Never EVER underestimate the power of dreaming big. You may be going hungry right now, sacrificing a lot to be a better person tomorrow and I just want to assure you that it’s not in vain.
A host of exciting stuff has happened in my life over the past six months, and I’ll highlight the BEST five and the lessons I got from them. Be inspired!
1. BBC Komla Dumor Award 2018 shortlisting
I must admit that this one came as a shocker! It was especially heartwarming since the last BBC job I applied for? I got rejected at the final interview. I remember that evening I was super nervous. The interview was held at some residence in Karen and the cold was not helping out either.
The panel was rigorous. My 23-year-old-self had been used to entertainment content and here I was, struggling to showcase my knowledge in serious political, business and high level editorial judgement. However, if given the chance again, I would definitely get the job!
That was in October last year. Fast forward to 16th April 2018, I got an email that made me realize just how much potential I had.
“Thank you for applying for the BBC World News Komla Dumor award. I am delighted to inform you that you have reached the next stage.”
The next weeks were tough; I had to get necessary documents and make a video submission showcasing my prowess in broadcast. This is a prestigious award which aims to uncover and promote fresh talent from Africa.
The winner gets to spend three months at the BBC headquarters in London, gaining skills and experience. The award was established to honour Komla Dumor, an exceptional Ghanaian broadcaster and presenter for BBC World News, who died suddenly aged 41 in 2014.
This was a dream come true. The fact that I submitted less than an hour to the deadline still wows me!
2. Forbes Africa 30Under30 nomination
Now this one was just…so, so unexpected. When I started blogging back in May 2012, I was directionless. I had a job that paid less than $90 per month. I used to live in Mathare North, a slum located along Thika Road. Despite everything, I made a point to save whatever little money I could and ended up buying my first ever PC, a Dell OptiPlex GX520. I still have it to date!
I then forged a better way forward. After asking a close friend for an interview about her music, one thing led to another and I led to another and I landed my first ever interview with a public figure. Guess who it was? Anita Nderu, who is currently a radio personality with Capital FM and was among the BBC 100 Women in 2017.
Time went by fast and I landed my first ever media internship with the now defunct Destination Magazine. I learnt how to create content worth reading; my boss would have Skype calls with international celebrities – think of Taraji P. Henson, Tyler Perry, Avril Lavigne, Scarlet Johansson, and many others.
After my placement ended – for which I hadn’t studied, by the way – I got my first ever media job. My stint at Mpasho News was exciting. I got a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I worked with the who-is-who in the African entertainment scene. On the side, I ran my PR firm, Tranquil Communications, which is home to Best Model Reviews Africa, a fashion modeling magazine.
It is through this brand I do media relations for celebrities, public figures and companies. Tranquil Models is my model management outfit; I give models training, ready them for the fashion and entertainment industry. I seek to create decent work opportunities for young, smart and beautiful ladies.
When I got the nomination email, I did not believe it!
I hope this finds you well?
It is with great pleasure to inform you that you were nominated and have been shortlisted for the 2018 Forbes Africa 30under30 list. This annual encyclopedia of creative disruption will this year feature 90 young stars in 3 different industries. Selecting these youthful visionaries is a year-round obsession: We vet thousands of nominations, leaning on the collective wisdom of our online community, ace reporters and a panel of A-list judges. Year on year, this list continues to spotlight the impressive, the inspiring and the (genuinely) enviable.”
This made me super, super, super excited. I cannot thank you enough for your continued support.
Tranquil Communications, hard work, passion to create change in my society and believing in God are what made me get nominated for the Forbes Africa 30Under30 list in 2018, alongside the likes of Cassper Nyovest, Herieth Paul, Davido, Wizkid, Nasty C and others. I may not have made it to the final list – due to lack of some urgent, crucial documents – but I am sure fire God has even bigger plans for me!
3. I became the Country Ambassador for Youth Opportunities!
At the center of my blogging has always been creating educational content that inspires my fellow young people and gives them practical knowledge on how to succeed in their careers. This made me land the role of Country Ambassador for Kenya with Youth Opportunities, the largest opportunity discovery platform for youth around the globe.
“Dear Harun Momanyi,
Greetings from Youth Opportunities!
We are pleased to inform you that you have been selected as a Country Ambassador of Youth Opportunities for Kenya. We received more than 2000 applicants and after a rigorous evaluation, we selected you because of your outstanding leadership potential.
The organization has its headquarters in Dhaka, Bangladesh. YouthOp.com is visited by millions of young people who seek access to life changing opportunities.
I am honored to be the Country Ambassador for the brand, and I will do my best to serve young people in my country!
4. I was made a Global Schools Ambassador by UN SDSN – Youth!
Back in September 2017, I got an email from United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN Youth) with a warm message.
Thank you for applying to become a Global Schools Ambassador at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Youth Initiative (SDSN Youth).
I am delighted to inform you that your application has been successful and we would like to invite you to join our program.”
The next 9 months would entail rigorous training on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). In June 2018, I was among the 57 Global Schools Ambassadors who graduated, down from over 100 who underwent the selection process.
The program is in support of UNESCO’s Global Action Program on Education for Sustainable Development (GAP-ESD).
My role, alongside the other ambassadors will be “empowering schools and teachers globally to educate children about the SDGs.”
The vision of the program is to generate interest about sustainable development in schools in an effort to educate and engage students with the SDGs and to encourage them to prioritize the goals in their lifestyles, behaviors, education and professional careers as these goals provide framework for a better world that children could live in the future.
The program aims to do this by transforming learning environments globally and making schools the hubs of education and leadership on SDGs, ultimately becoming vehicles for empowering and mobilizing students and young people to help implement the SDGs in their communities.
I am excited to be a Global Schools Ambassador!
5. I got admitted to the African Leadership University!
Earlier this year, I was watching a live Instagram video by Elodie Zone, a popular Kenyan Youtuber. She was speaking about her experience at the African Leadership College in Mauritius. She was encouraging guys to apply. I gave it a shot! It was a flawless process. I gave the essays my all.
After many weeks, I got an exciting email from the institution!
Congratulations, you have been offered conditional acceptance to ALU! – read the subject line!
“We are very proud to make you a conditional offer of admission to African Leadership University for the entering class of 2018. You were selected from thousands of applicants and we are excited to welcome you to the ALU family. We strongly believe that your application is a testament of the potential you have to succeed at ALU. We look forward to walking on a journey with you over the next few months as you prepare for ALU and for your move to campus.”
As you read this, I am working VERY, VERY hard to make sure that I move to Kigali and advance my studies. That does not mean that I will not be blogging anymore. In fact, it means that I will have more time as I recently quit my full time job as a journalist because of unavoidable reasons. I also felt that I needed to lead a more purposeful life; one that impacts the society in a more positive way.
I felt that I need to five back to the society. And here we are, I am coming for that BA (Hons) Entrepreneurship!
Stay awesome and keep praying. Your dreams will become true someday!