Board Spotlight: David Mshila

An Interview with Kenyan Board of Trustees Chair

Serving others is what inspires me. Knowing that the environment for which you live in does not define you and that you can rise above such places, like informal settlements with all its disadvantages, and compete with the rest of the world with all their privileges that goes with it.

September 24, 2018

 How did you first get involved with CFK?

The first time I got involved with CFK was when I was appointed as the Chair for CFK Kenya. That was November 2014.  However, this was not the first time I came across CFK.  I had met with Rye and Salim,two of the Founders of CFK, way back in 2001 when I was the Project Manager for the GIZ/GOK Promotion of Children and Youth Project (PROSYR). They had come to pay a visit to the project. At that time, the PROSYR project was involved in building capacities for the workers working for children and youth organizations in Kenya.  Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA), where Salim was at that time, was one of the youth organizations that we were collaborating with in building capacities on how to engage the youth. I also knew about CFK from my younger brother who was the first Chair of the CFK Kenya who also has served in the US Board when he relocated to the Virgin Islands.

What do you wish others knew about CFK?

I would like people to know about the work which CFK is doing and has done since 2001, and the lives we have changed through our various project interventions. These projects include Prevention and treatment of communicable diseases; maternal and child health and nutrition intervention through Tabitha Clinic; Sports for peace, mobilization and development; and sexual and reproductive health education including life skills for young adults through youth empowerment programs.  Other areas which are equally important include talent spotting and development in all artistic fields and Community outreach as a channel for reach and engagement for all programs. People should also know that CFK is also a platform for scientific research and surveillance in conjunction with other partners such as CDC and AMREF; Training leaders through mentorship and the provision of academic scholarships and Promoting and widening access to quality education through developing linkages and partnerships.

 

David Mshila helps with the ribbon cutting grand opening at the Binti Pamoja Center alongside the High Commission of South Africa in Kenya on March, 21, 2018.

What have you gained from volunteering at CFK?

I have gained a lot working with CFK. The key area for me is the professional satisfaction knowing that the experiences I have gained throughout my working career has been helpful in assisting in the poor and marginalized people in Kenya by giving them hope and level playing grounds to enable them to improve their lives. My work in the informal settlements have been mainly dealing with what I call “hardware”, which is dealing with physical development of their human settlements. This also involved improving the living environment combined with capacity building (software) for the people. Here at CFK, we deal mainly with software, which involves developing capacities of people living in the informal settlements and not dealing with the physical structures or infrastructures where they live.

CFK will commemorate 20 years of partnership with the community of Kibera in 2021. What contributions do you think have been the greatest at CFK?

It’s difficult to name just one aspect because of the various programs which CFK carries out. The Tabitha Clinic, Binti Pamoja Center, Education programs, Socio-economic programs, and nutritional programs all have their unique stories as they touch different people. I believe that you have to have a holistic approach in dealing with challenges facing disadvantaged communities.  In this way, the CFK has reorganized its programs and that has provided motivation to the staff and I expect the numbers reached to increase tremendously in Kibera and our experiences replicated in other areas in Kenya and beyond.

What inspires you?

Serving others is what inspires me. Knowing that the environment for which you live in does not define you and that you can rise above such places, like informal settlements with all its disadvantages, and compete with the rest of the world with all their privileges that goes with it. The success stories which we have seen of many young people growing up in the informal settlements who have been exposed by various programs, which I have been privileged to be involved with, have become role models in the world also encourages me to do more. Susan Mueni is one of the many examples of young people who have been exposed and mentored through various programs I have been involved it.

What is your motto or personal mantra?

Do what is right, just and fair and knowing that transparency and accountability is profitable. We should always seek a win-win solutions in all that we do.

David attended the UNC World View conference held in Chapel Hill, NC, in September 2016. David is pictured here with Gloria Thomas, director of the Carolina Women's Center, and Delores Parker.

 

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