My experience as Ms President – Busia’s Mercy Wanyonyi

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I left the Academy loving myself more, energized, improved and bold enough to exercise my leadership.

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The Story of Mercy Wanyonyi, Ms President Contestant from Busia County

We recently spoke to one of the two Ms President contestants from Busia County.

Mercy Wanyonyi, a high school teacher, mentor and Program CEO shared with us her experience at the ongoing Ms President’s contest and how she is impacting the society in her own way in Busia.

How was your experience at Ms President Academy ?

It was tough! Imagine putting yourself out there for the world to see and judge! It was an honor interacting with real and phenomenal women leaders doing amazing work in their communities. I would say in a nutshell, I met the whole of Kenya under one roof. For the first time I encountered amazing ladies Samburu and Turkana doing exceptional work in their communities.

Holding the Ms President microphone was a testimony on itself, there were times I went blank! I Would just forget what to say, at the thought of the whole world watching me. Not funny though!

Mercy, (far right) during her presentation to the judges
The midnight oil

I can remember everyday we burnt the midnight oil in the academy and still woke up as early birds. Well that was the only way we could remain top contestants; had no option but conform!

The experience reminded me of my high school days of rules and regulations you know. Each morning, we began with training on different topics followed by tasks that were evaluated and determined who would get eliminated. Those were the most terrifying moments of the day, thinking that you may be eliminated anytime!

Tears of Joy

Well, I can stand onions, so there are days I literally cried. Those were mostly tears of joy, with memories of my late Mum Judith (may her soul R.I.P). I was thinking of how proud she would have been seeing her little girl gracing the national TV’s screen every Wednesday 8-9pm and making strides towards her achievement.

Wearing make-up

Oooh can’t forget wearing makeup, It was a requirement that we wear make-up for the shoots. Your madam President here felt so different wearing make up. I think it just ain’t my thing; find me in team natural anytime.

Well, away from the experience, what was your greatest lesson?

My greatest lesson at the Ms President academy is to always brace myself and keep going regardless of the situation. Sometimes such lifetime opportunities are not about winning, rather about showcasing yourself strategically without giving up. Hope is a great catalyst; hope is my mantra!

What sacrifices did you make to be at this contest?

I have always known it is good to sacrifice for what you believe in. I would have regretted if I had turned down the offer that more than 1000 women in Kenya sought out for.

Leaving my 6year old son behind for the longest time since he was born was not easy. I even questioned myself on whether am being a good mum to him by pursuing this.

Being away from work was procedural. But again, holding chalk is not the only thing teachers are meant for, so I did miss my work sometimes. Through this I realized there’s no limit to what we want to be in life!

Who gave you the greatest support in this?

My family, the ‘Wanyonyis‘ came first, they gave me their blessings and said “go and give your best”. My Facebook and social media family was simply amazing; I strongly appreciate their love and support.

The Namubuya community, the Community based organization I manage back at home, they gave,me hope and believed in me. St. James model academy community, MMUST 2011 alumni class, St. Marys Mumias girls and largely people of Busia gave me unwavering support. Busia Leo, through their CEO, gave me mileage on their news platform. For this and many more, I appreciate!

How did this contribute to your leadership?

I left the Academy loving myself more, energized, improved  and bold enough to exercise my leadership. As a leader, tomorrow still awaits me, to learn, unlearn, relearn, deliver and excel in my work. The network of super women that I created from the academy propels me to growth in my leadership journey everyday?

In my memorandum of understanding with God my creator, I promised never to give up, that my will always be held high. Consequently, Ms President experience taught me exactly this!

What next after Ms President?   

It feels good to count my wins and smile at my losses. I still want to serve my community. I am very passionate about social change. I am pursuing and hoping to get more funding for orphans and vulnerable children I currently support, so that I can double the impact.

It is said, “for a plane to fly, it must be prepared for take off” Am warming up for higher positions in either county or national government, as an avenue for greater service to my community.      

I am also working on my brand “BusiaSHEro” which is a mentorship program for young girls, in my little thing referred to as; Lifting as I climb.

What advice would you give to upcoming leaders in the community?

Row Row Row your boat” ! This is a common nursery rhyme which carries more weight and meaning to me. We gotta do what we gotta do! We all have possibilities and in our uniqueness we can bring transformation that we all yearn for. Keep crawling! Keep walking! Keep running! Take your space now. The future is here!

Word to organizers of this and such programs?

Thanks for the platform let us invest more in women leadership as women are a lifeline of any society because they are bearers of progeny. Inclusivity is the way to go!

Your Parting shot?

Just do it! Dream it and do it. Work hard and don’t doubt yourself

You can find Mercy by clicking HERE.


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