Stephen's Story: From Kisima to Internet Expert

Kisima student 2006-2009

Stephen was born and raised in Ngurunit, In Marsabit county. His father is a herdsman and his mother is a housewife. One of 8 siblings, he was the first in his family to go to secondary school.

Stephen remembers his first day at school, like it was yesterday! He described his experiences at Kisima as transformative and stated that his school years helped shape him into the person he is today. They sharpened his mental, social and academic skills and he gained immense knowledge, not just from the teachers, but also from the diverse community of students and non-teaching staff at the school.

When describing his experience, Stephen said “the different ethnicities represented at Kisima amazed me, and I learnt that we could live together, and are all similar in many ways! That was such an awakening for me!” Stephen explained that he came from a community, where women were not highly thought of. He didn’t appreciate that girls could actually compete with boys until he went to Kisima and was academically challenged by quite a number of them. Later these girls became his greatest learning buddies and friends.

He went on to explain that Kisima also taught him the virtue of self-sustenance. Taking part in growing some of the foods they ate, cleaning their own classrooms, doing their personal laundry and helping to maintain general cleanliness at the school taught him the greatest lesson in self-discipline.

Stephen excelled at Kisima, achieved a B+ at KCSE and was awarded a university place on a government funded scholarship. He went on to pursue a BSc degree in Computer Science at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology in Kakamega, Western Kenya.

Since graduating from university Stephen has worked with various organizations, both in the non-governmental and government sectors. At the time of writing, March 2023, he is working as a chief ICT officer for the local government in Marsabit county - his home county! It has given him immense pleasure serving his community and being involved in developing various innovative technologies implemented by the government including being part of the team that developed the syndromic livestock disease surveillance system and also being able to map some of the unmapped regions in the county using GIS. He also designed, maintained and managed the county government website.

In his own time, Stephen says he loves charity work and volunteering and has had various jobs and volunteer assignments within his community. He has worked on projects with both World Vision International and ILRI when they were piloting a new Index Based Livestock Insurance product in Northern Kenya. He also volunteered at his former primary school as an untrained volunteer teacher. At the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, he served as the president of the Rotary club of Marsabit Central. During that time, the club was able to support the health workers in Marsabit with masks, sanitizers and hand wash stations. He was also elected as a Trustee for the internet society of Kenya (ISOC KE) a society that aims for the internet to be open, globally connected, secure and trustworthy.

Stephen is now working towards improving his competencies and skills and has recently been admitted into the ALX software engineering course – a one year peer learning program that brings together a diverse group of young professionals in Africa.