- Category: News and Highlights
The Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) fraternity held a party on May 29th, 2015 to mark the graduation of the 2013 and 2014 Young Professionals and to celebrate the Institute’s naming as the leading think tank in Sub Saharan Africa.
The Young Professionals were awarded certificates by KIPPRA’s Vice Board Chairperson Emma Mwongeli, who later read the board chairman’s message.
KIPPRA’s Young Professionals Programme is a capacity building programme targeting officers in the public and private sectors. Every year, the Institute recruits ten to twelve officers from the government and private sector for a year’s training in public policy analysis and formulation through a hands-on approach. According to KIPPRA’s acting Executive Director, Dr Dickson Khainga, the programme has been quite a success, training over 100 professionals who often promoted to senior positions.
Another highlight of the evening was the speech of the Principal Secretary in the State Department of Planning, Eng. Peter Mangiti, which was delivered by Chief Economist, Timothy Gakuo. Before reading the speech, Mr Gakuo shared his experience as a discussant at KIPPRA.
“The faces in front of me are very tough. I will never forget that day. I thought I was adequately prepared but I must admit I was challenged. I wish I had gone back to pursue PhD to be on the same footing,” said Gakuo.
However, the funniest and most engaging speaker of the evening was Hon. Prof. Ruth Oniang’o who shared her education, leadership and mentorship experiences in many countries. Prof. Oniang’o who holds the distinction of being Kenya’s first professor of nutrition said her experience as a Member of Parliament between 2003 and 2007 taught her how to tactfully fight for women’s rights in a male-dominated House.
“Bring up a child who can speak for him/herself. Nervousness does not get you anywhere and only what is said is written. If you don’t speak, no one will know you were there,” said Prof Ruth Oniang’o, giving an example of her counterpart who did not say anything during their five years in Parliament, meaning her name was not in the Hansard, and hence no proof that she was ever a parliamentarian.
To emphasize the importance of confidence and letting your voice heard, Prof. Oniang’o shared her experience studying in the US. She said although she excelled in her academics, she was not awarded the best marks because she very quiet and did not participate in class.
“I always scored As in all subjects. That was the first time I got a B and it was because I never opened my mouth. Since then, I have never stopped talking,” said the professor amid cheers and laughter.
Prof. Oniang’o also encouraged everyone to embrace technology and publish reputable papers. “If I Google you and don’t find you, you are not worth your title as a professional,” she said.
She also urged young people to learn at least one foreign language, especially a United Nations one and to study with the view of creating employment for themselves and others.