Leading courageously

Published August 14, 2014 by TATENDA

Yesterday l talked about trust and purpose. Today l would want to share the words which were summarised by one of the 23 MERITERS l was with during the entire 2 week World Merit Fellowship Program in the UK Jessica L. Cruse. She shared the words of Paul Payne, very inspirational insights he shared with all of us in the House of the Lords (British Parliament). 

l thought they would inspire everyone who is going to read this post:):):)

“In the grandeur of the Houses of Lords in Parliament, the World Merit team was both treated an blown away with words that moved us all. He inspired the words of the seed and the tree and today I’m honoured to share his exact words on Courageous Leadership.

Being a Courageous leader

How would one define a courageous leader?

If we were to delve into our imagination one could imagine a courageous leader to be a tall well built chiseled jaw kina guy. With a big sword, fearless eyes and big scar across his face to prove that he was as hard as nails. #braveheartmeetsleonidis

I think back to my childhood and the stories my mum used to share with me. As I reflect on the topic of courageous leadership, my mind takes me back to a particular story of a young Sheppard boy called David.

David no more than 12 at the time was tasked with fighting a 20 foot Giant by the name of Goliath. As He prepared for battle I can only image the opinions of the witnesses that stood by not quite believing that David was the best suited for this mammoth task. He never matched the prerequisites, he was inadequate… This is not the courageous leader we imagined would save us.

As young leaders we too are face with the same opposition. In front of us there are Goliaths that look us in the eyes and seek to oppress the world which we are in love with. More so beside and around us we can hear the whispers of critics that don’t believe we can do anything about these issues.

As I reflect and mull over David’s story I quickly discover that David teaches us five crucial lessons that I believe courageous young leaders must possess;

1. You must have vision bigger than yourself; David realized that saving the lives of thousands was far more important than preserving his own life.
Courageous leaders need to have a vision so big that the mission no longer becomes about them.

2. You must possess skill and character to accompany you on your journey of leadership; David was an expert hunter, he spend hours cultivating his craft and building his character
Courageous leaders must be competent, they must have skill, they must possess character. “If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.”

3. You must respect the gifts that are in your hands no matter how small. David had only a few stones and a sling shot but he saw it as enough.
Everybody has a gift no matter how small. Courageous leaders are able to recognize the big impact the little things can make.

4. You must empower others, so that they can be free and hold firmly to the vision also; David never went to meet Goliath without first sharing his dream with others.
Courageous leaders recognize that it takes an army to win a war not a single man.

5. You must be willing to sacrifice everything to see this vision come into fruition (even to the death.); David was willing to die so that his nation would be set free.

Courageous leaders are willing to lose everything in order to fight for the truth that they believe in.

I would define a courageous leader as one who refuses to be content with what they see around them and bold enough to fearlessly take that first step against the norm to see change happen.

The War Strategist Tao Tzu says “A journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step.”

Like David, are you willing to take the first step and carve out the path that will define your life?

And so you have to ask yourself three questions;
If not now, then when?
If not here, then where?
If not you, then who?

Many thanks
Paul Payne

TRUST AND PURPOSE!!!

Published August 13, 2014 by TATENDA

These two are concepts l have found to be the most influential in most of my endeavors. Throughout the 2 week program we had with the World Merit crew in the UK, I  have learnt to trust myself, my values and my colleagues (or those around me) so as to carry out actions that motivate my dreams.

I realized that purpose guides one to success. It enables one to plan, design and implement strategies that leads to success. I have observed that what made me realise that there was more to my student life than just studying and meeting new people when l started my undergraduate in 2011 was the strong sense of purpose. It was then that l felt l was mandated to act positive and bring changes to my community. Studying, socializing, community engagement, sports, IMPACT, CHANGE AND DEVELOPMENT all became part of my purpose. However, despite the enthusiasm and desire to facilitate global change, l had to foster trust and a strong belief in myself and my community that together we were going to march towards change. With the assistance of a combination of these two, l started seizing opportunities, forming groups, designing projects as well as joining youth global networks to encourage youth participation.

