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Unsung hero in Nandi County

NANDI
By - Michael Chepkwony | September 6th 2012

By Michael Chepkwony

After he dropped out of school, he thought his dream of attaining a successful life had been shattered. But years later Simion Ngeny has achieved more than he could have ever dreamed of. His story is of a man who has defied odds to make it in a life full of challenges.

He began by representing his people in various self -sponsored groups. “When you have an ambition, do not let your shortcomings hinder you from aiming for the best,” he said.

“My parents could not afford to educate me due to lack of money and there were no bursaries at that time to help me raise school fees like we have nowadays. I felt frustrated and lost hope,” he says. He stayed at home for about two years after dropping out of school wondering how his dreams had met an unexpected end.

“I began associating with prominent people who also did not have the chance to complete education but had succeeded in other aspects of life,” Ngeny says.

Ngeny discovered that he could invest in business and still make it in life after he met a businessman who advised him. He says, “I developed interest in photography, bought a second-hand camera and began the business.” For four years, Ngeny became synonymous with his camera but he felt that there was something missing in his life. With a desire to lead his neighbors out of poverty, Ngeny founded Nandi Gaa Self-help Group that is currently in operation.

Idling youth

“I was the pioneer therefore members appointed me as the chairman. We contributed some money and ventured into poultry keeping business and vegetable production in large scale,” he said. He realised that residents trusted his leadership and this inspired him to do more. In 1991, he founded Murkelda Youth and Sports Promotion Group that is in operation up to date.

 “There were several youths idling around. I thought it wise to let them participate in sports and discover their talents and this is what inspired me to form the group,” he explained to The County Weekly. The youth began participating in athletics, volleyball and football. According to Ngeny, a few athletes who discovered their talent joined training clubs to enhance their ambitions.

 He says, “Upcoming athletes are now training in various clubs where there is specialisation. We could not deny them a chance of getting coaches since the club was aimed at helping youths discover their talents.”

Members of the sports and self-help groups he had established inspired him to rise to politics. In 1997, he declared interest in Kilibwoni ward under the KANU party ticket after he was appointed as the party chairman in Nandi region.

 “I realised leaders were making false promises and didn’t deliver. I decided to give it a try in order to usher in changes,” he says.

Ng’eny lost bid but continued serving as the party leader for five years.  In 2001, he launched a civic education exercise to sensitise residents on environmental conservation.  Ng’eny says, “Environmental degradation was taking place at a high rate and I felt the need to curb it. Residents were destroying water catchment areas and planting eucalyptus trees. ”

Peace envoy

 His attempts became successful after other groups and Kenya Forest Service joined hands with him in the sensitisation programme.

 “We planted trees in several water catchment areas which people are still protecting up to date,” he says. Nandi Council of elders, Kaburwo, recognised the wisdom in him and appointed him as a youths’ representative. In 2008 when the post-election violence rocked the country, Ngeny established Murkelda Peace Initiative and together with his members, they began holding peace forums in the county.

 “I had realised youths were the ones who actively participated in promoting violence therefore sponsored their training on peace and we all began moving around the county sensitising locals on the value of peace,” he says. The peace envoy has also ensured that Soit cattle dip has been established where he is the patron up to date.

 “I made a proposal to Emgwen CDF office that was approved and now we have a functioning dip that is accessible to local farmers,” he says. He also established Sit-Emgwen Cooperative Society that has currently been registered by the Ministry of Co-operatives.

“I was the chairman until a few months ago when I handed over because I wanted to concentrate on politics,” he says.

He is currently the vice chairman of Lolmining’ai dispensary and Alliance Party of Kenya (APK) chairman in Nandi County.

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