Sheila Aketch Orero
My name is Sheila Aketch. I was born and brought up in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.
Nairobi is a fast-paced and highly competitive city that hosts over 4 million people, in its 696 km2 land mass. With this huge population cramped up in a small space, the streets can be rough at times especially at the sight of slackness and laxity. This environment has undoubtedly shaped me into a resilient person; an aspect that has contributed to my life and survival in this city under the sun.
Just like any bustling metropolis in Sub Saharan Africa, the economy of this city is largely supported by the informal sector, which is a cushion to the formal sector. This inherently results into systemic inequality that is a stark characteristic of this city. As such, there is a slum next to a high-end estate, open sewers and lack of basic sanitation services as well as inequitable access to social services such as health, education and clean water. This background informed my early pursuits and built in me a desire to explore more on societal issues affecting humanity; something that has consequently informed my academic interests. I majored in Political Science and Sociology in my undergraduate studies at the University of Nairobi. I thus have a high level of mastery in political processes and their impact on society, as well as an understanding of the complex, confusing, yet charmingly simple nature of mankind and societal behaviour.
Professionally, I work in the ‘Not for Profit’ world in Kilifi County, an area along the coastal strip of Kenya infamous for high illiteracy and poverty rates. My work experience spans a variated mix of using donor funds to intervene in the social aspects of the community, particularly in improving the literacy rates amongst the citizens. This experience has given me a hands-on experience in the multidimensional nature of poverty; revealing a different variant of underdevelopment, marginalisation, and ignorance that is very different from what I experienced growing up in the city.
My story is that of a girl who fallen in love with her motherland Africa, hence my interest in African studies. From my academic and professional experiences, my interest in development issues has grown immensely. All these debates around development fan my passion. Additionally, my interest cuts across politics, democracy, humanitarian aid in Africa, gender equality, education, youth empowerment.
EIMAS allows me to contribute to the African development debates the African way; to bring on board African solutions to African problems. In the Harambee spirit to which I subscribe, EIMAS will empower me to contribute to my country's development. It allows me learn some of the best practices that can fast-track development in my country's context, in line with the tested methods and international agendas like the SDGs.