Martin Gichinga – Delving into Social media

Martin Gichinga

Martin Gichinga is a journalist, web designer and editor of Famous Nakuru.  He is also the County Manager of the Nakuru County Senator, Susan Kihika.

He has worked in different capacities at different organizations but the most remarkable place he remembers working at is Nakuru Tanners. Having joined the company as a casual worker on 10th January 2010, he almost quit a week later due to the strenuous nature of the work.
However, he soldiered on and due to a combination of luck, diligence and a good attitude, Gicinga was to be one of the only two people in the history of the 80-year-old company to be promoted from a casual worker to a departmental supervisor less than two years after joining the company.
As the supervisor of the Wet Blue department, his work revolved around record-keeping, staff supervision and handling the dispatch of material either for the local or export markets. He resigned from the post in September 2014.

Famous Nakuru

Up to the end of 2014, Gichinga was engaged in the stone quarrying business at Maili Saba in Bahati. To supplement his income, he started journalism and has been writing for the online publication HiviSasa.com. It was also during this period that he met the man who was to determine the new direction his life was to take.
While still engaged in stone quarrying, Gichinga had joined a training that was being offered at the Kenya National Library, Nakuru, by a Canadian NGO, the Digital Opportunity Trust. And it was during this period that he met Chief Francis Kariuki of Lanet-Umoja Location.
“We became friends and he invited me to speak to youth from his area about Zidisha and working online due to the fact that I was now more known for online news reporting,” says Gichinga.
The meeting with Chief Kariuki also rekindled in Martin a desire to go back to an active social media life, especially on Twitter. Until then, Gichinga reveals that he had only two followers on Twitter and one tweet. He edited his Twitter profile and started the @FamousNakuru handle. It was meant to give posts about what was happening around Nakuru.
A Wider World
Gichinga says that he has known more people within the one year since he left Nakuru Tanners than he knew during the almost five years that he worked there. He also says that his life is more fulfilling than it was while in employment.
Journalism has made him interact with movers and shakers in Nakuru County and also opened avenues for travel and learning.
His @FamousNakuru Twitter handle is known by most of the residents of Nakuru town and also far outside Nakuru. He has trained people on the use of Twitter and he has earned money on Twitter.
He firmly believes the future is bright for him in the online world and he can still make an impact in the world through the use of social media.
 Martin Gichinga – Serving the community
Gichinga handled the social media for knls Nakuru on a volunteer basis and was instrumental in popularizing the platforms during the three months that he handled them.
When the Nakuru Lost and Found documents centre was set up at Nakuru’s Huduma Center, he worked closely with the founder Mr Lawrence Karani in popularising the idea online.

During the inaugural Nakuru Youth Week Gichinga was in charge of social media and was instrumental in bridging the gap between the organizing committee and the larger audience in Nakuru.

When Coolio Nissan matatus which ply the Langalanga route in Nakuru were threatened with extinction by their competitors the KST, they approached Gichinga with their pathetic story that involved a lot of conspiracy from the powers that be. Working with members of the Nakuru Real Analysts CBO of which he is a member, they were able to help the matatu Sacco that was on the verge of closing business.
“With enough passion, you can make a difference in the lives of people you interact with every day,” says Gicinga.

Martin Gicinga can also be found on Twitter and Facebook on these profiles
@FamousNakuru – Talks about famous people, places and events in Nakuru
@MartinGichinga – His personal Twitter account
Martin Gicinga – His official Facebook account

Faith Wangui Mwaniki – Living her life through her job

 

Brought up by a single mother, Wangui Mwaniki learnt to be responsible from an early age. Her father had passed on when she was barely an year old and she is the last born and an only girl in a family of three.
Growing up with boys must have prepared well her to survive in a male dominated world. She is strong willed, confident and a go-getter.

