Place Based Leadership at all levels

Laying the foundation for Place Based Leadership at all levels

: Leadership in a deeply cultured society like Mauche where children are born and raised embedded in the cultural belief of owning huge chunks of land and rearing herds of cattle and goats to identify oneself as a leader is mythical and deeply rooted. Many children at the age of 6 years start fending for family sources of livelihoods disregarding education as a means to attaining leadership heights. Schools on the other hand strictly follow curriculum designed to prepare pupils and students for white collar jobs. Between the ages of 5 and 15 years old, children are not taught to be leaders.

 A teacher in Mauche is incooporating the lessons from PBLD to inspire leadership in primary school children using the toolset and skill sets; the Human Knot challenge to his students to measure how they would manage to address different challenges together. This was especially relevant as there had been reports of tribalism (profiling and stigmatization) amongst school-going children. He notes that

“It was interesting to see them struggle at first trying to solve the challenge. None of them quit, instead they kept trying, putting aside their differences and focused on the challenge at hand. It was an exciting moment, and I used the chance to contextualize the exercise to the children, and that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Young people, meanwhile, are much more open to new ideas and new ways of thinking”

He used the opportunity to explain the importance of unity in the community, highlighting the benefits that come about when community members work together in harmony versus the downsides of violence and tribalism. He shared that the student kept replaying the exercise and the lessons learnt after sharing with them both in school premises and at home (some students reported back to him after they introduced the exercise to their families and friends). As Murphy and Johnson postulated

“It is possible that development occurs more readily in childhood and adolescence than in adulthood because one’s behavior, personality, and skills are more malleable at a young age than in adulthood”.

Therefore, all children have the potential to develop leadership skills in a lifelong process. As adults, we can teach the skills necessary for children to take on leadership roles now and in the future.

In a different occurrence, yet another participant who is a religious leader escalated learnings from the workshop to his leadership space. The religious leader attached to the New Testament Church of God in Mau Narok has introduced Leader, Leadership and Values sessions from PBLD in his church every Sunday where he has dedicated a session on the leadership conversations for local leaders in his church to develop their leadership capabilities in their leadership spaces based on the identified systemic challenges.

Effective leadership skills and the need for collaboration to ensure communal solutions that are long term: after understanding lessons on leading change, the participant took it upon himself to become a role model in the community by sharing lessons on addressing conflict and issues in the community through teaching others the measures and means needed. Hence, the students would not only practice the lessons learnt but also share it with friends and family who in turn would take time to reflect and practice the measures by involving others from the community, working with them to address communal issues.There is personal transformation seen in the teacher especially after attending modules 1 to 6 of PBLD. He has become more aware of issues affecting their community and started to transform the community through children focusing on the wider place. The leadership lessons he has introduced to his pupils he alludes to having helped the children to gradually gain confidence, start solving problems creatively, work in teams as well as work collaboratively with others. These skills have allowed children to have control of their lives and ability to make things happen. The religious leaders in Mauche note that; 

 

“I have started noticing gradual changes among the congregants and other church leaders in embracing values of leadership from the few sessions held in church. They are now able to highlight key issues affecting the community and develop solutions to address and solve the issues, they are even handling minor church conflicts without involving me.”