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Welcome Tony: Our International Development Trainee

Tony joined the international team last month, as an International Development Trainee. He currently lives in Nairobi, Kenya, but has new plans to move to California, US this fall to begin his Master in Development Practice at UC Berkeley, on a full-ride scholarship🎉 👏

Since joining Konexio last month, I've been blown away by the dedication of everyone here. It's been incredible and I can't wait to see what we'll achieve together." says Tony. 

We had a chat with Tony to learn more about his experiences and aspirations.

1.     Please tell us a bit about you. What is your current position and what was your journey before Konexio?

My name is Tony and I am an International Development Trainee. I am a Kenyan. However, I was an exchange student to the US in a high school 1-year fully sponsored (YES) program. This was foundational in my passion for community development. I thereafter completed my undergraduate in Development Studies at an American university here in Nairobi. I traveled to both Uganda and Rwanda on research-based programs as well. 

Professionally, I have been engaged in community development and empowerment programs for marginalized groups in Kenya. This is particularly through grant funding and project management on improving access to education, water and sanitation, and health services for informal settlements in Nairobi. These programs were funded directly by the US State Department and impacted mostly women and young people living in informal areas of Nairobi and Embu Kenya. I have also worked directly with the UN agencies in evaluation of their humanitarian and development programs in Kenya, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.

2.     What inspired you to join Konexio?

I met Fidel, the International Programs Coordinator, during a social gathering I had organized back in Nairobi. He introduced me to Konexio and at the mention of refugees, my interest was piqued. I looked up the organization and noticed the high-impact results in empowering refugees towards self-reliance. This was what I was looking for. It’s easy to dismiss this after working with bigger organizations at the forefront of the humanitarian and development environment. However, as a junior monitoring and evaluation professional, you often took a backseat.

​With Konexio, this would be different. I felt a sense of inclusion in influencing decisions that directly impacts the lives of refugees. Additionally, Konexio provides a solution to a significant challenge facing refugees worldwide. The ever-increasing legal barriers to accessing empowerment opportunities, particularly through livelihood skills training and linkage to the labor market. From there lies my inspiration to join Konexio.

3.     What are you most excited about for the upcoming months?

In the coming months, I am excited about Konexio’s registration as an INGO in Kenya. This will open a floodgate of opportunities including scaling up the empowerment programs, expanding partnerships and collaborations, and elevating the impact of Konexio for marginalized groups in Kenya, particularly women, refugees and young people. I’m also excited to start my Master in Development Practice later this year at the University of Berkeley, California, US.

4.     What excites you outside of academic and professional responsibilities?

I am excited by a good day which often involves lots of sunshine, a new recipe, good gym session, and gardening. I enjoy playing the piano. If I can’t play, then I’ll listen to a classical playlist by Mozart, Beethoven or Bach.

5.     What do you hope to contribute to Konexio?

With Konexio expanding its physical presence to Kenya, I’m hoping to contribute to enhancing resource mobilization and collaboration with international partners presently in Kenya. One of the  challenges Konexio has had is limited funding opportunities due to limited presence in Kenya. The current process of registration  of Konexio in Kenya will be significant in scaling up opportunities for partnership in empowerment of marginalized groups in Kenya

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