen for making lunch for the kids.

 

What AIESEC has Meant to Me

AIESEC Kenya has really helped my professional life. In my line of work, presentation and marketing skills are must-haves. All the presentation I’d had to do, plus the cold calls and marketing of our LCs projects. They have all been invaluable experiences.

In my personal life, AIESEC made me make dozens of friends from across the globe. Most of my closest friends now are all former AIESECers. We might come from different corners of the earth. But when we come together, it’s like we have been friends for a long time.

AIESECers share common goals, and are driven by similar things. The only difference is our nationalities and cultures. We believe that we are part of the solution, so we go out and try to make a difference.

Being in AIESEC gives you this courage that makes you be able to approach even the CEO of a multinational company and not second guess yourself. We are not afraid to challenge the norms and ask questions that others may be afraid to ask in order to make the world a better place.

All in all, it is all these outlook on society that makes my experience in AIESEC Kenya a very invaluable one.