By Fred Okoth,
When John Kennedy Omondi’s name was gazzeted as the Youth’s representative at the Migori County Assembly on 17th July 2013 and subsequently sworn in on 2nd august the same year, it marked a major milestone for a man who had spent most of his young life fighting for the youths.
“I saw it as an opportunity to serve the youths at an even higher level,” the ever unassuming Omondi said during the interview shortly after he was sworn in at the Migori County Assembly.
Born back in 1987 at Rakwaro village in Rongo, Migori County, Omondi attended his Primary school at Rakwaro Primary school, sitting for his Kenya certificate of Primary Education, KCPE in the year 2000. He then proceeded to Kwa Mixed Secondary school, also within the county in 2001 and sat for his Kenya Certificate of secondary Education, KCSE exams in the year 2004.
And it is here where he stated horning his leadership abilities, starting as a class prefect before being appointed as the school Head boy in his final year in the school.
In 2005, Omondi, having developed interest in media and journalism, joined Mombasa Polytechnic in Mombasa where he undertook his Diploma in Media studies, which he completed in 2006 and got a mean grade of B plain, just narrowly missing adminsion to the University through the Joint Admission Board, JAB.
He ten set out tarmacking and after several months of tarmacking, ended up at Kaluworks Limited in Mombasa where was employed as the personnel assistant until the year 2009.
“All this time, I was hoping that I could get the opportunity to go back to school and advance in my studies,” he says adding that he therefore kept looking for any opportunity which could come his way even as he was working.
He did not have to wait for long. In 2008, he learnt that Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno had launched a program which was taking students who had attained University but had not managed to afford the school fees back to school.
He then travelled back home and applied to join the program, getting admission but was asked to wait for one year as the first butch of students were being admitted.
“One year to me was nothing so I readily accepted to wait,” he says and so, in 2009, he started his Bachelor Degree in Business and Economics at Moi University, and undertook the course at the Rongo Campus.
And even here, his leadership and organizational abilities were ever evident, first being elected as the Class Representative in 2009, then as chairman of the School of Business in 2010 and finally being elected as the Chairman of the Rongo University Students Governing Council, RUSCO in 2011.
An according to Omondi, what made him be elected to those leadership positions, and especially the chairman of the student governing council was his ability to listen to students and provide solutions whenever there were problems.
“Students had a feeling that they could always trust on me to represent them well,” he said adding he was also able to handle the University administration with respect and understanding hence there was never a major stalemate between the students and the administration.
He finally graduated on 29th November 2013 and has since enrolled for a Masters of Science in Public Relations at the same university.
At the assembly, Omondi has already come out as an eloquent debater and a string defender of the youths.
He sits in three committees, Early Childhood Committee, Labour and Social Welfare Comitee, and Privileged Committee where his work is to ensure that the interest of youths is taken into consideration whenever any bills are being debated on the floor of the house.
“I have great responsibility to represent the youths of this great county at the assembly and I have to ensure that I do my best,” he says adding that under the Education Committee, they are in the process of creating the Ward Development Fund, WDF, a body similar to CDF and which is aimed at ensuring that 10% of all the revenues collected from the county goes to the ward level to help in projects like bursary.
“We are hoping that every ward will get 2 million shillings in bursary each year,” he says adding that this will help people like him who might not manage to get their education without the bursaries.
He further says that he has also partnered with other leaders from East Kamagambo to start up an education Trust to help needy but bright students’ access education.
And his parting shot to the youths is that they have to be optimistic and always try to pursue their goals despite the challenges they might be facing.
“Nothing can beat determination and where there is a will, there is always a way,” he says while adding that youths must take the initiative and not wait for people from elsewhere to come and help them.