Nerima Wako born and
raised in Nairobi, Kenya. Nerima works for an international non-profit called
Search for Common Ground. She is also the founder of Visionaries Aloud which is
a platform for young people to showcase their talents and gifts. I believe that
there is a hero in everyone and often times, especially the youth, women and
underprivileged are underrepresented in the media. I wanted a space where these
visionary leaders could converge- a community of brilliant ideas and also to
encourage one another through moral support. I am also Co-Founder of Siasa
Place which is a political hub focused on mainstreaming women and youth into
politics. The vision of Siasa Place is to encourage those who shy away from
politics to actually see the important relation it has to our daily lives.
People need to be concerned about politics and we wanted a space to guide youth
and women on issues concerning politics.
In a nutshell, a
highly ambitious, passionate and flamboyant pan-African
WHAT FUELS ME?
Unique- I believe in
starting trends so definitely never do things ordinarily and you can see it in
how I dress.  I love the artsy unique
look, even in my work.
 Vision- having a vision is extremely important
to me.  I believe that the world is
created by visionaries and we all should have a vision that we are passionate
about and work toward achieving it. A higher calling in life other than living
to survive.
Learning- love
learning new things. Each and every day, I work on learning something new about
anything.
MY GREATEST INFLUENCE:
The greatest influence
would have to be recent. In April 2015, my younger brother was diagnosed with
kidney failure at the age of 25. He was in such a severe state that they took
him straight to the ICU when he arrived at the hospital. Doctors said that it
was a miracle that he was even alive for that long- they nicknamed him
‘Superman’.  Our whole lives changed now
to finding a donor for a transplant. The event changed me as an individual
immediately. You begin to question what life means to you and how you want to
spend your limited time on earth. I also discovered that I possess
selflessness, signing up to be a donor did not even cause doubt in my mind – I
knew I had to. I instantly learned the importance of time, its unpredictability
and the fear of death became irrelevant. What is the point of fearing death and
we must all pass through it? This in turn changed how I functioned- using every
minute and every hour put to great use, sometimes I feel I have more than 24
hours a day- because I use them that wisely.
MY TOP THREE ROLE MODELS:
Benazir Bhutto- 11th
Prime Minister of Pakistan, who was a powerful, influential, and brilliant. She
led with vision and passion and she was fearless. Even to the day she was
assassinated.
Patrice Lumumba- Prime
Minister of Congo, a visionary. He was able to unite Congo at the age of 35, a
fete that even the Belgians thought impossible.
Alice Wako- My mother,
she has been a constant pillar in my life. Always pushing me to the limit and
beyond. She has such great stamina and persistence- I get inspired by her.
IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS…..
I am aspiring to be a
political tactician. Politics plenty of times is not associated with women. I
want to be part of a new generation and encourage young women to enter
politics. Be ambitious, tactful and knowledgeable on continental matters. I
study different leaders from different countries to understand the different
leadership skills that they use to make better decisions. Honestly, I have
spoken to two people about this, but I do need to hold myself more accountable
and ask them to keep me in check.
THE AFRICAN WOMAN’S CHALLENGE:
Balance: Balance
between being a mother, a wife and also a leader. There tends to be an
invisible line almost between the various roles that women possess. I often
find myself in summits and majority of the attendees will be male and the young
men would always assume that I am doing this now to get it out of my system. Or
that women in leadership positions tend to have masculine characteristics- like
wear darker colors or more suited outfits to fit in with their male
counterparts. Women tend to think and care more about what other women think of
them rather than what they think of themselves. Finding an identity can be
difficult.
WHAT I DO TO RELAX:
I enjoy listening to
instrumental music or watching a really good documentary. What I do is take
time out. I have found that getting away for a few days makes such a large
impact to my mental energy and physically as well. I would check myself into a
basic retreat center. I find the environment silent and peaceful. I can check
myself in on Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon. Putting away my cell phone
and laptop- it allows me to disengage and connect with my senses.
MY   –   I.C.E. [INSPIRE|CELEBRATE|EMPOWER] VISION
Because there is such
a thin line between culture and our own intuition. There is still a lot of
ground to cover when it comes to facing stigmas. Some cultures do not permit
women to lead and are still very traditional. Change is difficult, but it is
also inevitable. For women to be able to have that inner ambition and passion
for driving change- powerful support groups are not only necessary but
required.
MY AFRICAN UNION PLANS:
Community outreach. I
have a connection with the community- I enjoy community dialogues and
discourse. Getting to know the different women, their unique stories and
cultures and understanding them. Each community is unique and several times I
believe that larger organizations intend to do well to improve the lives of
people, but it is just done poorly. Methods must be formed by the community
themselves- listening to them and understanding them. What worked in one area-
may not be the same for another. I would love and enjoy being involved with
grassroots organization/ mobilization to civic education.
FINAL WORDS OF ADVICE:

Believe
in yourself. I find it puzzling that we as women are aware that in most
households our mothers are the managers. They keep the house standing. Why does
it change suddenly when it comes to leadership positions?