I must say I am where l am today (an AGENT OF CHANGE) because of my purpose, my desire to see youth being empowered and taking part in bringing solutions to worldwide problems. All the projects I have run so far were guided by my purpose and the trust l had built with my environment/ sphere of influence. The ability to work with others, to commit and to innovate are products of TRUST and PURPOSE. I remember the inspiring morning l had in  one of the youth leadership training sessions we attended in the House of the Lords (British Parliament). There was a gentleman called Paul who shared something interesting. His speech motivated and encouraged us to utilize and build upon these two utilizing VISION, SKILLS, WILLINGNESS, EMPOWERMENT and PERSISTENCE. As a social entrepreneur himself, who have been working closely with Lord Michael Hastings, his inspirational words are something that l am more than willing to share with as many youths out there as possible.

Again this month l started working on my Honours degree thesis which is basically centered on Youth Development. One of the most important message I got from my supervisors was that l had to pick a topic that not only interested me, but that which fulfilled my dreams and purpose. From the experience they have had, they noticed that a number of us youth get carried away by issues that seem fascinating but which has no ties with your dreams and desires. We tend to invest so much time and effort in things that ‘the world’ is doing not ‘what we want to do’. This had led to so many people creating and designing projects that never finish or that never solve any problem. We have to do that which we TRUST we can and perform those actions that align with our purpose. We actually should have a PURPOSE to achieve and attain the impossible. Let’s build trust amongst one another so that we work together towards development. I have learnt an important aspect in life which l would summarize “the more trust we have amongst ourselves, is the more joy and power we have towards building a strong sense of purpose. Trust and Purpose helps our society to eliminate bias, discrimination, gaps and classes.” We have the power to achieve more. We have to keep going!!!

Some interesting thoughts “OUR GENERATION” can utilise

Published August 8, 2014 by TATENDA

DSC_1209[1]So we were having a tour in London with my friends Namita Rajesh (INDIA) and Juliano Rzart (BRAZIL) and decided to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington. We went there to just see the historical and ancient civilisations’ objects but l ended up learning quite interesting aspects that can help the youth of the 21st century solve global issues that is facing our world today. Quite insightful and interesting thoughts. THEY INSPIRED ME:):) 

Disobedient Objects

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We do not need to obey every structure and law in the world especially if they are structures that tend to undermine the masses. Africa did not become free from colonization by obeying. The Mandelas, Nkrumahs, Lumumbas and Nyereres did not free Africa by obeying existing laws. If a law is not allowing the ‘girl child’ to access education then it must be fought against. lf a law is not giving a capable woman her rightful job position, then it ought to be questioned. lf so many people do not know or understand what global warming is, then they have to be taught and enlightened. It’s high time we stop over-looking objects and start questioning. One of my favorite inspiring quotes was by a man called Socrates which says “the un-examined life is not worthy living for a human being”. It is high time we realise that the greatest good of a man is daily to converse about virtue, and all that concerning as well as examining oneself and others.

Direct Action

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l would like to urge every youth from every part of the world to TAKE ACTION!!! It’s time we stand up for girls who are denied education because of traditions and religion. We need to free them from child marriages. It’s high time we run campaigns to represent all the children suffering in Sudan, Syria, Gaza, Congo and various war-torn areas. At times it might seem that we don not have the power (as we are not the ones in authority) but my belief is that what use is authority when they cannot take any action!! The power to change the everyday prejudices and suffering lies within us. If everyone of us learn the art of challenging existing structures to ensure world peace and development, then the generations to come shall live in a stress-free environment.

A multitude of Struggles

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There is no “one way” nor is there a single person who is capable of solving global problems. lt is our duty to facilitate and ensure global collaboration towards action. l dream of a world where we are connected and willing to work together towards peace. As one of the global leaders, Nelson Mandela, once said “our struggles only become worthy when we work together and there is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” There is no other better time for us to network, learn from each other, borrow ideas and craft solutions than today. THE HOUR IS NOW!!!

