Martha is among the 250 best young future leaders selected to participate in the UNCTAD Youth Forum, happening in Nairobi from July 17-22. She hopes to be remembered as a woman who contributed towards electrifying sub-Saharan Africa and working to increase the number of African women joining STEM careers. She is registered with the Engineers Board of Kenya and is currently a trainee engineer at Kenya Power. Martha was one of the winners of the first World Bank Kenya blog contest.
1 Did you always want to be an engineer? What is it like working at Kenya Power?
Yes, for the most part I always wanted to be an engineer, I loved the ability to explain how things work. In the 10 months I’ve been at Kenya Power, I’ve not only met intelligent people, but also some of the most patriotic Kenyans there probably are.
2 How did the World Bank experience change your life?
It taught me to trust my voice and ideas a little more than I did before. The platform it provided completely transformed my life, especially in understanding my responsibility as a young leader in Kenya. It was like a crash-course on the global agenda and Kenya’s place in all of it. I’d say the exposure I got and the lessons I picked up by interacting with world leaders made it much easier for me to tailor the choices concerning my life and career towards serving people.
3 What makes you so convinced that Africa, and Africa’s youth, have a chance?
My circles. I’m very fortunate to be surrounded daily, whether at work or in my social interactions, by very gifted young Kenyans. You get the sense that Africa is the new cool, even the coverage of the continent has diversified into more than just war and poverty tales.
It’s encouraging to see literature, music, art and fashion completely redefine Africa’s place in global spaces and I’m hopeful that soon, the science and business worlds will make such significant contributions as well.
Lastly, there’s the much talked about youth bulge and the obvious advantage it presents by having the largest workforce and market in the world. I believe with the right information, stronger institutions and demanding better governance overall, African youth have a chance, better than any other before, to completely transform the continent.
4 If you could be anything else, what would you be? Is your singing career dead and buried?
I would probably be a high school physics teacher. In the last year, I’ve mentored high school girls and I’ve learnt that I really enjoy interacting with them.
With regard to singing, I sang background vocals for my friend Dela for about a year-and-a-half in the early stages of her career. I’m not certain that translates into a singing career.
I just had some spare time and enjoyed making music. I still enjoy music though – it’s just that I was never keen on performing. Definitely, dead and buried.
5 What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Spending time with my family, eating plenty of good food and reading a good book, and getting eight hours of sleep.