An Interview with Nyokabi Kenyatta, Director, Kenyatta Trust.
How long has your family been giving and what motivates you to keep the tradition?
As a family, we have always been givers. Beginning with our parents, HE Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and HE Mama Ngina Kenyatta who instilled in us the virtues of giving. We have continued to give motivated by the Word of God in Acts Chapter 20 that says, “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. We are also motivated by seeing the positive impact in the lives of others. Giving and caring for others in the society is also inherently African
What are the benefits of having a Trust for your family’s philanthropic initiatives?
The Kenya Trust acts as a structured avenue through which we can give strategically for the greatest impact.
What challenges are you addressing through the Kenyatta Trust and why?
Through the Kenyatta Trust, we are addressing four pillars:
At The Trust we enable needy students to access secondary and tertiary education. We cater for all their requirements while in formal education.
Social Economic Empowerment
The homes from which our scholars come from, are financially disadvantaged. We recognize that there are other children in those same families that still need assistance. Since we select one child per family, we have seen it necessary to establish our Inuka program, which provides seed money and training for the families to set up small business that will provide income for sustenance and growth.
We are aware that the old tradition of young men and women being mentored by Uncles and Aunts is slowly disappearing. At the Trust, we recognize the importance of mentorship for our scholars, to ensure that they sharpen their moral compass as well as provide them with career guidance, to enable them cope with life’s challenges.
Through our life skills programs, we engage our scholars in community service, emotional intelligence, critical thinking and problem solving. These skills ensure that our scholars are groomed for leadership in line with the core values of The Kenyatta Trust which are service, leadership, justice, integrity and peace.
Since inception, what impact has the Kenyatta Trust made in that area?
Through our Inuka program, we have been able to impact over 4,000 families throughout the 47 counties in Kenya. We have seen our scholars join institutions of higher learning both locally and overseas as well as take part in the Yale Young African Scholars Program. Our scholars are also able to find job placements soon after graduation.
How has the next generation in your family been inspired to engage in philanthropy?
Our children are directly involved with The Trust and other philanthropic endeavors. One of the Directors is the Patron’s daughter and another child is involved with a social justice endeavor in Kibera Slums.
Why did you join the APF community?
I joined APF to engage with like-minded philanthropists. I felt it would be a forum to share experiences and learn from one another. APF has given us access to well structured regional forums with stimulating conversations and networking opportunities that focus on Africans for Africa.
How has being a part of the APF community impacted your work?
APF has allowed me to find ‘our’ voice to help others find theirs. APF has also given us a phenomenal platform to speak about our work.
What advice would you give an emerging philanthropist in Africa?
- Give where you can, in whatever form you are able to give – be it financial, giving of your time, expertise, or whatever resource is available.
- It is important to also be clear on your intention to maximize impact.
- Work with structure but remain flexible.