Susan Mueni Is a Queen’s Young Leader! December 15, 2015 by Carolina For Kibera
Susan Mueni is not one to back down from a challenge. When she heard from friends about the Queen’s Young Leaders Programme, a one-year program that recognizes exceptional young leaders from countries of the British Commonwealth, she decided to apply despite knowing she faced some heavy competition. “I was optimistic when applying,” she explains, “though I knew that it’s very competitive because many young leaders from Commonwealth countries bring amazing things.” And her reaction to hearing that she won the award? “I couldn’t believe it,” she says, smiling. “Actually I was in tears—tears of joy.”
Mueni brings many amazing skills, perspectives, and experiences as well. Born and raised in Kibera, Mueni overcame many hardships to get where she is today. She is currently studying to become a teacher, having just finished the prerequisite 1-year certificate course before starting her official degree in education. She is also the Field Coordinator for the girls’ teams in the Sports Association, serving as an as a personal mentor for many. On top of this, she continues to referee soccer matches and lead trainings for teams (you can see her in action from our collaboration with WASH United here).
Mueni began participating in CFK’s programs from a very young age, as a young soccer player in CFK’s Champions League. She appreciated that sports kept her active and busy, and she loved spending time with her teammates. Shortly thereafter, she joined Daughters United for many of the same reasons. Both programs gave her an opportunity to develop her talents as an athlete, friend, mentor, and leader.
These qualities are all things she hopes to build upon through the Queen’s Young Leaders Award. The award package is rich with content on mentorship and networking. Mueni will attend an online leadership course called “Leading Change,” taught by faculty at the University of Cambridge. Perhaps the most exciting part is the 1-week, all-expenses paid residency program in the UK, where Mueni will be presented her award from a highly esteemed figure. “We will receive an award from Her Majesty the Queen,” she announces, and it seems like she still can’t believe it. “I’m so happy and honored to meet Her Majesty. I’m so nervous. I can’t wait to meet her.”
The Queen’s Young Leaders Award holds a core value in common with CFK: it gives young leaders a chance to show what they’re capable of. “Such programs are very important because they show how much potential the youths have if given the opportunity,” explains Mueni. “It motivates young people to do what they do, because at the end of the day, they feel they’ve been appreciated somewhere.”
Mueni hopes to encourage others to follow in her footsteps. “I hope my story will be an inspiration to fellow young people in my community. So at least they know you don’t need a title to be awesome.” She adds, “Being awesome is just doing small things for your community. Show you’re passionate about your community.” With Mueni, there is no question of that.