Name: Nduta Waidhima
Current profession/Hustle: LGTVP fellow -Social Entrepreneur
What did you study in college/university? Was it what you wanted to study?
I first started with a diploma in Community development while trying to make a decision on what I wanted to focus on. This was followed by an internship in a Community Based Organization(CBO) in Kiambu where I had very close interactions with a poor community in one of the villages and the programs were tailored to improve the communities’ self-sustainability. Right then, I figured working with communities to improve lives is what I wanted to spend my youthful years learning and decided to pursue a degree in Environmental studies and community development at Kenyatta University.
What was your first job? Any lessons to share from it?
After completing my degree, I took up an internship at the Ministry of Environment where I was able to put together activities that impacted the environment on a global scale. one key example was a tree planting exercise with a lot of technical support from the Kenya Forest service . This activity brought together 300 kids from Needy backgrounds to educate them and allow them to participate in climate change mitigation as a global rising issue. The activities involved learning the technical history of the environment and Mobilizing the community to plant trees in Ngong forest. Additionally, working with CBO’s, I learned how to manage grants received from donors, how the CBO’s worked and the structures involved. The CBO’s and environment both have a great impact on communities hence it was not a struggle to do either. It then became clearer that Developing Sustainable projects and social enterprises was a passion and the direction of my career.
Is there too big or too small a job?
No, as a person, you must establish what are you trying to achieve. I don’t believe in titles because they tend to blind you. It’s about getting the job done in the best way.
Describe a normal working day for you?
It starts at 5am where I plan my day before getting to the office, play music and dance as part of my workout routine then go to work. I walk to the office which is about a kilometre away, drink water to stay hydrated. After 3pm, I connect and talk with colleagues then enjoy a nature walk back home. In the evenings, I am proactive on searching for networking and learning opportunities to further my knowledge.
What drives or motivates you?
I am very simple, the fact that I haven’t achieved my goals yet, keeps me going because I am working on creating opportunities in social entrepreneurship.
Ever had a bad /good boss? Lessons learnt or advice to offer?
My current boss is the best, he is very professional, initially, I thought he was 65 years (based on his experience and level of responsibility) but later learned he is only 39. He is very passionate about conservation, being able to share the vision, he is quite the role model in the area of working with communities on social impact. Conservation work actively involves transparency in all processes when it comes to management and use of grants. This, therefore builds confidence in the organization.
Your take on ethics and integrity? Is it important to you?
Yes, it is important. Along with integrity, accountability comes along as an important aspect to uphold. We work with communities and a lot of interactions with them are based on trust.working in conservation means you are a steward first, everything else follows.
When you are not in your work element what do you do for fun?
I love the outdoors, I go for road trips, connect with nature, people and read a book.
Best money advice you received or would give?
Always plan for your money, put a budget for everything and even for others.
Most notable achievements?
12 days of Christmas project; it opened my eyes to the kind of work I need to do, I don’t need to be wealthy to start, you don’t have to build an empire first, start from wherever you are and give back.
Biggest challenge(s) faced and how you handled them?
Transitioning from pilot projects to successful donor-funded projects. Some of these projects need a lot of financial support for sustainability. You collaborate with people who are not supportive, disappointments, and not been able to carry through projects
This current space and place, is giving me time to restrategize on the things to change and new ideas.
Is reading important to you? what are you currently reading?
Yes, it is, I have to constantly get information. The Art of Thinking Clearly- Rolf Dobelli it was a gift from my friends when I visited Switzerland, every chapter is short and to the point. I like quick moral stories and get good ideas.
Who do you look up to for inspiration? /Most influential people in your life?
Melinda Gates and Michelle Obama, they are the epitome of success. Women the generation of our parents, my mum is a superwoman she gets into action, she has put in so much into our lives, she is my superhero.
Employment or entrepreneurship?
Both, because this is Kenya, you don’t become a visionary without learning from others, how to be accountable, build structures, so you have to learn from employment/work and then use that to implement your business.
Your take on Leadership?
Everyone is a Leader, when you get a chance you define how you influence people by what you say in front of them. Everyone has a chance to influence and leaders speak their mind.
Final words to young and upcoming professionals
Innovation is the future. Nothing comes easy. Always plan for your day. Think forward no one will hand you opportunities unless you ask and sometimes you have to earn them.