The Kisumu National Polytechnic Student’s Association last week underwent training on leadership at the St John’s Manor Hotel in Kisumu under the auspices of the institution’s administration led by The Dean Lucy Khoja. All department heads also participated in the workshop, a move that was aimed at sharpening their leadership skills within the divisions they run.
The two-day training that took place on August 3rd and 4th involved six sessions with various instructors including Dr Okumu Bigambo of Moi University who covered communication skills, Bishop Daniel Aoyi who spoke on leadership and integrity, Peter Abuto who discussed HIV/Aids control and prevention among others. “How you speak and present yourself before your stakeholders determines whether they will get and accept your message and if you’ll succeed in leading them through various initiatives. Communication therefore involves what you say, how you say it and how you look while saying it,” said Dr Bigambo in his discussions regarding messaging. Bishop Aoyi reminded the student leaders and department heads present that hard work and talent may elevate a person into leadership but it is integrity that will keep him/her in that position.
Others who addressed the gathering included the new deputy principal Mr. Lomolo and principal Joyce Nyanjom. “This workshop has been a great value addition exercise and everyone is leaving with something new that they have learned. I urge you all to share and implement the knowledge acquired during the training to improve your performance in your respective roles,” Mr. Lomolo said.
The annual workshop that usually takes place after the KINAPOSA elections aims at improving the skills of all leaders within the institution to enable them serve their stakeholders effectively and efficiently. “This event has been a success. It was well organized and attended and I’m proud of all the participants who took their time to be here. Every time I attend, I learn something new that touches me at a personal level,” said Ms Khoja.
The government is seeking ways of cutting down production costs in the textile sector in partnership with technical institutions around the country in its efforts to boost manufacturing as part of the Big Four Agenda. Speaking at Kisumu National Polytechnic last Friday when he held a roundtable meeting with textile industry entrepreneurs in the region to deliberate on how to rejuvenate the sector, Vocational, and Technical Training Principal Secretary, Dr Kevit Desai said the textile industry has been identified as one of the key drivers to help realize the industrialization goal of the big four agenda. “We are looking at the whole value chain of the sector to enhance production, competitiveness and revive the industry which has collapsed,” said the PS.
He said the meetings will examine the seed-to-shop problems that hamper development in the textile industry, such as high energy costs and limited markets. “Institutions such as the Kisumu Polytechnic, with its training and incubation hub, need to create the requisite skills to improve productivity … The more capacities within the industry, the more the right production techniques are utilized and this extends to marketing and value chains,” he added.
Dr. Desai revealed the government has boosted the competence of technical institutions to offer world-class training and research to improve the industry, pointing out that many have rolled out training courses and research to invigorate manufacturing. TKNP houses the Sh1.5 billion African Centre of Excellence in Textile that the World Bank-sponsored and will enroll students from across the region starting in 2019. The center is integral in the East African Community’s policy to phase out second-hand clothes beginning next year.
TKNP Principal, Mrs. Joyce Nyanjom revealed that the college has already introduced short courses covering textiles to build capacity for professionals seeking jobs in the industry. The programs will boost skills to improve productivity and creativity in the industry. “The biggest problem our SMEs face is lack of skills and we hope to address that through these programs,” she said.
Solomon Omondi Abeti is the indefatigable optimist, with a deep gaze expressing an honest, all-or-nothing demeanor. With Mr. Abeti, life is simple and straightforward, what you see is what you get.
Born in the hilly countryside of Kabondo in Homa Bay County, the lanky KINAPOSA secretary general became an orphan at an early age and was committed to Asumbi Orphanage from where he attended Suna Primary School then Wang’apala High School. He had to drop out from the latter institution in form 3 due to fee challenges after his sponsor pulled out. Thereafter he joined Owiro Mixed High School in Kabondo after the Deputy Principal Dismas Ombogo took him in and sponsored his education through form 3 and 4 where he graduated in the class of 2013. Thereafter he joined Bridge School International in Riga as an untrained teacher and held the position for a year. In early 2015 he moved to Gideon’s Orphanage to work as an administrator under Apostle Newton Atela. The same institution accepted his proposal seeking college sponsorship, allowing him to enroll at The Kisumu National Polytechnic in January 2016 where he joined the Business department.
“All these trials and tribulations helped me discover that I have a passion for servant leadership, a sentiment that propelled me to become class representative the year I joined TKNP,” he says. His experiences as a representative also helped him identify the gap in leadership that came about due to selfishness among executives. He wanted to vie for the Secretary’s post in 2017 but stepped down for Bruce Ochieng who didn’t succeed. This year he consulted and strategized with other students in his department and decided to vie for the post, “I want to serve the student’s interests very well, standing firm with my colleagues and working with the administration, not fighting against them. I also want to lay a firm foundation in this post for future office holder”, he says.
His top priorities as secretary include uniting KINAPOSA leaders to speak in one voice; ensuring students get subsidized and affordable meals as happens in other institutions and to re-establish the role and importance of the student union. In his first 100 days in office he hopes to get KINAPOSA leaders to speak in one voice through weekly executive meetings and a fortnightly general assembly as happens in other colleges; he also hopes to secure subsidized meals for students via a union controlled canteen at the Student’s Centre Hall in partnership with the administration.
“If I can secure these simple but powerful developments for the students, whoever takes over from me will inherit a powerful and useful office”, he says.