When perusing the dictionary, the word “creative” may be accompanied by a photo of the energetic facilitator of learning; Christine Kerubo Owinyi who has combined her strong level of confidence and a blazing spirit as a means to realize her goal of building global innovative alliances and partnerships. Her Motto “Going Beyond the Obvious” gives her the passion to purpose to make a difference anywhere she happens to find a landing. She has spearheaded several programs in Kenya ranging from Education for Sustainable Development, Teacher Professional Development, Competence Based Education, Education Management to founding the Community Uplifting Programs (CUP) company Limited whose eye is on talentpreneurship- Empowering communities through talent development.
Through her diligent efforts as facilitator and mentor, Owinyi has received numerous invitations to facilitate learning including the highly valued festival in the United Kingdom for the Jews; Limmud at Birmingham and the Launching of African- UK partnership in Manchester parallel to her usual business of capacity developing education managers across Kenya. She has lectured at Kenya Education Management Institute, Kisii University, Maasai Mara University and taught English and literature in English to High school learners in Kenya. A dynamic personality with wisdom and experience who pours her talents as a highly gifted speaker into audiences across the nation and beyond, sharing inspirational stories of success, failure, persistence, hard work and how one can inculcate a positive; permanent shift in the quality of life.
A much sought after national advisor and motivational speaker, who is currently stationed at Kenya Education Management Institute (KEMI) as the in-charge of Education for Sustainable Education (ESD) Program.
Owinyi is a Doctorate student of Education Planning and Management at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, holds Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees in Education from Egerton University. She also holds a Diploma in Education for Sustainable Development and a Certificate in Teacher Professional Development both by MASHAV of Israel.
Education for Sustainable Development
Teacher Professional Development
Life Coaching and Mentoring
Human Resource Management
Consultancy and Field services
Financial literacy skills
Digital Literacy skills
Leading, Supervising and Management
Competency Based Learning
Ability to work with diverse groups
Entrepreneurship (knowledge and skills)
Facilitating learning using the 21st Century Skills
Experience and training in Education Management
Networking and resource mobilization skills
Research, photography and reporting skills
Monitoring and Evaluation expertise
Arbitration, Communication and Collaboration skills
Talent Development- Creative arts, Journalism, Music and Drama
Community awareness and engagement
MY FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH THE EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CONCEPT
Barely one month after joining the Kenya Education Management Institute as a National Management Lecturer, we were informed that we were going to have an in-service training by facilitators from Israel. I did not know that this was the beginning of a new circle in my life. On a Monday morning, Yudith, Eyal, Michael and Dani came into the facilitation room. The manner of introduction was so unique, almost like that one of my first day in a university. We were told to get an adjective that started with the same letter as our names and said something about us. I quickly picked on CREATIVE, so I was- Creative Christine. The others did the same till we all had introduced ourselves.
What followed was to reorganize the facilitation room so that we all sat in one circle and we were told that, that was so to make us equal. I had never been to a class where the teacher wants to be in the same level as the learner. This striked me. Leave that aside, We all turned out to be creative because each one of us was given an opportunity to do something. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) had been introduced to us. I took up the role of a rapporteur and the facilitators were impressed with my work. I was ready to follow instruction and do my best during the facilitation.
The lead facilitator who is the Director of Aharon Ofri Centre in Israel, asked me whether I would like to go to Israel to learn more about ESD. I was hesitant because it was already programmed in the institute on who was to be next to go to Israel. I was only two months old in the institute and probably, I was not going to be allowed to. I told her I wish I could get that opportunity but it might be difficult from my side. She assured me that she could talk to my Director to let me go to Israel the following year.
When the time came, she did as she had promised. However, I was informed that the institute was only going to give me permission to be away for the course, but there was no financial support available for me. I decided to take up the challenge and requested my husband to assist me raise money enough for the air ticket since Mashav was going to pay for all the other expenses. In March 2016, I went to Israel to learn ESD in a deeper way. I met other participants from Kenya, Lesotho, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania and Ghana; I did not even have money to buy a gift for my husband leave alone my children. When the time came, all my documents were approved and that became my second trip abroad but my first trip out of Africa.
My adventure in Israel
While in Israel, many things happened that made me to resolve to Make a Difference (MAD) as soon as I went back home. We were studying and analyzing the different aspects of education for Sustainable Development to enable us acquire new knowledge and skills as well as new experiences through conferences, debates, professional visits, sit in lectures just to name a few. The course staff included:
Aharon Ofri International Training Center Staff: Yudith Rosenthal- Director, Damian, Ariel and Ms. Noa David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem: Dr. Michal , Eyal and Dani.
