Terry Kigundu grew up in Embu county in Kenya, around 120 kilometers from the capital of Nairobi. “We did not have the privileges of the urban dwellers such as good health facilities, infrastructure, good schools, among others,” says Terry. Kenya is ranked 76th out of 149 countries in the 2018 World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report. The challenges faced by women in Kenya span from access to education through to formal sector jobs and representation in government. Through her life experience, Terry tapped into a growing need for greater empowerment and representation of women at every stage of society in Kenya and worldwide. She reflects that her “deepest struggle is when I see women excluded in decision-making processes right from the household level to the national agendas.”
In September 2015 Terry had the opportunity to join the Africa Center for Transformative and Inclusive Leadership (ACTIL), which was founded in 2013 through a partnership between UN Women Eastern & Southern Africa Region and Kenyatta University. ACTIL develops strategic and transformational leadership capacities of emerging national leaders with a focus on women and youth. Terry is a key contributor to the organization’s growth and a versatile trainer, with broad experience in meeting the needs of target audiences. As Program Manager, Terry plays a key role in skills assessment, curriculum development, partnerships management, resource mobilization and designing monitoring and evaluating programs. As her career blossomed she connected with her personal and career mentor, Fatou Lo, and mapped out her five-year plan. Through this process, she identified key skills gaps and searched for resources to meet her goals: “I was looking for cost-effective, online and self-paced programs that would align well with my current lifestyle and work; then I found the Philanthropy University online platform.”
With 10 Philanthropy University courses under her belt, Terry has become an invaluable resource for her organization and her community. With the skills she learned taking courses like Fundraising Strategies and Connecting with Donors Terry secured USD 9,000 in funding for resource mobilization training for ACTIL’s board and staff. After taking our Stakeholder Engagement Strategies course Terry is now developing a stakeholder strategy for ACTIL, including leading training on stakeholder engagement and partnership management. Beyond her organization Terry has also stepped up to help a colleague’s ill husband, raising USD 18,000 via WhatsApp in just 10 days.
The future is bright for Terry. Her inspiring story is a reminder of the impact each of us can have in our communities provided the right resources. In addition to her work at ACTIL, Terry has also founded a community-based organization called BEM-NET. With this organization, she has already impacted the lives of over 200 women through socio-economic empowerment programs. She is using the skills learned from her Philanthropy University courses to grow this personal venture. “I’m already referring my friends, colleagues and mentees to Philanthropy University,” she says.“Keep up the good work!”