Volunteer to Leader: My journey with ‘My Village’ Project
By Carolyne Chebet, a volunteer for My Village Project Bungoma County
I am Carolyne Chebet, a 24-year-old entrepreneur residing in Bungoma County, married with two children. My focus is on the cereal business, particularly dealing with maize and beans. A significant turning point in my life occurred when I joined the Milimo Community Based and Health Care (CBHC) organization on January 12, 2023. Currently, Milimo is working on the “My Village” project in collaboration with the Zizi Afrique Foundation in Bungoma West of Bungoma County.
Originally from Sirisia ward, my journey from a volunteer to a leader began in my village, Kapsitet A, part of the Lwandanyi ward in the Sirisia constituency. This transition occurred when I was assigned to support the My Village project in my village. I owe this opportunity to the support of our village elder, Mr. John Namdogoo, and the guidance of Milimo CBHC coordinator, Madam Catherine Sifuma. My primary role was to offer numeracy and literacy support to the children in my community, forging a closer connection with the families in my village.
The parents in the community welcomed the project enthusiastically, demonstrating a strong commitment to their children’s education. Some even expressed a willingness to compensate me for additional tutoring, providing significant motivation. Initially, I harbored concerns about the community’s reception to the project, fearing parents might not see its value or that learners were content with their school education. However, visiting each household dispelled these concerns, revealing that parents highly valued their children’s education. Witnessing learners progress from struggling with basic letters to confidently working with them was a heartwarming and fulfilling experience.
Engaging with the community revealed my passion for teaching, a talent I was unaware of. Milimo CBHC not only helped me recognize this calling but also facilitated further growth. Leadership training became one such opportunity, provided by an organization called Grassroot Nests for Innovation and Change (GRIC). I completed this six-month program through online classes, covering essential topics like mental health, career development, networking, entrepreneurship, and project management.
A highlight of the training was learning how to write project proposals. Inspired by the data collected in my community, I wrote a proposal addressing teenage pregnancy, a prevalent issue in the area. Surprisingly, my project proposal was recognized as the best in the region – Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. This achievement grants me the privilege of making a positive impact on the lives of young girls in my community, fulfilling a long-held dream.
My goal is to transform education in the small communities of Bungoma, making it more valued and accessible. These achievements wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering support of Milimo CBO and Zizi Afrique Foundation. I express my gratitude to everyone who has been part of my journey, especially the dedicated staff of Milimo CBO and Zizi Afrique Foundation. Your support and guidance have been instrumental in my success. The My Village project did more than light up my path; it reignited my passion and drive. Having this project in Bungoma County has been a blessing not only to me but to the community at large, and indeed, this has been the most fulfilling journey of volunteerism.