First impressions last

Her mother was a prayerful woman and a strong Christian. The family never missed a church service no matter what and this also contributed a lot in what she is doing currently in her life.
“Missing church was never an option and I thank mom for instilling in me this foundation from an early life,” says Wangui.
There used to be a children’s home in her church where orphaned boys were housed. She would always go to visit, help and play with them whenever she had the opportunity. In class six, she remembers sharing with a friend that when she grew up, she would love to work with destitute children.
She was always touched by the donors who used to visit the home once in a while and put a smile on each child’s face.

“These donors would come to visit the boys with gifts. I would always notice how they would bring happiness onto these boys’ faces and I determined that one day, I would also love to be a philanthropist,” says Wangui.

She admits she didn’t really know what she would do but she knew she wanted to do something that would have an impact.

Schooling

After primary school at Langalanga primary, Wangui joined Langalanga secondary up to Form Three before transferring to Anester School where she did her KCSE. She joined the Germany Institute College immediately after form four to do computer studies. She was to study at German Institute for only two weeks.
Following an advert that had been posted in one of the Dailies for a pharmacy assistant Wangui applied but got the posting. Although the advert had specifically asked for a person with a C+ in KCSE, Wangui used her mock results and her confidence and attitude got her the job barely three weeks after leaving school.
She worked at the chemist for one year before joining the Technical University of Kenya (TUK) to study International Relations and Diplomacy.

Work or Hobby?

For her internship, Wangui worked at the Nakuru County Headquarters in the public relations and IT departments. It was also during her internship that she stated volunteering at Two Feet project in Nakuru. Even after she went back to Nairobi for her studies Wangui would still come back to Nakuru at least once a month to volunteer. She was then a student at Technical University of Kenya (TUK).
Even before she did her final exams, she was offered a job at Two Feet Project where she had been volunteering.
“That was a dream come true. I finally had a job in a field I had always wanted to work in,” says Wangui who is the Girls Program Coordinator & Community Center Manager for Two feet Project in Nakuru.
Wangui is also the Assistant secretary for the Real Nakuru Analysts which is a lobby group registered as a CBO in Nakuru. The lobby group is involved in advocacy and acts as a watch dog for the larger Nakuru County community.

 

Through the CBO, she was able to do a campaign for voter registration around Nakuru during the Nakuru Youth Week among other events.

Enock Onkoba – proactive leadership

 

According to Enock Onkoba, his greatest achievement was making the county government understand the youth and their role in the community. As a Nakuru Youth Bunge president, he was instrumental in making the Nakuru County executive understand that the youth can be partners and not a threat to the administration.

For two years up to June 2014, he was a board member for the Nakuru Youth Bunge and in the third year, he was to be elected president for a whole year before Philip Ng’ok took over in June 2015.

Journey to leadership

His journey to leadership started in 2010 after the promulgation of the new constitution. He had been in Juba, South Sudan for two years but after the promulgation of the constitution he came back to Kenya.
“I saw an opportunity for youth development and a chance to change lives for the communities under the new constitution,” says Onkoba.
The first thing Onkoba did after coming home to Molo was to train as a Community Health worker under the Ministry of Health. He also joined hands with some youths in his locality and formed a youth group that would help foster peace and development in his area.
“Our home area was still reeling from the effects of the 2007/2008 Post election Violence (PEV). There was still a lot of mistrust and by bringing youth from different communities together, I knew I would be playing a role in bringing back some sanity,” reveals Onkoba.
Among his achievements as the leader of that group was writing a proposal to a donor that saw the full electrification of Mukinyai Secondary school at no cost to the school. The coming of power to the school also opened up the opportunity to for the surrounding community to install power.
He also helped in putting up a bridge in his area.

Work life

After college, Onkoba first worked for the Chinese company in the construction of the Thika super highway and later worked with China Road and Bridge Company to build the Nakuru-Eldoret road. His next stop was in Kainuk, Turkana working in a soda depot where a friend had referred him.
Working in a soda depot opened up a new opportunity for him in Juba and in 2008, he went to South Sudan for the first time. He worked with the company for 3 months but unfortunately, he had to leave when his employer failed to pay his wages.
The entrepreneurial bug bit Onkoba around this time. He tried several businesses before setting up a car wash business in Sudan. He rented a space to put up his business and got the car wash machine from a Ugandan where he was to pay daily wages.
The business did not really do well and once again sought employment working with EYAT Oilfield Company services for seven months while still in Sudan. The project he was working on was the construction of a road from Juba town to the Ugandan border.
With his training, experience, exposure and his savings, he came together with some friends and together they set up a construction company.

