Emman’nuel Mutisya Ngui, popular by the name N’Nuel is Founder/ President at The Sleek PLC and former Communications Officer at World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) for Stockholm Environment Institute, Africa, a globally recognized and leading policy institution based at Stockholm, Sweden. He has skills in media relations and communication, media diplomacy, advocacy and outreach communication with a specific interest in development communication and sustainable development.
N’Nuel has eight years of experience in Media Diplomacy, management, strategic communication and planning, applied research, media production, copyrighting and digital media. Prior to joining SEI, he worked for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), offering communications support to the more than 8 000 youth-led-programmes across the world.
N’Nuel has experience in developing communication strategies and managing budgets for high level events such as the UN-Habitat Assembly. He also played a key role as communications and social media expert for the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development, Nairobi Children and Youth Exchange Programme, UN Environmental Conference in Bonn, Germany. He has also worked for the Standard Group, Kenya Television Network (KTN) in media production of humanitarian programs as well as managed public relations for the City Council of Nairobi.
N’Nuel is writing a thesis on “Coercive Diplomacy on Implementation of New World Order Systems in Kenya” for a master’s degree in development communication and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies, and a diploma in public relations and advertising, all from the University of Nairobi in Kenya.
The Sleek is relatively new to the ears and eyes of many. Break it down for us.
The Sleek is a youth-LED (Local, Economic, Development) -organization that applies Media Diplomacy to tackle youth development challenges. The Sleek’s work spans creative arts, communication for development, space making, and integrates evidence and perspectives on governance, the economy, gender and human health.
The Sleek houses a number of affiliate businesses including The Sleek Television (currently a digital news space), The Sleek Music Group, an operational wing of The Sleek that houses demonstrative projects as a creative peace lab that is empowering young men and women in making better livelihoods and The Sleek Academy which focuses on skills’ development to empower young men and women as better agents of sustainable development .
The Sleek also hosts a CSR unit called The Sleek Community which is system of member volunteers and donors to The Sleek to support The Sleek’s general service to and done on youth, environment, governance, monitoring and evaluation of policy.
You are now elected President of The Sleek, initially you were just recognized among the Founders.
Well, we have a CEO, Gabriel Odunga, so President is not the biggest title as it may sound.
As always, I am a musician before anything else. However, I love responsibility and this new assignment is one I am committing myself to serve with due diligence.
More than just music
In my current position at The Sleek, I led the opening of a music studio (READ ABOUT THE SLEEK MUSIC & PRODUCTION STUDIO ) which was aimed at solving the cost of production crisis among young musicians.While most production labels are profit targeted,I have managed to influence a team of 10 to approach music as primarily a youth mobilization tool, hence doing more than just music.Thr’ my own observation,most suicidal cases are reportedly among young artistes.Swedish Deejay Avicii’s death inspired me to open a branch of the music studio called The Sleek Academy which deals with artistes’ counseling, skill nurturing and mentorship.In my country,most musicians quit the scene for crime due to lack of frequently required funding to produce content,hence,opened a studio to give recording access to young musicians and transform them into peacebuilders.
My interest in sustainability is a influenced by both personal life experience and vast exposure in research, policy engagement and capacity development in Africa. While my family could afford our basic life needs, more specifically clothing, we were surrounded by a group that was unable to afford the same basics at the time. I used to hide my shoes in my bag whenever I got close to school so as to fit in the crowd, which, majority did not have or own a single pair of shoes.Latrines and sanitation were a big mess,but we survived it anyway on our bare baby feet.So since I was age 4,thr’ my parents I knew I would grow to fight poverty.Over my years as a student and later an employee of the United Nations, I was exposed to Sustainable Development.Being a visionary to aid my life responsibility, I now want to advance my experience thr’ my music to support my company in developing better SMART goals,design development strategies that sync with existing youth development policy frameworks.
Which challenges are you facing related to social, environmental and/or financial sustainability?
1. Funding- While every business is profit targeted for sustainability, my main aim in business has always being to create environments that enable young people to become better engaged as contributors to sustainable development. While returns are some times extremely low, my worry always falls on if the businesses fail would these young people have to go back to their old lives?I hope to gain better access to funding to enable these platforms become a better accessible reality to transforming youth lives and engagement in development
2. Acceptability- As a young person, the stigma follows me everywhere. I have a vision, but coming from a young mind, it is a labelled as just a “young vision”. This requires knowledge sharing on among the higher groups such as people in governance to build insight on significance of youth development. Hence, my investment in a television and radio station to use as advocacy mediums to shape, change and transform perceptions of the youth group and ideas.
You quit employment for music!
I am a cardinal by nature. When born and nurtured to become a visionary, your mind is always working on initiating change. I believe in creating environments that allow conception and maturing of development causes. The Swedish Institute Management Programme is coincides with such a time when all I am looking for is possible openings to stretch networks, exchange ideas and promote a culture that embraces youth as leaders of today and tomorrow. The Sleek is offering a network of progressive business leaders which is in sync with my interest in gaining more exposure into responsible leadership and sustainable business. I have over the past 9 years taken my time to draft business ideas and 2020 was the time to officially get rolling.I would be happy if I am not left behind in this beneficial opportunity. I am first a musician before anything else, hence, my pleasure to be engaged as one in leadership and development.
What are some of the key challenges you see facing Kenya today?
1. Youth Policy engagement-Little is known about youth policy in my country.My venture into Media Diplomacy can help build awareness on existing policies through constructive knowledge sharing such as our approach of using music as a youth mobilization tool for such dialogues.The most popular campaigns in my country are on beverages!
2. Environment issues-Water resources in Kenya are under pressure from agricultural chemicals and urban and industrial wastes. The anticipated water shortage is a potential problem for the future.Rapid urbanization and increased population is also a competing challenge. A good example is with Nakuru town, with Fluoride filled water. In relevance to the works of my company, we need to focus on Communications for Social Change to create awareness through social campaigns to influence compliance levels among residents to adopt new water measures introduced by the county government.I have a number of networks already conducting research in such areas.
What are you aiming at with your achievements?
I would use my experience to achieve some S.M.A.R.T goals rather than achievements is what I would refer to;
(a) Design and implement demonstrative media projects that target and mainstream youth and gender within the framework of achieving sustainable development in developing cities
(b) Design and implement demonstrative projects that promote trans-boundary partnerships to provide solutions to sustainable development among youth of different regions
(c) Conduct research on sustainable policy development to facilitate knowledge management among youth involved in creative arts
(d) Engage at global and regional levels affiliated advocacy forums such as the UN Youth Summits to share exposure in exchange programs
(e) Actively play the role of linking developers with innovators to collaborate on developing and sharing tool kits towards local monitoring of SDGs at local levels and other development agendas such as African Union Agenda 2063
(f) Jointly develop proposals and research work in agreed areas of youth development with other existing networks
Describe your personal and/or professional goals for the coming five – ten years.
1.Increase the company’s wealth and achieve profit sustainability to enable creating flexible work schedule, meet social needs in society and improving the lives of individuals working in the company
2.Build alliances and partnerships that enable integration of our mandate to other processes of Sustainable Development
3. Go public to join other organizations operating in what has become today’s global village and impact at national, regional and international levels
4. Build a legacy in such a case in my absence, the business venture is self sustaining even to generations through meaningful approaches such as going paperless, using smart goal setting and a sustainable employment environment