March 5, 2024

On Saturday March 2nd, 2024, 24 Aspire Alumni in Nairobi, Kenya gathered at café Sini Chai. Here, they enjoyed introductions, games, social-impact discussions and more. Previous Aspire AAA alumni Brendah Olouch and Samuel Musembi helped the Aspire Alumni team ensure this event was a great success! Afterward, Brendah shared her thoughts with us.

An Aspire alumna from 2022, Olouch is a graduate of Kenyatta University. “I pursued a bachelors degree in Environmental Studies and Community Development.” She told us. When asked what she does now, in addition to her greatly appreciated volunteering with the Aspire Alumni Team, she told us how she formed her present career. “Currently, I am a freelance researcher and writer.” she said.  “I take pleasure in compiling policy articles, blogs, reports, and any other thing that involves organizing words to form coherent information.” When asked about her passions, she told us more. “Alongside freelancing, I am passionate about environmental conservation, particularly global and local policy on the environment and climate change.”

We asked Olouch about her initial feelings after the gathering. “It was a pleasure to host the young, vibrant, and ambitious Aspire Institute alumni, who turned out in larger numbers.” She told us excitedly.  “The introductory session was fun. We played a game called “two truths and a lie,” and it was hilarious. Some even lied, saying that they were the 47th president of the United States.” Both Olouch and Musembi did a great job facilitating games and more! 

Olouch spoke on what stood out about the alumni who attended the event. What came to mind was the broadness of the alumni attendees. “One incredible factor about the team that sprung up during the introduction is that it is made up of individuals with diverse career backgrounds.” She told us. “Some are already working, while others are still students in medical school, social work, law school, and other fields.”

Staying true to their Aspire roots, the alumni discussed their local communities and social impact. “After the introductions, we went into roundtables where we asked the participants to brainstorm about social challenges in our communities and come up with ideas on how we, as the Aspire Institute Kenya Alumni Community, could help in solving these bottlenecks.” Olouch spoke to us about what came up in those discussions. “Several ideas [came] in, including establishing self-sustaining menstrual health centres in primary and secondary schools in Kenya, enhancing the participation of young people in policymaking, and engaging communities in environmental conservation activities such as tree planting.” 

When we asked Olouch how the event was received, we were delighted to hear the results. “Everyone was happy about meeting their fellow [alumni] who attended the event, and they said they were looking forward to more and more.” She said.

Musembi was grateful and reflective when he spoke with us. “I wish to thank our sponsors and partners for the support accorded to us. The future is youth, and all impossibilities can be overcome when young people have access to functional platforms where their ideas can be amplified.”

One of our three 2024 Aspire STEAM Fellows Theophilus Barasa, attended this event. He had great feedback for us afterward! When asked about his favorite part, he spoke of togetherness and community. “My favorite part of the event was when we went into our different groups and started discussing what we could do as alumni, almost like the breakout sessions during the Aspire program. It was amazing how we were all from different fields of study, and yet we were able to find ideas that we can all relate to.”

We are so happy to see our alumni all over the world connect with one another in their respective communities! 


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