Leadership Symposium - August 2015


The day began with the introduction of new Scholars, the new Beacon Kenya Rep Linda Akach, and visitors, including Mentors from two new Beacon Schools.


Dr Susan Kiragu-Kanayo, one of the Founders of Children in Freedom - an NGO dedicated to educating impoverished children - then kicked off proceedings with an address to Scholars and the Beacon Community.

Susan believes in the possibility of 'A New Africa', where Africa rises to its full potential and people own and put into practice the concept of ubuntu - 'I am who I am because of who we all are'. She passionately believes that Africa can and will return to being the giver, inventor and global leader that it once was. Her presentation outlined the achievements of African leaders and the continent's rich ancestry and heritage. The main message of Susan's talk was that every African needs to 'fill the gap', i.e. take what is within themselves, their own special gifts, and use these to effect change in society - rather than relying on external aid and donors. Her exhortation to the Scholars was to think what power they have within, which they can bring out to take action and spearhead change in society - the 'Power of One'.

"Wake up! Fill your Gap!" was the rallying cry.


Q&A - Dr. Susan Kiragu-Kanayo



The Symposium had as its centrepiece Scholar presentations of their Citizenship Projects. All Scholars made presentations; new Scholars spoke briefly about past citizenship activities.

BEACON SCHOLAR              


Gloria Tergat Child literacy
Lem Mbaga Unclean water
Rosa Kimweli Water use and transportation

Betty Kunyada &

Lawrence Mutua

Deaf children
Joy Lelei Street children
Malaika Njema Tree conservation
Matilda Ndinda Animal conservation
Grace Muema Dog welfare
Jeremie Basset Art with orphans













The day began with the Trustee Address by Ajay Sood. He described progress over the last year with the signing of 4 new Beacon Schools, the launch of The Beacon Scholarship for University, the awards to new Beacon Scholars, new staff joinings including new UK Coordinator Jean Cooke and new Kenya Rep Linda Akach, a sponsor for the University Scholarship, and the formation of the Beacon Parents Association. 

Looking ahead, he suggested that growth would be slower and more difficult as the Beacon moves beyond the 'start-up/project' phase to the 'development' phase. He outlined four key initiatives:

  1. Fundraising: to enable growth beyond the existing capacity of 19 Schools Scholarships (currently 13) and 2 University Scholarships (currently 1).  The search for funding within Kenya has proved slow, so the process will now begin overseas.
  2. Leadership Events: evolving to 3 events per year:
    1. Personal Leadership Skills Workshop (1 day, February, Scholars only) - focusing on 'skills development modules'. This is a work-in-progress and an external consultant is helping construct the programme.
    2. Team-building and Team-working (1 day, April, Scholars only) - will be outsourced to a third-party provider.
    3. Citizenship and Community (2 days, August, full Beacon Community) focusing on presentations of summer citizenship projects, with outside speakers from the community and the business/government/professional services world.
  3. Leadership Assessment: evolving the process for assessment of new and continuing scholars to incorporate more leadership-focused criteria. Third-party consultant advising.
  4. Non-UK Universities: this evolution is dependent on fundraising and partnerships. Will strategically enable Beacon introduction into top 8-4-4 schools for direct entry into non-UK universities (8-4-4 students currently require an additional 'Foundation Year' of study before entry into UK universities).

The Trustee address concluded with how the Beacon Community could support continued development:

    1. Referral/feeder for strong candidates for The Beacon Scholarship
    2. Build strong parent mentor network
    3. Follow values of the Beacon – especially clear communication and transparency

ADDRESS - CHARLES MURITO, Country Manager Google

Charles Murito, Country Manager Google, was then invited to address the audience. He inspired Beacon Scholars with ideas from his own background and from practices within Google:

    • do whatever schools require you to do
    • work hard, 'sweat it'
    • the 3 key qualties for success: Attitude, Ability & Ambition
    • try to find a mentor who can guide you (his own is 87 years old and still guiding him!)
    • look for learning opportunities online eg Khan Academy - 'technology has democratised learning'
    • don't let what you study define your future job or life - there are powerful careers beyond the traditional ones of medicine, law, engineering
    • use the principle Google applies to its projects: 'Moonshots' or 'Ten X Thinking'; aim far higher than what you think you can achieve
    • become the best in the world, not just in Kenya, Africa


Q&A - Charles Murito



Before lunch parents/guardians/sponsors met to discuss Parents' Association direction and initiatives, and Scholars started work on their new academic year Target Sheets. The Community and Trustees also presented Scilla Davey, outgoing Kenya Rep, with messages of appreciation and thanks.


Finally, the last afternoon was devoted to 'Direct Experience' - i.e. an external visit to a community-level activity. The group split into 3, and a mix of Scholars, parents and Beacon Staff went to:

1. a Biogas project;

2. the KSPCA;

3. the children's cancer ward at Kenyatta National Hospital.


Click here for more photos of the event