In the past, the Kenyan University student leader has been painted as a negative disruptor as opposed to agents of positive change in their Universities. The general public has the image of goons in their minds to the mention of this title marred with chaos and violence as their way of dispute resolution. A group of committed students after the 7 Habits training on effective leadership through the SLDP program by AYLF took the first step to change the narration that gave birth to University Student Leaders Awards Program.

The University Student Leaders Awards Program (USLA) is aimed at training and awarding exemplary student leaders as a way of instilling value based leadership foundation as they start their leadership journey. We are rewriting the script by celebrating exceptional leadership.

The journey began by nominations by the general public and submissions were sieved through. “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Warren Bennis. This was the mantra that incepted the first training on transformational leadership by International Leadership Foundation (ILF). The aim of the train was to fully equip the student leaders with the right skills and knowledge to guide them as they assume their roles in their respective universities.

In pursuit for personal development for the nominees we augmented transformational leadership training with a second training on 7 habits of highly effective leadership of highly effective people out in the woods next to the shores of Lake Elementaita. The camping experience also gave these young leaders a learning experience.

Consequently, we managed to conduct the first interviews through which we did the first elimination remaining with 14 nominees. The next step a team was setup that conducted the process of background checks and information of verification. This was by visiting the nominees’ respective schools and engaging with the students and university administration. It further led to reduction to 9 nominees who were interviewed by the final panel of senior friends.

Today we are not only celebrating the final 5 exceptional leaders, we are also celebrating all who have been part of this journey. The fact that they believed in our vision and consistently walked with us throughout this journey, is worth the celebration!