At 25, in 2010, Naisula Lesuuda made history in Kenya as the youngest female citizen to earn the Presidential Order of the Grand Warrior Award, an honour usually reserved for the ‘old guard.’
As a Journalist working with the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, she had gone far and above the call of duty to advocate for peace amongst warring communities. She didn’t just report the news as it happened, she worked to change the narrative that was taking shape from degenerating into a gruesome bloodbath.
How, you ask?
“On the morning of September 15, 2009 she received a call from a KBC freelancer alerting her that ten people had been killed in cattle rustling at Naibol Kanampiu Village in Laikipia pitting Pokot against Samburu. “By 8am, he told me 40 people lay dead, 21 of them Samburu women and children who were caught up on a crossfire,” recalls Naisula. She then placed a call to her local MP protesting at the merciless yet avoidable bloodshed. The Government dispatched a high-powered delegation to the area to reassure the locals on security. Back in Nairobi, she contacted four fellow Samburu professionals and booked an appointment with Nderitu Mureithi, the area MP. After explaining our reasons for the appointment, he asked us ‘what can you do?’ That changed my perception about the whole issue,” says Naisula. Together, they agreed to reach out to their ‘rivals’ — Pokot professionals in Nairobi — to seek ways of prevailing upon the villagers on both sides to cease the bloody animosity.” [www.standardmedia.co.ke]
At the age of 26, Naisula received the International Labour Organisation [ILO] Wedge Award 2011 for Outstanding Professional Woman.
Now, the Peace Ambassador and Girl Child champion, is the youngest female member of the Senate, the upper house of the Parliament of Kenya.
Born 1984 in Samburu, Senator Naisula earned a degree in Communications & Community Development from the Catholic University. She worked as a Program Host of Good Morning Kenya at the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and subsequently as Reporter/News Anchor.
She since quit her regular job and ventured into bringing peace in troubled areas, and rescuing young girls from female genital mutilation. A vocal defender of the human rights of girls and children, she runs the Naisula Lesuuda Peace Foundation which advocates and supports the education of girls, while creating awareness of the dangers of female genital mutilation and child marriage.
Senator Naisula also founded ‘The Peace Caravan’, a group that brought professionals together from different communities in the country and serves as the Executive Director of Liberty Kenya, a non-partisan organization that advocates for good leadership and governance. She is also a member and Vice Chair of Samburu Girls Foundation, a nonprofit organization that operates in Northern Kenya to Promote Girl Child Education through fighting cultural hindrances like FGM and Early Marriages.
As a parliamentarian, she continues to pursue the causes close to her heart and in addition, serves as the Deputy Chair of the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (KEWOPA), and is a member of the Broadcasting and Library committee as well as the Agriculture and Natural Resources committee.
Senator Naisula turns 31 this year, 2015, and this all began because she could not bear to remain silent any longer…not when her kinsmen where in the process of self-extermination over the four-legged creatures called cattle.
You are not to ‘young’ or ‘insignificant’ to be at the vanguard of change. It is time to change your perception.
© 2015 – 2017, Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya. All rights reserved.