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Published on: 27/02/2012

It was taken for granted that someone who cannot read or write could not aspire to leadership. However, Tresia Mutisia from Yanthooko, Kenya saw in herself the wisdom that age brings with life experiences and maturity. She had the leadership that time brings. She saw the lack of clean and acceptable water and the high prevalence of diseases as a real life problem, and not an essay writing competition. She saw the problem as women becoming beasts of burden, travelling long distances in search of water, not as an exercise in grammar. She saw the problem as the wasting away of their soils and an ever-reducing yield over the years, not as ‘environmental science’. She saw communication as passing a message, not as speaking fluent Kiswahili. Her local Kamba language would do.

Tresia is now the chairperson of Yanthooko women’s group. In her own quiet way she has kept the water project going. The problems are many but so are her life experiences. Her illiteracy has not stood in the way of composing many a welcoming song for the visitors who come from far and wide, and how she can sing and dance! She is proof that illiteracy is not a handicap to leadership. Her members see her for what she is. A hardworking, fair and honest leader.  

Vincent Njuguna …†

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