My name is Clifford Kuyokwa. I live in Malawi in the southern part of Africa. I am working as the executive director of an international organization called Stefanos Foundation. It's a Christian organization where we envision children who are orphans and vulnerable being holistically supported and becoming self-reliant.
My dissertation is entitled: "An assessment of wholistic empowerment initiatives to create wealth through the work of non-governmental organizations for sustainable development in Malawi." I worked on a paradigm shift from non-governmental organizations where instead of depending on external aid, the people should work with their own hands, and God will come and bless their own work so that they can support themselves. I realized through the research that vocational skills development is an important part of wealth creation. When you train people in voluntary savings and loans, you train people in small and medium enterprises. When you train people in livestock management and farming, they are going to sustain themselves.
When I was studying for my masters, I was working on Christian leadership, and we had one professor who was always enthusiastic in the way he was sharing his knowledge with us. He once told me, "If you are to become a good leader, you have to follow Christ." He was and still is the role model of servant leadership. But I felt like, “Wait a minute, I need more knowledge. I need to equip myself, because I am handling 1000+ orphans and 100+ employees, and the organization is growing.” I decided to search for a school and I went to the same professor and I asked him: "Where did you go to school?" He answered, "At Bakke Graduate University."
When I searched the internet, the first thing I saw was that BGU is unique. How is it unique? Number one, it starts to deal with you as an individual human being. BGU wants you to be transformed so that you can go and transform others. Remember, you cannot give what you don't have. You always give what you have in yourself. Secondly, another unique feature is how the courses are outlined. It's in such a way that the knowledge you get is not only to be used tomorrow, but to be used here and today. What I enjoyed the most during my DTL studies were the individual projects because I began using the key learnings for my own organization's transformation.
I am so grateful that today in Malawi, I am one of the young, energetic and very passionate leaders to help transform our country. Since I work for non-governmental organizations in Malawi, my desire is to expand the knowledge that I have gathered in my network. I had the opportunity to meet the state president in person. During our one-on-one conversation, I shared with him how we can put our efforts together and how NGOs and the government could work together for the improvement of the livelihoods of people. That is a great example of how I can use my own network to lobby and to work through policy formulation.
BGU stipulates that it is there to transform people, so that they can go and transform the world. I learned at BGU how important it is for a leader to be a leader before God, to be a servant leader who can go and serve other people, a leader who can bring change where change is supposed to come. God can enable us to become what He wants us to be. And when He calls us, He prepares us, and it impacts the people we are working with.