Solidarity

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Again l will keep on preaching for the spirit of “togetherness” As the young generation, we have to learn to appreciate one another. We have to stop racism and gender stereotypes and focus on fighting for a worthy cause. Imagine if 50 of us could run a ‘clean up campaign’ in a town to ensure a clean environment. Have you ever thought of how much an impact could we make if a 100 youths volunteer to teach (tutor) those children  in marginalised communities who cannot access education.How awesome would it be if we all learn the art of social entrepreneurship to better our economies and living standards. I DO BELIEVE IN US…..LET’S WORK TOGETHER.

Making Worlds

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As we make our ‘new world’ we ought not forget where we came from. All that we can achieve today is a product of our past. Let’s make use of our past to give birth to new structures. looking back enable us to envision a new better world, a world that does not repeat the same mistakes.

I believe this is going to inspire us all as we walk towards achieving the greatest ambitions. Together, we are going to impact the world!!!

Liverpool experience:first week of THE WORLD MERIT FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM:)

Published July 30, 2014 by TATENDA

DSC_0627I have always had a dream, a dream to visit as many places as l could, meet as many people as possible and learn diverse cultural practices.  Throughout my 23 years of living, l have met so many inspirational and insightful people, worked with various social organisations and have carried out a number of community engagement projects.

In my journey towards making a global impact, l found the World Merit Community (an organisation that seeks to address global challenges through the integration of youths across the world.) Earlier this year (March 2014), l applied for a Merit Next Program (which was a global challenge they erected to measure the degree to which Meriters (members of the WM community) were actively involved in their respective communities. From the 600+ applications from nearly 200+ countries that applied, l managed to be part of the World Merit Year Long Fellowship program.

I left Johannesburg (South Africa) on the 19th of July, flew through Paris and arrived in Manchester the early morning of the 20th.

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I felt so deeply moved and honored when l found the founder of WM, Chris Arnold, waiting for me and the other participants who have just arrived at the airport. It was such a warm a welcome. We drove from Manchester to Liverpool, exploring the magnificent city that l have never set foot in.

Liverpool, what a historical and fascinating city. From the great halls, to the cathedrals, docks, ships and the sea. It is indeed a beautiful city, one of the major ports of Europe.chur

 

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For the whole week, we stayed at a newly built 5 star replica of Stanley Dock, the Titanic Hotel. What l will remember most about this place is my first experience of the English heavy breakfasts and the lovely spacious rooms. It is also at this place that l managed to interact and exchange cultural views with the other Agents of Change (as we are now called). Almost every continent had a representation. We had young vibrant youths from Brazil, Ukraine, India, Bangladesh, New Zealand, UK, Netherlands, Pakistan, Lithuania, Zambia, Nigeria, Philippines, Italy and Canada. It felt so great to design global solutions from a diverse world perspective. It was so easy and motivational to relate issues of climate change, gender equality, economy, health, politics etc to real life situations.

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Not only did we interact among ourselves and enjoyed the daily tours of the city but we also got a chance to interact with a number of powerful and successful business icons of Liverpool. The WM team provided us a very good learning platform. On our first night, we went to the West Tower, the tallest building in Liverpool.

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Right on the 40th floor is where we had a chance to meet, listen, ask and interact with John Kennedy who is one of Liverpool’s most successful men.

John Kennedy told us how he established his construction company, the obstacles he met, the kind people he had to interact with and the strategies he has been using over the years to keep his business growing and sustainable. The man managed to strengthen the entrepreneurial mindset in a number of us and we could see that although the path towards development is not easy, it is achievable. One of the things that he said that l will forever remember is that “l have to be my own collateral in almost every aspect of life. It is my passion and purpose that are key stepping stones towards success.”

We also interacted with men like Mike Southon and Tim Slack who are also quite successful and inspirational people. They also guided us on how to work as teams and create entrepreneurial ideas.To add on to the awesome and educational experience, we also got a chance to visit archives and the church that have kept records of one of the most successful entrepreneurs of Liverpool, the Beatles. We learnt how the four men (John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr) formed their music group. The Beatles started as mere Liverpool club entertainers and a group of youngsters singing in church yards to global icons whose music was listed almost in every part of the world. The same night (22 July 2014) we also went to THE CAVERN CLUB to have fun and witness more of the legacy left by the Beatles.

