Social Capital: importance of good relationships and networks.

James67

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There was an earlier post about Masters - how it can help one. I have reflected and decided to write about Social Capital. We are Savings Forum. The focus may be more about accumulating and investing in cash or cash-related ventures. However, we should teach ourselves and others about the importance of (good) relationships and networks. This must also be linked with doing your best in responsibilities given hence creating and leaving a good name. I will extrapolate with various examples.

You may have heard of Mr Paul Otula. He was principal at Mang'u and did good things including swimming pool without asking much from parents. The school also did well in basketball. He was taken to Maseno School and the school's star was shining on many fronts. He was interdicted in 2017 after allegations of sodomy in the school. Because of the good name he created, he was snapped very fast by Sunshine where he must be earning more than at Maseno. He also took the leadership of basketball in the country and we heard Kenya doing well in Africa then qualified for Olympics.

There used to be a Mr Kombo teaching at Makini School. He did good work and Lukenya snatched him to be headteacher. It didn't take long before Nyali Parents also came for him. He gave them a condition. Salary kshs 150,000 (that is a primary school and it was 12 years ago), he goes with certain teachers (Gikaru, Majhosa, etc), and the wife is given a library job. All wishes were granted.

There is a Tanzanian young man called Millard Ayo. He is 32 years. He owns a national TV station very popular online called Ayo TV. If you want to know how big, it's YouTube subscription is 2.8M while Citizen TV is 1.9M, KTN 1.3M and NTV 1.1M. The young man also works at Clouds FM. Why talk about him? Thinking his uncle was going to the US on Green card and taking him along, he didn't read for his O-level exams, he told Maisha Magic Bongo. He scored an equivalent of E in 7 out of nine subjects. He joined the college in what he loved, Mass Media, for a certificate course. After that, he looked for attachment in vain. One day by luck he was allowed in one radio station. He volunteered to be -was working 7 days a week. One day the head of the station found him on Saturday after he had prepared the news. He called him to his office and gave him Tshs 5,000 as fare. He also told him to be going every week for the fare that he increased to Tshs 10,000. He grew like that, was given a permanent job and the rest is history. There were other students on the attachment but they never went an extra mile.

My point, especially to the young people, is making a name and create networks. Your classmates in school and college will be of great help. If my son's classmate comes seeking for a job that I have, I'll give him a priority. that will be a different case if he tells me otherwise. Let your children regard all their classmates as brothers and sisters. If your son is posted in Busia and there is a classmate of his from Shimo la Tewa days whose home is there, the home should be like your son's home - the same way your home should be that boy's home. Your work-mates should be people who can have your back.

When you are given a job, do your best. Even if they are not treating you well, work very well so that they miss you when you leave. If you say a teacher, teach so well until your students wherever they will feel indebted to you. I tell you they will have your back. There is Prof Austin Bukenya who writes a column in Saturday Nation. How does he get such a column? The editors were his students at KU he treated well. He is an author at EAEP publishers, Oxford University Press, Spotlight, etc. Why is he authoring everywhere and held with high regard? The editors there were his students whom he treated well at KU. In a school you are teaching, pick something like Choral verse, football, handball, anything and excel in it. It will increase your capital. That is how someone is poached and given a mouth-watering deal. Leave your workplace with head high so that you can refer to others there. I mean, there are places or people I have worked with who when they want to employ they call me for recommendation and my word becomes law.

By the way, most jobs are taken up that way. Someone calls and asks "do you know someone who can do this and that?" The jobs here go beyond employment to other deals. If you want a plumber, carpenter, designer, etc referral is bigger than an advert. There is a young lady (now a young married lady) who once was referred me by her uncle to sell to me Britam policy. She treated me well and from me she has had 15 referrals including my two sisters, college-mates and office colleagues. I see her among those winning awards. You must have heard of Wallah bin Wallah who wrote Kiswahili Mufti series. After he did well as an author, he opened a gate for other teachers from Makini (where he was teaching to be authors). I can count 30 authors with different publishers whose origin is Makini. My sister who is a teacher helped an elder sister get employed as a caterers simply because she was highly regarded in that school.

There was Nairobi Traffic Commandant Masereti (RIP). He had a very good working relationship with several police officers (junior and senior) that he will basically take tens of people to Kiganjo and the trainers happily take them. Call it corruption but networks work that way. Related to that, as an employer or employee, please part or leave a place on a good note. You may be totally pissed off but it doesn't pay to part bitterly. The Wahenga say "Mchama ago hanyelei huenda akauya hapo" (a person leaving a place doesn't defecate there as they may return). I don't need to add usitukane wakunga na uzazi ungalipo. In fact hata kama uzazi haupo usiwatukane wakunga.

