Equity BCDC launches Equity Leaders Program

EquityBCDC has extended its social impact contribution through scaling up the various programs that are already under implementation through Equity Group. The Bank, whose purpose is to transform lives, give dignity and expand opportunities for wealth creation, has launched a mentorship and leadership development program dubbed the Equity Leaders Program (ELP).

The Equity Leaders Program, which is one of the programs under the Education and Leadership Development pillar has launched in the DRC by selecting 131 top-performing young scholars including 81 boys and 50 girls who topped the final 6 secondary school examinations. The scholars will form the first cohort of ELP beneficiaries in DRC.

The 131 scholars will undertake a one-week induction process and proceed to join EquityBCDC for a 2-6 months paid internship program where each scholar will get a monthly stipend of USD400 and will experience on-the-job training and mentorship within various departments. The mentorship and coaching engagement with the scholars will also continue for the period they will be in university as students. They will continue to earn as they learn by way of earning commissions from marketing the Eazzy suite of digital banking products.

In addition to the skills training, ELP aims to empower young academically gifted scholars through mentorship and leadership development and is keen on spurring personal and professional development, creativity and innovation and community engagement amongst the scholars thus moulding them into forward-thinking young professionals with a heart for community give back.

While speaking to the scholars H.E Eve Bazaiba, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Environment said, “On behalf of the President of the Republic of DRC, I would like to congratulate you for emerging amongst the top and for being selected to form the inaugural class of the Equity Leaders Program (ELP) in DRC. You are all bearers of the torch for the future of this country and Africa at large. EquityBCDC has given you the ability to take charge of yourselves and purpose in life. Congratulations once again and all the best in your endevours.”

Celestin Muntuabu, the Managing Director of EquityBCDC said: “Education is one of the pillars that we hold dear and one that our Congolese youth need for their development. Today, we are proud to launch the Equity Leaders Program which will give young scholars an opportunity to develop their leadership skills and get exposure from industry captains preparing them to be next generation leaders who will contribute to the socio-economic prosperity of the nation”.

Equity Group Managing Director and CEO Dr. James Mwangi said, “The youth hold great potential and are the future of our region. The Equity Leaders Program, which has been in existence since 1998 in Kenya is being launched in DRC to offer an opportunity to youth in the DRC to explore their potential, enjoy a unique experience of getting on the job training even before joining university and also enjoy access to a regional network of professionals. They will also have a chance to network and form strong professional relationships critical in promoting innovation, entrepreneurship and research among others, thus contributing to social and economic development of our region.”

Dr. Mwangi also noted that Equity Group is a purpose-led business with a unique shared value model that pursues a mission that is both profit and social impact led. EquityBCDC will implement its programs through six key pillars which are; Education and Leadership Development, Energy and Environment, Enterprise Development and Financial Inclusion, Food and Agriculture, Health and Social Protection. These pillars are mapped against Equity’s values and the UN 2030 SDG goals.

The Equity Leaders Program has been designed uniquely and will also offer scholars an opportunity to apply for admission and full financial aid at global universities through admission into the College Counselling Program. The program runs for 3 months and is aimed at exposing them to the global universities admission process and how to manoeuvre through a new education system.

James Wakibia – Photography, Activism and love for Envioroment

Wakibia describes himself as an activist who uses photography to pass his message. He fell in love with photography from an early age when he was around 11 years old when his dad brought home a Yashica camera while he was in class six.
The first camera he bought was a Kodak KB10 while a student at Jomo Kenyatta High school in Bahati. He used to do photography for fun and didn’t charge for most of his photos he took of his fellow students.
The love for photography has remained with him up to date where he’s a photographer of renown in Nakuru Town.


Education and Early life

Born in Matuiku village in Rongai Ward near Salgaa in Nakuru, Wakibia attended Matuiku primary school before his parents transferred him to Michinda primary where he did his KCPE.

“Life was hard at Michinda and within the first one week, most of my new items including clothes had disappeared and all I had were old ones. The school diet compared to what I was used to back at home was simply terrible but I survived. I think it was here that I started my activism when I was forced by circumstances to defend myself from bullies,” says Wakibia.
Life in high school was no better and Wakibia admits that he was in and out of school most of the time due to lack of school fees. James all the same finished High school and moved to Nairobi to start his work life.
Wakibia is also a trained journalist.
In 2010, he joined Shang Tao School of 3D in Nairobi to study 3D and Film production. He was there for only one year though and dropped out. In 2011 he enrolled at Egerton University to do a degree course in Communication and Media. His main intention in joining Egerton was to study Photography but he says he was disappointed to find it was just a single unit. He, all the same, graduated in 2015 with a BA in Communication and Media.


