They had only six minutes to explain to a group of three judges and an expectant audience how their policy ideas could make the world a better place.
The group of eight finalists out of 1300 applicants now braced the podium; tensed, pouring their hearts out with well-articulated, practical and emotion-filled policy ideas.
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They presented policy ideas on various topics including reproductive health, food security, community primary healthcare, sexual and gender-based violence, gender equality, reproductive health, campaign financing, and energy. Topics that are also a top priority in President Uhuru’s Big Four Agenda and United Nations SDG’s.
When Mr, Irũngũ Houghton, the Executive Director at Amnesty International rose to speak, he said that the panel of Judges had received a “global policy ideas that are relevant, clear and provided a sense of thought leadership”.
He went ahead to read the names of four young Kenyans selected to be part of the British Council’s Future Leaders Connect programme-a global leadership network for emerging policy leaders.
The eventual winners were Sharon Adhiambo (mitigating adolescent pregnancy), Alphaxrd Gitau (food security), Phyllis Muthoni (community primary healthcare) and Nafula Wafula (sexual and gender-based violence). Other judges were Christian Matherson-shadow cabinet officer in the United Kingdom and Nerima Wako-active Kenyan political analyst and Executive Director Siasa Place.
Nafula Wafula, passionate about women and girls used the opportunity to advocate against school-related sexual and gender-based violence. While Mr. Gitau, who is currently pursuing a masters in research and public policy at the University of Nairobi and a farmer, gave a riveting action plan on achieving food security by supporting farmers through farmer groups.
A bubbly Sharon Adhiambo used her pitch to advocate the need to mitigate adolescent pregnancy while Phyllis Muthoni-Laikipia North sub-county medical officer of health squarely tackled community primary healthcare at its best.
The four will now travel to the UK in October to undergo advanced leadership training at the Møller Institute, University of Cambridge. They will meet with British MPs at the Houses of Parliament and other international leaders to discuss their policy ideas.
The quartet will further form the fifty winners, selected from more than 15,000 applications around the world, to be part of the prestigious program that aims to develop the next generation of globally connected leaders who will create positive change through effective policymaking.
Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of the British Council, said an international outlook is vital in cultivating future leaders able to understand and overcome the challenges today’s world present.
“Future Leaders Connect supports the next generation of leaders to develop policy skills and build international contacts that will enable them to create positive change across the world. I look forward to welcoming Kenya’s winners to London in October,” said Devane.