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Learner Spotlight: Meet Jesca

Jesca recently completed the newly launched Introduction to Conflict Sensitivity course on Kaya. We caught up with her to share her experience taking the course and learning plans for the future.

Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Jesca Awino, from Kisumu, Kenya. I am a graduate of Applied Statistics with Computing from Kabianga University, Kenya. I am a girl  enthusiast and peace advocate. I love volunteering and networking. I am a trained young woman mediator, peer educator, mentor/ facilitator, and Sexual Reproductive Health and Gender Based Violence (SRH-GBV) advocate.

What is your professional background and what do you currently do?

Currently I work as a Programs Coordinator with special support in Monitoring and Evaluation at Women Volunteers for Peace (WOVOP), a vibrant community based organisation led by young women dedicated to uplifting girls and young women at risk in their roles – through health promotion, peace education and security awareness in the Lake Region Economic Bloc of Kenya.

I also work with the Prince Child Development Foundation (PCDF) as the Country Team Lead in Kenya. My role at PCDF is to lead interventions on talent discovery and development. This has been a great opportunity for me to build collaborations and synergy between PCDF and other organisations that work towards nurturing talents.

Before my role at WOVOP and PCDF, I  worked as a mentor and a peer educator to adolescent girls and young women after COVID-19 hit in a program dubbed « Beyond COVID-19 » organised by Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB).

How did you first get interested or involved in humanitarian work?

I first got involved in humanitarian work after the COVID-19 pandemic that saw families in distress and turmoil not sure of how to feed and protect their families. Cases of gender based violence and gender inequality were rising each day. With a strong desire to help adolescents, girls and young women,  I joined CMMB as a mentor mother. During that time, issues of drug adherence was of great concern as most Adolescents Living with HIV were not able to access the facilities to get their medicines and some of them failed to take their medicines as prescribed.

Exposure to poverty and suffering, and some retrogressive beliefs hindered girls and young women from accessing the basic services and hindered efforts by girls to take part in important community discussions and being invited to decision making tables. Until now, I work towards creating an environment that is sustainable and peaceful for young women and girls to flourish and to be at the forefront in making decisions that affect them.

« Learning about Conflict Sensitivity has greatly changed my perspective of conflict and the risks posed by an aid intervention. » – Jesca Awino

How did you first hear about Kaya and what made you start your learning journey with us?

I came across Kaya on the Humanitarian Leadership Academy LinkedIn handle, I loved the course on conflict sensitivity and that’s how I embarked on this educational and inspiring journey.

I have so far undertaken the module on Introduction to Conflict Sensitivity and I am excited that I will be taking the course on Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) in Emergencies and  MEAL DPro: Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning for Development Professionals. This is because of the love I have for using data and research to inform decisions and push for policies that support and protect girls and young women.

What did you particularly appreciate about this course?

I am glad that in this course, gender dimensions was so well captured. This is important for inclusivity and diversified solutions to promote co-existence and the youths’ role in fostering a society characterised by intellectual understanding and mutual respect among all individuals. I’m grateful to the Humanitarian Leadership Academy for this amazing course. It’s relatable and practical for anyone working on aid interventions.

How has your learning changed your outlook, perspective, or approach to your humanitarian work?

Learning about conflict sensitivity has greatly changed my perspective of conflict and the risks posed by an aid intervention, which can stir and cause harm and dispute. Clearly, conflict sensitivity is not only applicable where there is dispute and should be integrated at every stage of a project cycle.

It’s true that conflict sensitivity is important even in the work that we do as a multifaceted organisation that aims at supporting young women and girls within Kisumu county in order to reduce risks and increase the chances of having a positive and sustainable impact of the different projects.

What’s next for you? What is your next professional goal?    

I am working towards expanding my skills and knowledge on managing aid interventions coupled with Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, Research and Learning expertise. I am also intentional about networking to build my visibility and expand my reach. This will then lead me to organisations that align with my professional goal.


Kaya East and Southern Africa Conflict Sensitivity

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