 

Politics, the present and the future

Having been exposed to leadership at various levels, Onkoba got into politics by seeking to be elected a Member of County Assembly for Molo though he lost.
“I got into politics because I wanted change. This being the first election after the promulgation of the new constitution, I wanted to be in the initial county Assembly so that I could put strong foundation to proper legislation,” says Onkoba.
With a friend, Onkoba will also be launching a free magazine which will be running monthly which is basically an advertisement platform and will also give a spot for youth to talk about their business. Plans are also in the pipeline to set up an academy for school and college leavers which will equip them with the requisite job market skills.
“We have realized that universities do not always produce that individual who is exactly ready for the job market. We shall be equipping the graduates with on job skills in conjunction with different companies,” says Onkoba.

Hamisi Ngutu Mutura – Determinined to change lives

It is hard to believe that the flamboyant bespectacled gentleman was once a matatu tout along Langalanga route. But he’s quick to always admit that he actually was and is a part of his life he’s in fact proud about. That was way back in 2003 after the 2002 general elections when having been displaced from his former home, Hamisi Ngutu Mutura settled at Pondamali in Nakuru.

From Tout …..

From tout, he graduated to a squad driver and conductor but had to go back to his former occupation when his family opened a dispensing chemist at Pondamali and Hamisi was to run it.  Hamisi is a trained pharmacist and had previously been employed at the same capacity.

……. to community leader

Today, however, Ngutu an entrepreneur who runs a private school, St. Dominic’s Academy and is more involved in community service.

As chairman of the Nakuru Analysts, Ngutu together with Patrick Kinyua and Steve Gitukia initiated the mobilizing of resources in aid of Barut primary School special unit. They were able to bring together a group of well-wishers including the Nakuru County Assembly County speaker and were able to donate foodstuffs, learning materials and other basic necessities to the unit that caters for children with various forms of disabilities.
This interaction with the community has revealed to him the various needs of the community and he’s determined to bring change to the residents of Rhoda Ward in Nakuru West Constituency of which he is a resident. To achieve this he has decided to get into politics by seeking to be elected as the Member for County Assembly representing this area.
Top of his agenda for these people is improving the drainage system which has been a problem to the residents for a long time. He says he would also wish to see the residents become self-reliant and every household get an NHIF hospital insurance card.

Hamisi is currently undertaking a degree in Education, Bachelor of Arts at St. Paul’s University, Nakuru. This is in addition to his previous degree in Computer sciences a few years back. Hamisi Ngutu also has a Diploma in Business Management (Projects) from Kenya Institute of Management (KIM) and he is also studying the Kenya Sign Language that he says will enable him to communicate with those with hearing disabilities.

Hamisi is a family man with two children, a girl and a boy.

John Mahu Macharia – The peoples’ servant

“I have faced a lot of challenges in life to be where I am today,” reveals the jovial Macharia. He has a commanding presence and you’ll rarely fail to notice him in a room. Confident but soft-spoken, John Mahu Macharia is a person who has literally tasted life from both extremes.
The transformation from near pauper to a position of influence could explain his generosity both materially and with his time.

But all that is now in the past and the once young man who used to peddle water on a bicycle and clean toilets to supplement his family needs now has his eyes on a parliamentary seat.