I remember during one session, Ariel; a facilitator, asked us , Given 30 seconds, how many times can you jump on one leg?’
Each one of us assumed we knew, some said; 10,5,15,3, and even 1. I had said 10.
Next we were asked to do it practically, believe me, I did jump up to 96.
Then the lesson to be learnt was- “Limitation is in the mind” since that day, I promised myself not to look at myself as small, young, new …name them and just do it.
Another challenge we were given during a different session during on the spot training in Kenya by Mashav on Teacher Professional Development (TPD) was on reflection and reevaluation.
WE were given different makes of Cars in pictures and each one was asked to take time to pick on one.
We were told to study the car we picked and see whether there wa any relationship between the car and us. I had picked a white range rover. I looked at how the car was sparklingly white, I thought that was my heart. Clean but usually gets to muddy places hop[ing to help someone. Usually the people I go to help smear me with mud allover, but when I get home I wipe myself clean and remain white. I learnt that despite how good your intentions are, there will always be someone who wants them to look dirty but I must resolve to continue wiping the dirt and remain clean.
My success story
This and many other lessons, I learnt from Mashav facilitators motivated me to start making an impact in my country. Despite having no major position in my institution, I was able to earn myself a title of ESD Kenya from my colleagues and students because; I started practicing what I learnt in Israel soon after landing in Kenya.
This is always part of my introduction in all my lessons:
It’s not enough to have a lot of knowledge or information in the Head. What is important is having it in the Hear, in a sense, have passion for it and then it will be easy to have it done using your hands. This is truly transformative.
MASHAV facilitators from Israel have trained more than 150 Kenyan educators on ESD in the past five years and some of the trainees have seriously taken it up to implement the same in various learning institutions in Kenya. They too have trained more than 100 Kenyan educators on the different approaches of teacher Professional development in the past two years and the Teachers’ Service Commission of Kenya has taken up the responsibility of ensuring that all teachers are developed professionally.
The educators trained have further trained more others who are now trainers of trainers. I happen to be one of the master trainers in both ESD and TPD and I am happy that these courses did not get watered down but are effectively being implemented in Kenya.
Following the inspirational facilitation by MASHAV on ESD both in Israel and Kenya, In collaboration with other able facilitators, I have been able to coordinate and facilitate learning on ESD for more than 3,000 managers, educators, teachers, parents and learners in different forums in Kenya.
The institution I work for; Kenya Education Management Institute; where I am the Head of ESD unit has been able to establish at least 13 ESD model centres in different learning institutions in different parts of the country.
Kirimari Boys’ Secondary School
Garissa High School
Kivaywa Secondary School
Kiambu High School
Lions High School
Kwale High School
Machakos Boys’ High School
Allidina Visram High school
Hospital Hill Primary School
Nakuru Boys’ High School
MOi Nyeri Complex primary School
Garsen High School
RCEA Biwott Ngelel Tarit Sec. School
The centres are exceptionally doing amazing activities starting from enhancing good cultural practices, upholding moral values among learners and other stakeholders, innovatively reduce hunger and poverty by coming up with unique ways of producing food on a limited space with waste items. Others have gone into establishing water projects by coming up with a way of distilling dirty water to be good for drinking. I am happy to report that ESD has now found base in Kenya and there are a good number of people who are passionately running with it. Allow me to mention a small boy by the name Caleb, and a small girl Joy Wambere, both from Hospital Hill Primary school who have even introduced ESD to his parents and siblings at home apart from spearheading it in school.
I and my team at KEMI have been able to attract a donation of a greenhouse from the Israel Embassy in Kenya and we have planted tomatoes in it, we have also established a demonstration garden ouside the green house, established a botanical garden where we have planted different medicinal and fruit trees, established a herbal garden, a hanging garden and creatively reused used water bottles and other waste material to transform training rooms to be transformative. By so doing we have attracted a good number of tourists from different parts of the world including Israel, America, Djibouti, Madagascar, Kenya, Uganda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Comoros, Paris, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Sudan and Eritrea.
We have also received dignitaries from the ministry of education such as the Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary and the Director General among others.
ESD is the best way to promote peace at home, in school, everywhere because it touches the affective domain of life. We are able to be at peace with animals of all forms and habitats, plants, and people. This is by taking care of their environment and social- cultural aspects of life.
I am looking forward to be a Nobel Prize winner in the near future by promoting Peace through ESD to greater levels.
I KNOW IT; I LOVE IT; I DO IT.
Check me out on my Facebook pages; Christine Owinyi; Going Beyond and Education for Sustainable Development.