Faith Muthoni Njuguna, commonly known as Sonnie, is the newly inaugurated President of the Rotaract Club of DeKUT. Influencer had the following interview with her:
1. Who is Sonnie?
I don’t think there’s one specific answer to this question, my answer today might not be my answer tomorrow. First, I’m a fourth year Mechatronics Engineering Student.
As to who I am as a person, I sometimes pretend to be funny and I crack myself up at my own jokes. I am eccentric and a child at heart. I love my family to death and treasure my friends, especially those who have stuck with me for a long time. I am not afraid to confront difficult situations that bother me and I cannot deal with passive aggressive qualities. I easily forgive, I’m a huge believer of giving only positive vibes and carrying grudges doesn’t fit in that. I get genuinely excited by creative literature and little written notes. My love language is potatoes. And I talk to myself. If you don’t talk to yourself you’re weird. Don’t be weird.
2. Congratulations on your new post as President of Rotaract DeKUT. How did the handing over go?
It was amazing. We got the District Governor to officiate it; which is a BIG DEAL because he is (in lay terms) the President of all Rotary Clubs in Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Eritrea. He is the kind of guy who you can only get to through his PA.
And the love and support from members and friends of the club was overwhelming. It was an all round successful meeting. It happened online with around 60 people in attendance.
3. Most of us just hear Rotaract and we don’t know what is. What is Rotaract to you?
Yeah. For someone who hasn’t been in Rotaract the meaning can be vague, especially because it involves a lot of things. But I like that you asked what Rotaract is to me, because it definitely means different things to different people.
And for me, Rotaract is a way of life. The pillars and principles on which Rotaract is built on are what attracted me and made me stay. We have something called ‘The Four Way Test’, which is like a code of conduct for Rotaractors. And this is what it says
“Of the things we think, say or do …
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”
But beyond all of that seriousness I have dropped on you… The FUN. 🙊
You meet amazing, creative, like-minded people who are selfless towards others and ready to serve above themselves. With the same measure that we do service, we are sure to have fun.
4. How does it feel to be president of Rotaract?
Everyday is a different day and a different kind of responsibility. When I was first nominated I was definitely nervous. I had the will-I-be-able-to-do-it kind of thoughts. But over time that feeling has evolved into something else. For one, there is the knowledge that Rotaract Presidency is nothing else but dedication and selflessness. You serve in the position of the President, meaning that you are the one serving your board of directors and the members at large. And so most times it requires a lot of you. But then again, it’s all about ‘Service Above Self’, no? 😂 (That’s the Rotary motto btw)
5. What do you plan to accomplish as President?
I actually have asked myself this question severally before, and had to will myself to come up with three things as a guide for the year.
1. I plan to utilize all the gifts and talents of Rotaractors for the benefit of others. Let me give a little context, a friend that I had invited to Rotaract before ended up being a director (that’s a Rotaract official) and you know how we’re all skeptical at first, it was no different with him. At the end of his term, he told me that it had really changed something in him because it came at a time when he was not his best self and seeing all that he had accomplished that he did not even know he could, made him a much better, stronger confident person.
2. To increase impact in our service projects. We do a lot of community service projects, because that is the basis of what brings us together. I would like that these projects be a little more than visiting a children’s home once then leaving, or doing a tree planting exercise and forgetting the nurturing. I would like that our projects may be impactful and sustainable. I would like it to be such that years later, the people that we helped can look back and still see that we made a difference.
3. Membership engagement and continuity. Rotaract is what it is today because of its members. I would like to have more first years and second years to join the club for the benefit of it even after we’ve left. And more importantly, that the current and potential members enjoy themselves in every aspect of it all. If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right 😄
6. Is it a myth to say that it’s expensive to be a member of Rotaract? What are the financial obligations of Rotaractors?
It is DEFINITELY a myth. We do have financial obligations in Rotaract because we do not necessarily depend on free money. We raise it ourselves. And if we choose to partner with an external organization, they would be matching what we’ve already contributed.
So every contribution in Rotaract is usually for a purpose. Therefore it would be a lie to say that members give because they have. It’s because they have committed to do so. In line with that, we contribute 50 shillings per month to equal 600 Bob a year.
That is not expensive at all
See? It’s not. But I’d also like to add that there may be other costs huku katikati. When we’re contributing for projects, what we call ‘happy dollars’ done during fellowships, and sometimes transport costs for plans that may be far away. All in all, nothing outrageous. 😊
7. What do you think are some of the coolest benefits of being a member of Rotaract especially after school?
Where would I even begin. I could tell you stories of all the amazing people you’ll meet in Rotaract, and not just in your home club because there are so many clubs around the country.
I could also tell you about the satisfaction you get from giving back to your community in new and different ways.
Let me tell you what I think by far is the coolest benefit of joining Rotaract. A friend of mine landed this interview at one of the big audit firms in Nairobi. And halfway through his interview one of the panelists, who happened to be a Rotarian, engaged him on his experience as a Rotaractor. It was quite comprehensive and in-depth and it was all they needed to conclude the interview. He got the job, of course.
So what I’d say is the coolest benefit isn’t that you’ll land a fancy auditing job in a fancy company, it’s that it gets you the experience that you need to handle that kind of challenge and more. It allows you to realize your strengths and weaknesses beforehand, which will prove useful a skill for whatever project you take upon in future.
8. I feel that you have a duty to let everyone know that such an awesome club exists. How do you do that?
Thankfully, Rotaract has a division that is known as the Public Relations docket. And the director of this docket is a quite talented chap called Mambo. If I were to attempt to sell Rotaract to everyone, I know that I would not do half as good a job as he.
But I feel that most people in Kimathi don’t really know about Rotaract and what you do as a club. What specifically does the Public Relations docket do for outreach?
They do posters. They then share them on the club’s social media accounts. The PR docket also manages all these accounts from Instagram to Twitter to Facebook to quite recently, a YouTube channel.
But beyond all of that, I’d say Rotaract membership grows mainly by means of invitation, where you can vouch for someone and let them know all that Rotaract entails not by just giving them theory as I’m doing now 😅, but by showing them
9. How did you become president. What has your journey been up to this point?
I joined Rotaract in my first year first semester. And my perspective may have been a little different than most because I had known about Rotaract before joining campus. Quite recently I was looking back at photos of that time and it was nothing but nostalgia because I was inducted into the club with the same culture as would be in any other Rotaract Club. First event that I attended was Mother Club’s (Rotary Club of Nyeri) installation at The White Rhino Hotel. It was an all white party with a full buffet. Looking from the outside you might see it as an expensive event for a select crowd, but what you may not know is the actual price of the event was subsidized to three times less, thanks to the Rotarians. (Add that to the list of perks 💃🏾). The after party was then a table of conversations with Rotarians (who are arguably the coolest people to be around as a younger person) one of whom ended up to be a dear friend and mentor, supporting the club’s projects till date.
These kinds of meaningful encounters are what strengthen my zeal to continually serve in Rotaract. It is such an enjoyable experience that I would wish for many more people to be in on. And to see what is at the end of that line, through those that have served before us, how could I not keep the same energy?
This has been a pleasure. We wish you all the best in your presidency.
If you have any inquiries about the Rotaract Club DeKUT, click here to get in touch with them. If you would like to be a member of Rotaract DeKUT, you can contact the Membership Director, Hamza Abdi at 0799526063