Fascinated by numbers and their application in real life, he opted to offer an undergraduate study in Statistics and Information Technology at the Maseno University, Kenya. His mentor recommended that he apply to AIMS for his postgraduate studies. In this edition of the #AlumoftheWeek, we bring you the testimony of the Mastercard foundation scholar, Elkanah Nyabuto, from Kenya. He is also an alumnus of AIMS Ghana and the AIMS-ESMT Industrial Immersion Program, 2020.
Tell us about your journey before AIMS
Elkanah: I have always been fascinated by numbers and technology. After scoring well in my secondary examinations, I enrolled at Maseno University, Kenya, for undergraduate studies in Applied Statistics with Information Technology. After completion, I wanted to work in the industry since I had no funding for postgraduate study. A lecturer who happens to be my mentor advised me to apply for AIMS. I am glad that my application was successful.
How would you describe your time at AIMS?
Elkanah: AIMS became my learning destination not only because of the recommendation I received to apply. But also because it offered courses that I saw would enhance my research and analytical skills. At first, It was a bit challenging since I had spent some months without books before the program started, but later got used to the system.
My most exciting moment at AIMS was undertaking Mastercard volunteer work in the local schools. It nurtured my passion for helping others whenever I have the ability to. I also enjoyed interacting with people from different backgrounds, countries, and career interests.
What would you say is the impact AIMS has had on you?
Elkanah: AIMS enhanced my research and analytical skills, which have been very productive at various institutions I have worked in. The fact that I studied in a different country helped me develop interests and made me open-minded to opportunities at home and abroad, something I never dreamt of. Learning with people from different cultural backgrounds and the interactions and skills gained during the AIMS-ESMT program has enabled me to work outside my home country.
What would you describe as your post-AIMS success story?
Elkanah: The AIMS master’s degree attained helped me secure a part-time tutorial fellowship position at one of the universities in Kenya some months after graduation. I also benefited from the AIMS experiential program in 2021 (TASP), which has helped me acquire industry skills at one of the statistics research laboratories in Kenya.
Currently, I am working with an international non-governmental organisation, the Network Against Female Genital Mutilation (NAFGEM), as an IT specialist advisor. We are piloting innovative programs to promote poverty alleviation, prevent violence and abuse. This creates sustainable incomes for women and youth and empowers women to become leaders in their communities.
In the next few years, I would love to see myself completing a PhD and joining a community of positive-minded people to transform our society. I also love to see a positive impact in the projects we are undertaking in the specific communities NAFGEM operates.
Which of the SDGs is most important/relevant to you, and how is your current work helping to address it?
Elkanah: I am interested in SDGs 1, 2, and 5, No Poverty, Zero Hunger, and Gender Equality. In my current role as an IT advisor at my workplace, I advise on good practices that can be used to meet all three goals. These include the right platforms and types of equipment that can help the teamwork better to meet targeted goals.
What is your message to current AIMS students and young people across the continent?
Elkanah: I want to borrow the words of Marian Wright that “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.‘ In everything you learn, please think of how you will improve other people’s lives. Above all, the more you read, the more things you will know, the more you learn, the more places you’ll go. I wish you the very best in your academic journey. I believe we shall solve African challenges in the next few years.