SIFE: Changing the World

Published on 16th February 2009

Walking along the corridors of the campus hostels while in my Second Year at the University, I knew I had to do something different. I was disturbed by the ‘business as usual’ stance.

 

While considering the various options at my disposal in a reverie, an acquaintance from a higher class came by and asked me to accompany him to a meeting he was going for. ‘SIFE’ is what he called it.

 

It did not take us long to get to the meeting. The first thing that struck me about the gathered students was the passion they had. They talked about the projects they were undertaking, prospective projects, project funding and vetted the various project partners.

 

It was amazing! Here I was experiencing first hand, a student’s organization being run like a serious company! To say I was impressed would be an understatement. I was bowled over! Little did I know that this was the break I had been seeking from my normal routine. I wasn’t aware of the indelible mark the SIFE experience would leave on my life.

 

Rahab Wainaina - SIFE Alumni
That evening marked the genesis of what was later to become my passion. I attended the meeting that followed and by the end of it, I was already a member of the “killer” project. Being the youngest member in the team, I felt unequaled to the task.

 

“But wait a minute…” I thought to myself, “...Isn’t this what I had been looking for?”

 

There and then,  I got out of my comfort zone. SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) became my second nature. The principles it taught, all put in one word- Entrepreneurship, became my lifestyle. It is here that I met and mingled with a like-minded people. People who did not just sit and wait for things to happen-but went ahead to make them happen! People who impacted individuals and societies alike; people who surfaced dormant potential. People, driven by the motto “Give a man a fish, he will eat it for a day, teach him how to fish and he will eat it for a lifetime” to improve livelihoods.

 

How wonderful it was to interact with business people, government officials and project partners! This went a long way in preparing us for the corporate world. Innovative thinking, firm handshake, public speaking, proper mannerisms and general etiquette are things a SIFE student is three steps ahead.

 

Having worked with people on the ground, a SIFE student appreciates an individual’s circumstance in its entirety. Subsequently, he becomes a problem solver and seeks the necessary and sustainable solutions to the various challenges. This is because entrepreneurship has been ingrained in his system!

 

That is why when my fellow 'SIFED' friends tell me of their organizations considering recruiting 'SIFED' students when job opportunities arise, I am not surprised. I say, “test and see what a treasure these students are and what marked difference they make in society!”

 

By Rahab Wainaina

Accountant with British American Asset Managers and former President, University of Nairobi SIFE.


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