Girls Guiding Government: Mentee Stories

GGBCThe Girls Guiding Government Program, a partnership with the Global Give Back Circle, empowers the next generation of women leaders in Kenya and Rwanda through mentorship, training, and community service.

Learn more about the Girls Guiding Government Program here.


Form 4 Student, Starehe Girls Centre

ElsyMy name is Elsy Makena. I was born in a small town in Meru and I am 18 years old. I have been living with my Aunt since I was five years old following the death of my father and mother.

I applied to the Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government after learning about the program in school and about its commitment to leadership and to ensuring women have the chance to pursue a career in public service. People say that very few people are born leaders, but in my gut, I believe I am destined to be a great leader. I obey authority, but I enjoy being a leader. At times, I think about the number of women we have in our country leading government, and I think about the fact that I live in a men dominated world. Thus, I joined the Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government Program with the aim to increase my passion for leadership, to gain skills to excel as a leader, and to potentially pursue a career in public service. 

When I joined the program, I was attached to my mentor, Melissa. She is a Diplomat, who relocated some months ago to Lesotho, a country in Africa. Melissa has been my stepping-stone and support system. She has been there for me since the start. Sometime back when I was in conflict with my Aunt, she was there to tell me how to go about it. At the same time, being a Diplomat is one of my dreams, and she has really inspired me. 

As a beneficiary of the Global Give Back Circle – Girls Guiding Government Program, I was so happy when I graduated from the program and was informed I would be receiving a scholarship to further my education at university. I had so many goals and dreams, but I did not know how they would become a reality. It is a dream come true to be awarded a scholarship to continue on to university.  

I would like to pursue International Relations, Political Science and/or a Bachelor of Commerce. My dream is to work with the United Nations before I join public service. I have admired a couple of the speakers, who have come to speak at the workshops, most especially during the April 2017 Global Give Back Circle – Future Political Leader’s Conference in Kenya. I was really inspired by them. I hope to go far with my goal of working in public service and also to increase the number of other women in public service as well. 


Form 4 Student, Starehe Girls' Centre

EstherMy name is Samantha and I am from Makueni County. I live with my Mum, after my Father left home when I was still young. I have one brother. He is a matatu conductor. I am fortunate that I am the first and only one in my family, who was given the chance to complete a high school education. The story about my background is what motivates me to work hard in my studies. My Mum, who has struggled to bring me up, has also been a great source of strength to me and she has enabled me to carry on.  

Being strong in life has enabled me to overcome many hurdles that have come my way. Being a leader in school, in particular, has built my resiliency. I had to be strong, and I always remained focused and committed to my goals, knowing that my decisions only needed to be right not popular. When I applied to join the Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government Program, I knew that I was going to gain a lot, as I had always been interested in public service. I have also wanted to help other girls in my community to pursue their education.  

I am really thankful for the opportunity to join the program, as I have gained a lot from the workshops and from my mentor. My mentor, Patricia Vinkenes, is from the United States of America. She writes to me weekly to check in on my progress, and she is always happy about my achievements. Patricia advises me and motivates me to always go for the best in life. 

This year, I was very excited to learn that I was awarded a full scholarship to the university. I aspire to do a course in finance and architecture, since I really love mathematics. I really want to take part in public service and fight for fifty percent women representation by 2050. After university, I would like to work in government, especially in the Ministry of Finance in order to contribute to the growth and development of our country.


Form 4 Student, Starehe Girls' Centre

RizikiI come from Mombasa, a coastal town in Kenya, and from a family of four; my parents, my brother and I. My mother sells second-hand clothes, while my father is a construction worker.

After my high school studies, I, however, would like to study Economics & Statistics and International Affairs. Equipped with this knowledge, I aspire to venture into diplomacy and the business world. I hope to do my career on a global platform. In the future, I would also like to work for the United Nations and thereafter, hopefully, be the Cabinet Secretary in charge of Foreign Affairs in my country. 

My mentor, Celine Bankumuhari, works with the OXFAM Foundation. She is a woman, who I really admire because she didn’t let the challenges in her life define who she is. Instead, she overcame them with courage, resilience and determination, which really inspires me.

I joined the Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government Program, to learn the ‘how, when, and why’ of leadership. Being a member of the program, and a student leader, taught me that it takes courage, sacrifice, patience, collaboration, and humility, to lead well. I believe the knowledge and skills I have been equipped with in the Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government Program will be useful in making the changes that I wish to see in the world. The election year in my country, Kenya, has enabled me to see that as a country we still have a long way to go. My vision for my country is to see an election, where people will vote based on the qualities and potential that a leader has to steer the country to greater heights, and not on the basis of their ethnic community, gender or political affiliations, as was the case with these elections. 

Year-to-date, my most memorable achievement was winning the Zayed Future Energy Prize, a global award. I hope to be a source of inspiration to many girls out there, who feel limited against leadership by the beliefs of our societies.