Jared Kidola: On a Community, Not Personal, Journey

5 min readApr 6, 2023


By Allan Wasega, KamiLimu Committee Member
Jared at the Cohort 7.0 Launch Event.

Quiet and a little shy, it is easy to miss him in a crowd. He seemed the type of person you would not normally find seated at the front of a room; the kind who prefers being in a corner with loud but unsaid thoughts. Those were my initial impressions of Jared Kidola when I first saw him during KamiLimu Cohort 7.0’s launch on 17th September, 2022. He drew my attention as I know that buried deep within that quiet demeanour is a story worth exploring and telling; and true to my suspicions, Jared is a gold mine. Born and raised in a coastal village in Voi, Kenya, Jared describes himself as someone interested in uplifting communities and who loves observing more than talking. Inspired by the challenges he encountered and witnessed as a young child, he is today a first generation university student pursuing Gas and Petroleum Engineering at Kenyatta University.

My experiences have shaped the kind of person I am. I grew up in a traditional family in a village on the Kenyan coast. When I started my primary schooling, I became more aware of the challenges that were bedevilling my family and community, chief of which was climate change. Today, when we speak of climate change, most of us think in abstract terms, such as melting of the polar ice caps, but I have seen its effects first hand. When I was in nursery school and into the first two years of primary school, my family earned its livelihood from agriculture. However, things changed suddenly — the rains became unpredictable, resulting in poor farm produce. As a result, my community started embracing education, and, fast forward to now, I am the first to enter university because of the encouragement and support of my family.

Jared (left) just before his KCPE national exams.

Jared reminds me of the butterfly effect; how a small change in initial conditions can result in significantly different outcomes. His is a story of hope and how education can be used as a tool to empower individuals who, in turn, can effect considerable change in their communities. Indeed, one of his biggest motivators is to pay the debt of gratitude he owes his family and community. “Some of the questions that keep me awake at night are how can I find jobs for members of my community and how can I improve their education levels?” he says.

Seeking answers to these questions has been the common thread that interweaves through his life.

To some people, there is no connection among technology, petroleum engineering, and climate change. However, even as a child, I wanted a break from having to depend on one solution to any problem. In 2012 when I was in my sixth year of primary school, the Coast region suffered a harsh drought and I recall having a great desire to find a lasting solution to the problem. Since I could not do much then, I focused on my studies and that is how I ended up winning a Mastercard Scholarship through Equity Bank’s Wings to Fly Program that paid for my high school education at Makueni Boys High School.

When he got into university, Jared generalised his multifaceted approach to solving problems to how he interacted with people. “I looked to interact with more people from various disciplines to learn from them and to gain new perspectives on how to solve problems and view life,” he says. This desire to meet new people and seek novel solutions to societal challenges would eventually lead him to KamiLimu.

Jared in his second year at Kenyatta Uni.

I was in my second year second semester when my thermodynamics lecturer, Mrs. Dorothy Maina, told me about this community from where I can get mentorship. She recommended KamiLimu after she noticed my interest in tech and engineering. Afterward, I visited KamiLimu’s website and immediately liked what I saw: the program offered an opportunity to grow both my personal and tech skills. I got into KamiLimu at a time when I was struggling with my self esteem and I had a horrible case of impostor syndrome. I viewed myself as this young man from a small village with nothing much to offer when it comes to addressing challenges in the society.

This revelation is not a surprise: Jared is not the first mentee to struggle with impostor syndrome as they get to KamiLimu. Because this has been a common occurrence over the years, the initial workshops offered to all mentees cover lessons on confidence building, both in themselves and their professional skills. These lessons are reinforced throughout their eight-month journey in workshops and through tasks with their peer and professional mentors.

Six months after joining KamiLimu, Jared states he has registered significant growth.

KamiLimu instills in us courage and confidence that we can achieve what we put our minds into. We learn that we can put in the work and be the best at something. For example, I am in the Data Science ICT career track, where, together with my peers, we complete various projects under the guidance of our mentors Sidney Ochieng’, Mbithe Nzomo, and Jackline Macharia. In the process, I have learnt that the only way to excel is not by inputting the bare minimum but by giving my best. KamiLimu also offers a safe space where no one judges others negatively for not knowing how to accomplish a certain task or about a particular topic.

Furthermore, when I got into the program, my awareness of and ability to apply for scholarship opportunities was especially wanting. In fact, I would rate myself at 1.5 out of 5 in these areas because I had no prior essay writing skills. However, today, I am at 4/5 and my one key takeaway from KamiLimu’s scholarship lessons is the need for authenticity: rather than going for a catchy application, I should strive to communicate my story in a structured and clear manner.

As to whom he is most grateful for so far, Jared said:

My mother, who was the head of our family as I was growing up. She went through a lot of challenges to fend for us and she never had much formal schooling. But despite the setbacks we faced, she taught us to dream and work hard. She also loved us unconditionally, and she is my greatest source of strength and motivation.

Jared Kidola is a mentor to high school students through Equity Bank’s Wings to Fly Program. He has just completed an industrial attachment with Petroleum and Industrial Services Ltd.

Edited by Mwaniki Nyaga and Ronnie Leon




KamiLimu is a free 8-month structured mentorship program that seeks to augment classroom learning for tech-aligned students at Kenyan universities.