Work life, photography and activism

James Wakibia first worked at a brokerage firm in Nairobi before joining Tuskys Supermarket. It was while at Tuskys that he bought his camera, a Minolta Zoom. Unfortunately, a friend of his broke it. Not to be deterred, he bought his next camera, a Canon 350D at a cost of Kshs. 40,000.
After Tuskys he moved to Nanyuki town to work in a restaurant. His stay there as an assistant manager in the 3-star hotel was short-lived as the weather forced him to return to Nairobi.
In 2008, he started taking photography seriously. He became an observer taking photos in the streets capturing various activities, events and landmarks. His love for activism and activists developed around this time and it was during this time that he met Boniface Mwangi.
It was during an IDPs protest in Nairobi that Wakibia met Boniface Mwangi the famous photographer cum activist based in Nairobi. Bonny met him and introduced himself and they created a rapport. He used to visit Mwangi’s office at Kenafric Towers and he says his photography benefitted a lot from his friendship with Mwangi.
His acquaintance with Mwangi also made his love for activism increase.


Return to Nakuru

Wakibia returned to Nakuru in 2011 a new person. His experiences in Nairobi and his interaction with Boniface Mwangi had opened a new world to him. Even as he studied at Egerton part-time, he started serious photography and also started his twitter handle @TweetNakuru. He was later to change it to @SteetNakuru through which he intended to do his activism. For his photography promotion, he has a personal twitter handle @JWakibia.
Wakibia is one of the most influential social media personalities in Nakuru and he believes in using social media for social change. His outspoken nature once in a while puts him at loggerheads with the powers that be and he was once blocked from accessing the official Twitter handle account for Nakuru County. He was only unblocked after fellow Nakuru tweeps aggressively ran a hashtag #UnblockStreetNakuru hitting on the County government for blocking one of their own.
To bring the most active and like-minded tweeps together, Wakibia has set up a WhatsApp group called In the Streets of Nakuru where they discuss issues touching in Nakuru.
One day in future, he has dreams of setting up a centre where people can be trained on their rights, democracy, job creation and generally connect.

 Wakibia and Nakuru Politics

Although Wakibia loves Nakuru and its people, he has no kind words for the Nakuru County Government.

“Nakuru County government spends money on wrong things,” Wakibia says unapologetically.
He feels that Nakuru’s is a terrible government that is not even trying to deliver to its people, unlike other counties.
“Nakuru has the potential to become the best county in Kenya. We have resources like fertile lands, world-class tourist sites and people who are willing to work. It’s the government that has let us down,” says Wakibia.
In his opinion, money that the county executive and assembly has spent on both foreign and domestic travels would have made a huge difference in the lives of Nakuru residents.


Personal life

He will be getting married soon and he philosophically says he will marry someone whom he can always love and not someone who will make him a philosopher.
“It was Socrates who said that you are lucky if you marry a good wife, but if you marry a bad wife, you become a philosopher,” he explains.
He is passionate about the rights of children and the environment and is currently running the #ISupportBanPlasticsKE campaign pressuring the government to put in place measures that will limit the use of plastic bags in Kenya.
The people he admires most are Paula Kahumba and John Githongo.


Repaint the Zebra Crossing

Wakibia is not giving up on his push for a better Nakuru. His current project is to push the county government to repaint the pedestrian crossing on Mburu Gichua road and though facing frustrations, he’s determined to see that it’s done either by the government or the citizens take it upon themselves to repaint.

Using Twitter for social change; Meet James Wakibia aka “StreetNakuru.”

When he started the twitter handle @StreetNakuru a year ago, James Wakibia did not know what it would lead to. All he needed was a platform through which to address issues facing his county and especially his beloved town, Nakuru.

“I started as @tweetNakuru but later changed to @StreetNakuru since I was mostly addressing issues happening locally,” says Wakibia on his choice of twitter handle.

Wakibia who is an activist, blogger and journalist feels it’s easier to use this handle to address these issues rather than using his own name.

He, however, has another twitter handle bearing his name through which he promotes his photography. He is a professional photographer.

Wakibia was inspired to get into activism by the award-winning photographer Boniface Mwangi of Pawa254 with whom he had worked with briefly in Nairobi. The person he admires most on twitter locally is Muhammed Mutai of @ItsMutai.

“I admire the way Mutai uses social media to press for real change. I especially liked how he tackled the GDC issue,” admits Wakibia.

Asked about his most successful campaigns so far, Wakibia has on top of his list the release of Baby Jeremy who had been held at Nakuru War Memorial Hospital for bills rising to over half a million. Through the use of the hashtag #ReleaseBabyJeremy, the plight of the four months old baby was known all over until the Nakuru County Government came to his rescue a few days later.



Photo by James Wakibia


photo by JWakibia








Wakibia who graduated from Egerton University with a degree in Communication and Media also counts on his effort to have Zebra Crossings in Nakuru repainted especially the one on Mburu Gichua road. His current campaign which is quickly spreading all over the world is #BanPlasticsKE through which he aims to have the government ban the use of plastic bags below 60 microns.

Other campaigns   

It was also through his twitter handle that Wakibia highlighted the plight of Library users at the Nakuru library. Thanks to him, the Nakuru County Government is in the process of procuring seats for the library.

   “I believe in the responsible use of social media for the right reasons. My dream is to have a website which will have all the information a person might need about Nakuru. I also aspire to launch a creative hub in Nakuru for creative artists,” Wakibia shares his vision for the future.

error: Content is protected !!