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Days kept on moving and each day had its own surprises and inspirations. On Thursday the 24th of July, the WM community celebrated World Merit Day 2014. WHAT A DAY IT WAS!!! The event was epic and quite extra-ordinary. Apart from the music, artistic performances and world affairs debates, l met my two most inspirational people, Sir Ken Robinson and Malala Yousafzai. Sir Ken Robinson gave some quite insightful arguments and thoughts on how to tackle global education problems and how, we, as humans/active global citizens, can improve our global participation and engagement in reaching out to needy communities. One of the words he said that will forever remain engrave in my heart was that people who transform themselves can transform the entire world and that it‘s not enough to be good at something. You have to love doing it!!!”

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What made the day even more memorable is the one on one interaction we managed to have with Malala (a very young, passionate and strong education female global activist). We had a discussion on how best us as the youths can address the global issue of denial and poor/no access to education by youths across the world particularly the developing world. The interaction has always been my dream and having the chance not only to see but also talk with Malala is one the greatest memories l am going to keep. We asked questions, shared ideas and explored the other global issues facing nations like wars, poverty and economic crises. I thanked her for sharing her bravery with the world, and l now know that her thoughts are my own. We must work together. We must do it online. We must do it offline. Most importantly, we must be brave and follow our hearts.

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The event also gave me a chance to interact with one of the England’s strong politicians Lord Michael Hastings. This man is the KPMG Global Head of Corporate Citizenship Previously the BBC’s first Head of Corporate Social Responsibility. Michael is a non-executive Director of British Telecom (on the Board for Responsible and Sustainable Business) and a Trustee of the Vodafone Group Foundation. He represents KPMG International on the Global Corporate Citizenship International Committee of the World Economic Forum and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development. Although we had a bit of different (conflicting) views on world politics, we strongly had a strong same view on world economics and how best can countries work towards eradicating poverty. I felt so honored and will forever be grateful for the chance to get exposed to such a well-informed and intellectual man.

After Liverpool we travelled to Chester. We stayed at Simon Preston’s (one of the WM partners and co-founder) home. WHAT A LOVELY HOME!!!:)J. The lovely garden, the flowers, food and the warm caring Mrs. Preston who welcomed us with all her heart. The night we spent there was a memorable night. Each of us felt at ease and it was a perfect resting place after the long tiring week experiences.

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On the 26th of July, we went to Snowdonia in Wales for camping. We played games, explored the jungle and ate Welsh food. The following morning we went to climb one of England’s tallest mountains, Mount Snowdon. The experience helped me understand the importance of team work. If a number of people agree on working together towards achieving the same goal and fulfilling the same purpose provides a deep insight in any given situation. It allows a group to produce efficient results.

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All in all, l must say the experiences were great, fun, educational and informing. THANK YOU WORLD MERIT!!!

 

My adventures in the first half of the year 2014

Published July 30, 2014 by TATENDA

When l was browsing through the internet earlier this year (January 2014) l came across the Student Competitions website. I saw so many competitions, essay writing, business plans, global ambassadors, environmental projects, debates among a numerous more. As l kept browsing and researching, l saw WORLD MERIT!! (www.worldmerit.org )

As soon as l registered, l got so excited. I remember the first 2 people l communicated with {Eness Mayondi and Andrea Bartoletti} who introduced me to the hub and helped me understand the real purpose of World Merit. As someone who have been so much involved in community engagement programs both at my university (Monash South Africa http://monash.ac.za/student-life/volunteering/ ) and at Higherlife Foundation (http://www.higherlifefoundation.com/ ), l found World Merit as the perfect social hub that would equip me with the skills l needed to impact my world.

I joined so many groups that all had ways to address the social, economic and political debates of the world. I met so many passionate and very active youths from across the world. Today (both on the hub and on other platforms of social media) l have friends from nearly over 150 different nations!! I have come to realize it’s quite helpful and insightful to be a well-informed global change maker. You get to know about real world challenges and understand the different cultures which exist worldwide by interacting/ getting first-hand information. It becomes so possible to design solutions and global plans to address existing global problems if people interact. I have always believed that the world can only become a better place if people, particularly the youths are given an opportunity to interact as well as get access to resources. What made me happy was that there was so much interaction on the World Merit hub, the debates with Simon Penhallow, the social actions and marches carried out by meriters, the encouraging posts and comments as well as the exchange of cultural customs.

