Social Scientist: Matilda Timpiyian, Kenya

Miss Africa Column /4th episode: Meet Kenya's prominent social scientist. She advocates for the rights of women and children, giving them a chance to make their own choices and lead successful lives. She's a true African beauty and treasure.

Who are you?

“I am a motivated individual working towards the attainment of social impact through research and advocacy.

For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, I partnered with nonprofit organizations to do a situation analysis on the effects of climate change on the school enrollment of children.

Our findings revealed that school closures during the pandemic coupled with drought put children at risk of being married off.

We therefore took the initiative to provide food relief in 3 boarding schools of Mosiro Kajiado West to help children stay in school.

In 2018, I was part of the team that collected raw data for the What Women Want Campaign. A campaign that sought to find out the top reproductive and maternal healthcare needs of women of reproductive age. These needs were presented to policymakers and were used to pass policies that addressed them.

We’ve been able to see gender-responsive laws being passed as a result of this campaign e.g. the Kajiado County Women Economic Empowerment Fund Policy, which answers the top demands of women in Kajiado County.

As a passionate social scientist, I enjoy lending a voice to societal issues affecting our way of life. Hence the reason I started a Podcast (HOVoices), challenge the status quo.

I consider myself an active citizen. I champion human rights, better governance, and social accountability.

I hold community dialogues to enhance the capacity of grassroots communities in citizen-led accountability. I also attend public participation forums to review governments’ budgets and policies.

Alongside community engagement, I do charity work.

I co-founded a community library in Oloika Kajiado County (the year 2019) to answer to the needs of children. My supportive network of family and friends has helped in donate books to the library.

I’ve also mentored 44 adolescent children and seen their transition to High School and now in tertiary colleges. Other supporters have offered my mentees long-term educational scholarships.

My personality is that of an ambivert – I come off as very introverted but I’m a social butterfly only that we have to connect well.

My values are: Leading with integrity, driven by the principles of stewardship, and approaching life with level-headedness.

Dreams: I aspire to live a fully rewarding life that is a result of following my purpose, being in touch with my higher self, and staying mindful of the choices I make.

Hobbies: I love reading! I enjoy reading fictional novels, Memoirs, magazines, and articles on topics of interest. I also like connecting with friends over a meal, chatting on long phone call conversations, and bonding over activities like camping or hikes.”

What is your project? 

“My current project is about fostering social accountability and redefining socio-cultural norms.”

How does your project impact the society?

“This project helps change the mindsets of people by challenging their core beliefs.

We help rewire mindsets by asking people to take charge of their own lives.

When it comes to governance issues, we champion the involvement of people in government projects.

We teach communities to hold governments into account for the commitments made.

We also advocate for community-driven policies.

We listen to the demands of people and ask governments to act on these needs.”

What can Africa do to become a successful continent?

“Africa needs to be self-reliant to be successful.

Having African solutions to African problems should be the first step in transforming Africa.

We need to exercise mature democracy on African soil.

A lot of our problems are internally produced as a result of having the wrong people in positions of power.

A lot of civic education on governance issues will help build the capacity of Africans so that during elections people can make the right choices.

It will also help uphold the spirit of constitutionalism so that the rule of law applies at all times.”

How can people interested in your projects reach you?

“My email address is matildatimpiyian@gmail.com”

@HOVOICES

Pictures of Matilda Timpiyian in Action:

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