This program came at an opportune time in my life. I was just about to graduate from campus when that beautiful email of successful selection for the program hit my phone. Campus transitions are not the easiest for most because it sometimes comes with a lot of uncertainties and the “what is next” question. Anyone who has been there can relate to the relief I had for having something to look forward to after graduation – GIPro. Fast forward, the program kicked off and I got deployed at the Department of Interior and Citizen Services, Civil Registry Services (CRS), Thika Town. The department specifically deals with birth and death certificates within Thika. Though it wasn’t in line with my career, I chose to do it and serve the citizens of this great country.
It is almost 10 months now since I began working at the CRS, and I can say it has come with a lot of different experiences that have really shaped and informed my thinking and character. At first I didn’t know what to expect but slowly the realities of the work space started unfolding as I reported each day of the week at work. It dawned on me that the department is a very busy one and the clients arrive way earlier to queue every morning for services and the pattern continues until it’s time to close. You can barely hold the count of time! This was my first game changer and when my respect for civil servants increased. I changed the perception I had about public offices, especially those that offer services directly to many people on a daily basis like the civil registry. I realized there is a lot that happens behind the scenes, that an impatient client waiting on the other side of the counter may not understand. It takes a dedicated heart of service combined with a positive attitude towards work to do this daily, and serve the different kinds of people coming to seek services. I had to wear this heart daily and with time it became a part of me; it meant having to learn patience and put emotions aside, most of the time.
What has kept me going this far irrespective of the workload and busyness at the office is the fulfillment I get at the end of the day – that every client who visited us today went home with a certificate and with satisfaction. I make every day count by giving my best and this sometimes calls for me to stretch beyond the average daily applications I help process. It’s been a certificate a day for me, for that child who needs it for hospital admission or for school registration purposes or for traveling or for any other national reasons. That gives me fulfillment to keep showing up knowing that it takes my diligence at work to meet all these needs and it highly counts.
The nature of its work makes CRS a very critical department for public service delivery, and working in it requires caution at work and when dealing with different people . The department attracts different interests, some genuine, others phony. As such, it only takes individuals with goodwill for the country and a high level of integrity to serve the office at its capacity. This has been the greatest challenge I would say I have faced. By being there, my integrity has been put to test several times, with some clients trying to entice me with good money so that I push their agenda, which might not be genuine or legal. As much as it’s easier to give in, knowing that I can easily get away with it, and not to mention that being a volunteer without a stipend at the end of the month makes the temptation even more attractive, I have still chosen to say NO and served the people with an honest heart because my seemingly simple act of accepting the money offered might result in someone else being denied justice or even a worse consequence. Truth be told, at times it has felt like my actions are just a “drop in the ocean”, in the fight against corruption, especially because it is a major challenge in our country, but as my internship draws to an end, I am a proud person and can confidently say that I have stood the test of time, served citizens with integrity, with no bias, and raised the flag of GIPro and ethical public service delivery higher in my space, the very thing Hesabika stands for!. Now, I am also increasingly convinced that if we can pool a significant mass of people who are values driven across the different spheres of the public space, then the future of the country with zero tolerance to corruption is a great possibility, and a hope that keeps me going as a GIPro Intern.
As the plane of GIPro 2022 touches down in September, I thank Hesabika for this great opportunity to have this internship work experience through the public service commission. My work ethic has grown, my networks have expanded, my love for public service has increased, and my professionalism has been positively shaped. I have gained technical skills such as data entry and report writing as I have been doing monthly data entries and reports of births and deaths, as well as verifying information of applications made and printing the documents. In addition, I have learnt how to communicate with different clients seeking services and consulting on matters of birth or death certificates.
To crown it all, has been my mentorship journey, GIPro paired me with my “dream” mentor and I have loved every bit of it! I have walked with an amazing lady, Sandra Ochola. She has shown me that possibility is real, and mentored me like a sister. I mean where else would I have sat in a room with the CJ of Kenya, Hon Lady Justice Martha Koome if she wouldn’t have given me the chance to. And this is just one among the many projects of hers she has tagged me along to get me exposed, learn and network with great people in this nation. She has pushed and encouraged me to be the best version of myself just the way she does. She came down to my level and understood where I was, related well with me, gave me her time, listened and advised. I admire her life and I am blessed to walk with her on this journey. Thank you Sandra for this walk. I look back and ask myself where else could I have found such an experience as this. God bless Hesabika. Nimehesabika!