  Education, work and more education

His first job posting was as a labourer at the then Municipal Council of Nakuru (MCN) right after he finished High school at Nakuru Day Secondary school. The menial job did not deter his dreams for a bright future and he immediately enrolled to study KATC. Studying part-time, he managed to do KATC 1 and 2.
He followed this by enrolling for a diploma course in Human Resource studying part-time at the University of Nairobi. He, however, had to put his plans on hold when his mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer and he had to channel most of his earnings into her medication. Unfortunately, his mother succumbed to the disease and passed on.
With these challenges, someone of a lesser determination would have given up on their dream but Mahu has soldiered on.
Mahu has a degree in Finance from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and this seems to have prepared well for his career in entrepreneurship.
After working as a labourer for a few months, Mahu was promoted to be a clerical officer owing to his hardworking nature. He was later to rise to the position of an administrative assistant and then to an administrative officer position he still holds even after transitioning to County government.

Mahu has also done several short courses.  He studied governance in Finland when the MCN had partnered with some Finnish municipalities. He also did Report and Minute writing at the Kenya School of Governance (Formerly Kenya Institute of Administration).

 Currently, he is undertaking an MBA in Management from JKUAT.

Working with community

Mash, as he is popularly referred to, has been working closely with the community. As a youth desk officer at the Municipal Council, he was able to introduce several programs to empower the youth.
To give financial freedom to the rural farmers, he was very instrumental in the founding of the first ever Poultry farmers’ cooperative society the Nakuru Poultry Farmers’ Cooperative Society. He says that for long, there have not been proper marketing mechanisms for the poultry products and by working together the farmers can achieve a lot more.
For several years now, Mahu has been a Rotarian.

“I’ve always had the heart to help the poor and disadvantaged in the community. That’s one of the reasons I joined the Rotary Club and I believe am making a change to a life somewhere,” says Mash.

Mahu the Book Warrior
Mahu is also one of the strong supporters of the Book Warriors. Since inception, he has been strongly supporting their activities including visiting schools and planting trees in school.


From an early age, leadership has always come naturally to him. He has worked closely with leaders in Nakuru over the years and he knows there is massive potential to make a difference in the lives of people through politics. Politics

“Politics is not necessarily evil if you’re focused in shouldering the responsibilities and carrying out your mandate,” says Mash on his decision to seek an elective post.
“I know I can do better, achieve more and make a more positive impact on the people if given the chance. Economic empowerment for local communities is something am engaged in even at this point,” reveals Mahu.
In the past few years, he has been working closely with women groups to empower them and introducing economic activities that will change the rural people. Even as he seeks to be elected the Bahati Constituency MP, he knows there is still something he can do to change lives before then.
“I’ve lived among these people, I know and understand their needs and I believe and trust I am their best option for MP,” says the soft-spoken John Mahu Macharia.
He is also a businessman and through his Eastgate estate has employed more than forty people.
He is a family man and has a wife and two kids.

Esther “Estelle” Mwai – Actress with love for her community

Esther “Estelle” Mwai is an agent of change. She’s passionate about life and loves giving back to the community. This is why she turned down a job offer to work as a radio presenter in Tanzania and instead opted to remain and work with her community.

Born and brought up in Nakuru, Esther has always come back to live with the community that moulded her. She’s not ashamed to admit that she is a product of the ghetto but that has not limited her vision in life.

“I was born in the semi slum area of Kivumbini. Many would be ashamed to admit that but am proud of that heritage and am determined to change the lives of these people,” says a determined Esther.

She’s out to prove that anyone can make it in live regardless of where or the circumstances of their birth.

Esther the leader

Ever since she can remember, leadership has always been thrust her

way. But she remembers taking the reins of leadership proper while in class six at Menengai Primary School. That’s when she first became a class prefect.

When she joined Njoro girls Secondary school after her KCPE, she was once again to find herself in a position of leadership while in Form two. This time she became the Deputy Head girl. She however transferred to Nakuru Day secondary school for her Form 3 and Four and in 2008 founded the Journalism Club at the school.
A staunch Catholic, she was elected the Youth leader at Christ the King Catholic Church in 2006 while still in secondary school. She was the Young Catholic Society (YCS) leader for the whole diocese.
 
She is also a board member of the Nakuru County Youth Bunge Forum.

