By Njuhi Chege
Margaret Wambuku Gathigi recently joined RELI as a Communications Assistant at the RELI Kenya Hub. Want to learn more about how growing up in a military family impacted her approach to everyday life and her work interests? Find out more below.
My superpower is planning and thinking through things. I grew up in a military home where my dad followed a strict schedule. We woke up at 0400hrs, then did prayer, prepared for school, drank tea and left the house by 0530hrs. I learned to be a morning person as I had to prepare to leave the house with him if I wanted to catch a ride to college. His adage “To be on time is to be late,” has been a guiding principle in my life – I’ve learned to have a plan, to always keep time and schedule what I need to do.
I first heard about RELI on Instagram when I was job hunting after my contract came to an end on a project I had been working on. The job description read like my credentials and qualifications. I applied and was called for an interview. I was the first to arrive for the written and oral interview. Once we were given the assignment, my computer failed to start. I had to think fast if I was going to complete the assignment. I decided to hand write my answers and download Canva for some design work. My laptop later came back to life with just 15 minutes left to the end of the interview. Somehow, it all worked out in the end.
I provide RELI Kenya with administrative and technical support to share our impact with a wide range of global audiences, improve digital comms, and boost internal communication. My role as RELI Kenya Communications Assistant also entails overseeing media engagement, social media management and documenting RELI milestones through photography and videography.
When I was hired, I assumed that I would be working with one organization, but this work has enabled me to interact and support a myriad of organisations under the network. I continue to be awed by the opportunity to work with a network that is facilitating regional collaboration to push forward its vision in a range of countries from Tanzania to the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am also intrigued by the interdisciplinary nature of RELI’s work. The network brings together the perspectives of different educators, administrators, researchers, and policy makers. I am excited by the possibility of learning even more about education policy and interventions in East Africa by interacting with such a diverse range of education and policy issues with the smartest people in the field. I am also looking forward to working for a network that is committed to advancing its members’ innovative ideas in order to develop a more effective and accessible education system.
Working for RELI Kenya has also expanded my understanding of communications. I have learned that communications work does not just revolve around publicizing report launches and achievements. It is also a critical part of the policymaking process. For example, when we consider RELI’s work to develop a Parental Engagement and Empowerment policy, communications strategizing is required to determine how we talk to parents about their role in supporting their children through their education journeys, and it has been at the core of our relationship-building with the Government of Kenya.
With RELI Africa recently becoming a registered organization, I am excited to use my skills and my growing understanding of communications to support the organisation in formally engaging our local, regional, and international audiences.