REJOICE NAMALE’S BOLD DEVELOPMENT MOVES
The reality of pursuing dreams that seem far-fetched is that they push you out of your comfort zone and place incredible demand on your efforts and focus. Few are willing to put in the hard-work, commitment, consistency and patience necessary to be able to create opportunities for themselves and others by means of their vision, action and experiences.
Rejoice Eve Namale is the 24- year- old founder of Youth Arise Network, an organization that exists to stimulate young minds to promote education, entrepreneurship and volunteerism aimed at eradicating poverty and reducing inequalities in communities. She describes herself as being a mental strength coach, a public speaker, a writer, a philanthropist, a social and business entrepreneur as well. Her goal is to cross borders as a global leader who specializes in policymaking in high stake level meetings where her input would reflect the needs of the people in communities she has lived and worked in.
A lot of work is yet to be done on issues of human rights and governance both locally and internationally, Rejoice says. It’s part of what drives her to work towards becoming a development practitioner with expert knowledge in those areas which she views as the heart of basic services that minority groups such as women, youth and girls need. Her passion did not just begin at random.
It started with volunteering whilst at Chancellor’s College where she was pursuing a Bachelor’s degree of Arts in Communication and Cultural Studies with a major in Public Relations. She would volunteer for different initiatives and found ways of assisting individuals with under-privileged backgrounds. She took every encounter as a learning experience regardless of whether she held a position or was simply a member of the organization.
At the opportunity to attend an African Union conference, she gave herself the task of speaking with the most important person in the room. She gathered the courage to introduce herself and her work with the youth to H.E. Dr. Auguste Ngomo, the African Union Regional Delegate to Southern Africa, who also had a keen interest in youth advocacy.
That meeting led to her being in China a month later for a seminar on Youth Employment and Development for Malawi. When she returned home, she decided to establish a platform that would empower underprivileged youth to access the same opportunities she did. Putting her business plans on hold, she decided to prioritize setting up Youth Arise Network with the goal of urban youth serving the needs of rural youth in terms of employment, education and various opportunities.
Rejoice believes that at some point in life you have to start being brave and bold enough to go after the things you want; mediocrity no longer cuts it. However, reality occasionally brings with it some limitations beyond our control which stand in the way of our progress. Most small to medium scale businesses and youth led organizations in both rural and urban areas face a common challenge: access to start up capital and finances.
The average youth in Malawi does not own high value assets such as land, cars or property, and yet those are some of the most important pre-requisites to qualifying for financial assistance from banks and financial institutions, Rejoice comments. You come across many cases of young people, in their teens to early twenties, with brilliant ideas yet are unable to get them off the ground because they do not meet the requirements to secure loans. As a result, many young people’s dreams remain an idea for years.
Youth Arise Network is currently self-funded, they have learnt through experience to innovate on other avenues of getting the necessary resources to execute their vision of transforming lives and communities. Rejoice applied the same principle with her business partner, Tapiwa Chigumula, when they started their business enterprise, Grow and Glow Events. They did not have enough capital but they used their persuasive and communication skills to their advantage in securing investors. She uses her public speaking skills and experiences as an example of how to use what you have in your arsenal to create opportunities for yourself and to attract investors and business partners.
Her educational background has significantly shaped what she does now. She sees education as a means of gaining the skills and knowledge that assist you on your journey of making something of yourself. The simple ability to read and write serves as a solid base of being able to communicate in formal and informal settings. Her advanced diploma in Business Management at Polytechnic Management Center has played a role in her financial literacy levels; she understands basic accounting principles which are useful in running both her business and youth organization. Her degree in Public Relations taught her the art of speaking, with courses in persuasion, critical thinking and public speaking, she remains open to learning new tactics that will make her more effective even in areas she is naturally gifted in.
Her family remains her biggest support system; from her sisters to her parents. The only condition from her father in supporting her vision for establishing the youth initiative during her studies at Chancellor’s College was that her academic performance should be consistently good. With those words in mind, she made sure she delivered on both fronts. When she feels overwhelmed with her workload and needs guidance, she always turns to her family and friends for advice and assistance. You see the value of family support in the way it enhances your outlook on life, business and career; you get motivated to do better and be better.
When it comes to getting things done on the ground, Rejoice stands by her Daily to Do List approach. She recommends coming up with five critical items at the start of the day and ticking each one off on completion as a way of being realistically productive and self-motivated.
Rejoice loves the career she is building for herself; one which is centered around using her talent and abilities to give other people second chances at opportunities that will positively change their mindsets and way of life. She believes that knowing yourself in terms of strengths, weaknesses, talents and skills and how they can be used with the resources available to be an important factor in making progress even in the face of challenges. And as you grow, staying open to new learning opportunities and ways of improving yourself aid in staying relevant in an ever-changing world.