Then there was the Merit Next application. I saw it as a promising event that would not only allow me to travel, but to meet world leaders and actively engaged youths so as to design plans that would change our communities. I saw it as an opportunity to go share ideas as well as gain knowledge and learn. When l started the application, l did it not only for the sake of winning, but l took it as a platform to get my ideas known. I put all effort to make sure that I expose the real challenges Africa is facing so as to get people into discussing possible solutions. As someone who grew up in rural Zimbabwe where education was never deemed that important (especially for girls), where  computers was a rare luxury and electricity a dream to come true, l have always wanted to better my nation’s living conditions. After realizing how l have come to understand world politics and diverse cultures through use of social media, l imagined how life would be for those l left in those most remote parts of my nation. I only started interacting with meriters because l had a computer and internet. The first idea that struck my mind was ‘INTERNET’, the right to access technology.

In February (2014), together with a bunch of friends, l started designing plans to run an ‘Internet for All’ project. I remember communicating with my university community engagement management, club presidents and other organizations that l have once volunteered at. I so wanted to make sure that l erect Resource Centers/ Internet Hubs in Zimbabwe as well as South Africa’s most marginalized areas. I knew that the only way l could know the real impacts lack of internet access had on communities was to have a one on one interaction with the affected people. My project plan was to either offer technical skills to those who had access to computers but didn’t know how to usefully utilize them as well as try find ways of getting computers for those communities who didn’t have any. On my 23rd birthday, which was on the 15th of March (the birthday l will forever remember and value), l had my first reach out campaign. With my friends, we visited 2 orphanages and spent the day interacting with nearly 70 youths. We helped with cleaning and cooking then had a session of interaction. We communicated with their matrons and founders and told them about our idea of making sure that youths get actively involved in world affairs by being given the opportunity to get access to the social media.

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This day marked the beginning of a great journey. The following weeks were packed with community tours as well as partnerships with other community engagement clubs at Monash South Africa. I also went on to create a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/worldmeritinternetforall/timeline ) where we share our ideas and invite friends to join our cause. These social actions led not only to my growth and self-fulfillment but also to securing a place for me on the World Merit Fellowship Program. I am going to be in the UK (2014) and US (2015). It is going to be a fully packed and interactive year that will give me a chance to meet global players. I am meeting Malala Yousafzai, Lord Hastings, Jack Healey, Katie Piper among other inspirational world leaders.

On the 17 of July 2014, l also got the privilege to be invited to attend the UNITED NATIONS MY WORLD GLOBAL CAMPAIGN YOUTH ADVOCATE FORUM. Junior Chamber International (JCI) South Africa in conjunction with the United Nations My World Global Campaign seeks to bring the People’s Podium (the UN Podium-Signed by the United Nations Secretary-General). As part of the celebrations, JCI South Africa hosted a panel discussion, in the format of the UN parliamentary discussion. Its purpose was to engage young active leaders in identifying existing problems, designing global plans and discussing possible solutions to address day to day issues. I enjoyed the debate. It was educational and quite insightful.

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July is a month that Nelson Mandela is celebrated. As part of its celebrations for the Mandela month, my university’s community engagement team decided to run a book collection campaign. After communicating with dozens of book publishing houses and individuals, we saw thousands of books being shipped to Monash. The main purpose of this drive was to supply books to schools in nearby marginalized communities so as to foster education. Apart from assisting in organizing the drive, l also made it a priority that l collect the books during my trip to the UK…With the other Agents of Change, we are planning on running a fundraising event to raise money to get them shipped not only to South Africa, but also Bangladesh. We are doing this to enhance development. We believe that education is the key to success.

It has been a wonderful first half of the year 2014……l am enjoying the journey and will remain up on my feet. I will continue fostering my Motto- CHANGE….INNOVATION…..ENGAGEMENT.