Passion in performing arts

Ever since she was in form 1, Esther was writing choral verses. She also loved acting and was always involved as a member of her church youth group.

 

“I’ve always been interested in the arts industry from an early age and I always knew I would shine on the national stage,” says Ester with passion.

Being a firm believer in self-discipline, she believes in always doing the right thing and this has been her guiding principal throughout her career as an actor. 
“I came to Nairobi in 2010 and joined the “Jicho Four” performing group at the Kenya National Theatre (KNT),” reveals Esther who is fondly referred to as Estelle by her friends. It was here that she first interacted with Jalang’o, Steve Ogana and Mwana Mwende of Coro FM.

Esther the Marketer

Esther is also an accomplished marketer. While still at KNT, she first did marketing for Fanaka Arts where she also acted on stage. She also did marketing for Johari where she also did vernacular plays.

Her foray into marketing took her as far as Lebanon. Working for Shaljah Motors, she travelled to Beirut in Lebanon’s capital city where she was marketing automobiles. This was between January 2013 and September of the same year.
Even as she carries on with her acting career, Estelle is still in marketing but this time round she’s marketing her Events company, Emerald Events that she founded in 2014.

 Getting into Radio

Esther is a fully trained Radio Drama writer and producer. She did the training while she was working at Nakuru based Catholic radio station,

Radio Amani.Having returned to the country after her tour of duty in the Middle East, Esther joined Radio Amani in October 2013 as a presenter. She used to co-host with Kevinn Omwami who is currently on Churchill show in a programme that focused on youth issues. She left the station in August 2014.

Estelle the Actor

In 2015, Esther attended a radio presenter show audition that had attracted over 6000 contestants. She emerged in the top 100 and it’s here that she got a chance to audition and successfully join the Daktari Show cast.
Esther acts as Nurse Cate in the show that airs on KTN every Tuesday at 7:30 PM. As Nurse Cate, Estelle describes herself as an outgoing character who enjoys life and takes things lightly. She’s however very strict with her duties.
She has also featured “Nose of Gold” acting as a police woman. The program used to run on KTN but is now available on MNET. Another film on which she has acted is the yet to be released series, “Nanyorr” which is a Maasai word meaning “The one I love.”
Gutuka is her first main Radio drama which she did in October 2015. The show will be out soon and it focuses on leadership, the pros and cons of ethnic diversity and also issues of gender.

Working with the community

Her mother was for many years the secretary of the Nakuru Railway workers Union and growing up in this environment, Estelle always knew she would end up in a leadership position and being involved with the community.

In partnership with Charles Mwangi of Manyani Environment Youth Forum, they have recently started the Wezesha Initiative to serve their communities. They have been involved in activities like donation of sanitary towels to school girls and pads to young needy mothers.
“I’ve always been involved in working with the less fortunate in the society; orphans, the aged and single mothers in my area are a vulnerable part of the society and it’s my desire to see their standards improve,” says Esther.
“I would also love to see especially the youth having a renewed mind-set and stop looking down upon themselves. They should be the change they desire to be,” adds Esther.

Politics

With her background and experience, she strongly believes that her srea deserves better in terms of representation.

“We are facing big challenges in Kivumbini ward. Drainage is a perennial problem and the infrastructure is very poor. We need floodlights to stem the rising insecurity and with the high population that keeps rising daily, I believe that we need a health facility put up in the area,” Esther passionately articulates what she feels needs to be looked into.

It’s for this reason that she has decided to throw her hat into the ring come 2017 and vie for the post of the Member for County Assembly in Kivumbini Ward.
“Am sure am the right person. I was born and grew up here. I understand the people and their needs and I believe and trust am the person to change the destiny of the area for the better,” declares the passionate political aspirant.

Future

Coupled with her vision in politics is her vision for her event’s company that she founded in 2014 and her love for theatre.

“I want to make Emerald Events the best events company in East Africa. I also want to be the leading film producer and also start a talent school to nurture the yong as part of giving back to society,” she reveals.

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