Voices from the Ground

Voices From the Ground

Ameera Abdulahi
Youth Leader

“Whatever your goal is, create your own path. Don’t allow yourself to be used for someone else’s interest and make sure that your own and your people’s interests come first.”

Ameera Abdulahi is from Garissa County, Kenya, and is currently the Chair of the National Youth League in the Amani National Congress (ANC). Growing up in a Somali Community in East Kenya, where women often experience exclusion from the political space, Ameera has faced several challenges in her political journey. Her path from where she started to her leading role in ANC has been filled with determination, ambition, and bravery.

As a youth female politician, Ameera expresses that the challenge of not being taken seriously, and lack of legitimacy are among the fundamental problems for youth politicians in Kenya. She experiences that elder politicians are often deemed more relevant and respected in the field, which minimizes the space for youth in the political room. A second major challenge for youth in politics is the economical aspect, the difficulties to finance campaigns, and the presence of corruption in the political processes.

Being part of The Oslo Center’s (TOC) programs has been a crucial opportunity for Ameera, in order to enhance her role in politics, especially in the transition from being a county representative to becoming a national representative. Since 2017, she has been active in the learnings and trainings organized by TOC. Ameera expresses the importance of the activities where youth politicians are rewarded with skills and knowledge both on a personal level and a professional level. Further, Ameera highlights how these trainings have contributed especially to enhanced capacity in how to strategize, campaign, and manage conflicts, and emphasize “the trainings I received from TOC, are on the things that have kept me strong in the role I have today as a youth leader”.

As Kenya is heading closer to its general election, Ameera has a message to all the youth involved in politics “Enhance your interest, be curious, and don’t be afraid to take up space – make your voice heard.” Lastly, Ameera highlights the importance of understanding that youth are not just the leaders of the future, youth are the leaders of today.