This social capital applies in businesses. When you pay your suppliers well, they will be there for you when you need the supplies and have no cash. You are a farmer, treat those who buy from you well and when they have options they remember you. I tell you if there is a school (private) that had a very good relationship with parents, it can request them to send something as advance fees to help teachers pay rent and buy food. Not all parents but some will send something after all those donating for COVID-19 war are parents. Such a school won't forget the parents and the teachers won't forget the school kindness. I was told by a teacher of a school in Eastleigh that many parents were willing to do so but the lockdown affected their income.

Talking of schools, do you know your child can behave so well that if you need a vacancy in that school for a sibling that child goes to seek it will be given? There are people who can walk to a shop and be given goods on credit while others will be told "hiyo hatuna". Why? Those given credits are known and respected for their word. If they have they pay, if they don't they say. There is a man I have bought land from and we hold each other with lots of respect. If you say I referred you to him, you can take a year to pay. I won't mention him as I did so and many screamed scam

In a nutshell, let us save and build our cash reserves but remember a name, network, brand, etc can also take you places. What should be important is knowing how to use that name and networks. You will be surprised that most things are 'free' as they depend on your name. Build and guard your name and networks jealously. That includes here on social media. I once in a group of Abagusii saw a young man completing university being rude to a senior principal. He didn't know his station in life as he requested the young man to be civil in his interactions. That young man has a very high chance of landing in that principal's office seeking employment.

Last year as we were making arrangements for T-shirts to won during my mother's burial, in that office was a man who was asking some questions about churches - he was doing a documentary. My kid sister looked at him and told us it was Kevin Ombwori Nyakundi who used to work at Egesa FM. She knew him from FB interactions. She even told us a post he had made why he resigned. We engaged him in a conversation and at the end of the day we gave him advertisement business (three adverts) for Egesa FM where he had left but was still in good terms with them earning commission from adverts he got (please rudia Mchama ago hanyelei huenda akauya hapo). We gave him still photography and video work not just during the funeral but also our mother's biography - he didn't disappoint. What if he had abused my sister online? Tengeneza jina. Litakulisha na kukuinua katika kazi yako, taaluma yako au biashara.

PS: Related with the name and brand is parenting. Wewe kaa mbali na watoto and do very little to endear yourself to them. In future, don't start complaining that they are only listening (and giving cash) to their mother or father. Unavuna unachopanda.
 

Barasa Masinde

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I realized that you don't need to work hard on what you do.....work hard on developing yourself then the rest will follow.....by this I mean be a good person.....the kind of a person everyone would wish to be around with....that builds a healthy relationship all over and believe me or not whatever you do....you will do it to the very best of your ability not to disappoint those around you....you will do it with passion n commitment....you will learn to be selfless....doing it for the good of others .....and you will be remembered by all the people you touched in a special way......they say...if your absence is not felt anyway ...then know that you need to work on urself. ....
 

Tajiri Maskini

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Unafaa ujue hata huyo jamaa wa Mpesa angeachiwa hio idea ata maybe hatungekua na Mpesa. For instance, you can paint a picture in Githurai and sell for 20,000Ksh, next week iko Paris, France being auctioned at million dollars. Unafikiria ungebaki nayo ingefika hapo, ungekufa tu nayo kwa bedsitter. Effort is directly proportional to available resources.
 

Judith Les

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Great piece. I once referred my cousin to a school where i had taught for almost four years before joining TSC. She went there and misbehaved and soiled our family name within one term alikuwa ashapewa warning letter. Some people though 🙆
 

Abigael

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I realized that you don't need to work hard on what you do.....work hard on developing yourself then the rest will follow.....by this I mean be a good person.....the kind of a person everyone would wish to be around with....that builds a healthy relationship all over and believe me or not whatever you do....you will do it to the very best of your ability not to disappoint those around you....you will do it with passion n commitment....you will learn to be selfless....doing it for the good of others .....and you will be remembered by all the people you touched in a special way......they say...if your absence is not felt anyway ...then know that you need to work on urself. ....
That is so true. Working hard to build yourself and be the best person you can be is the greatest investment in life. All other successes happen automatically when you are good. This is because the goodness in you creates a good state of well being in the body and mind and motivates you to work smart towards achieving your goals.
 
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