In the words of American founding father, Benjamin Franklin, an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
These very words remain a guiding principle to Stephen Macharia, a senior Chief in Free Area, Nakuru County, with Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), making him among the first among his colleagues.
Aged 53, Macharia graduated with a PhD in administration from Northwestern Christian University in Port Richey, Florida in the United States of America (USA) in December 2021. To date, he relives the moment he was received enhanced powers to read.
“When I dawned my graduation gown and went forward to receive my degree, I nearly collapsed on my feet. I recalled how far I had come, and to get to this new level of becoming a Doctor, I broke into tears,” he narrated.
He noted that his quest for education was motivated by his humble upbringing. Macharia revealed that growing up, his family was not well off and even meals were hard to come by. The senior chief noted that education was his only way out.
“We did not have the luxury to choose what to eat, we had whatever was available. We never had proper clothing and most of the time we would dress in tattered garments.
“When people started going to school, we started seeing positive change in the village. That was when I decided that I would pursue education to the highest level,” he explained.
He buried his head in his books and sat his Kenya Certificate Education exam (now KCPE) which allowed him to proceed to high school. Macharia sat his Kenya Advance Certificate of Education (KACE) -an equivalent of KCSE in 1989 and scored a C plain.
While he missed out on admission to the university, he joined the Kenya School of Professional Studies where he pursued a diploma in 1995. He briefly worked as a clerk at a law firm in Nakuru before he was appointed as chief in Free Area.
He advanced his education, obtaining a bachelor’s and master’s degree in administration. The government official then signed up to undertake an online doctorate degree in a Florida-based institution.
Senior Chief Macharia has served for nearly 20 years and notes that his education had made a difference in his leadership. He added that it has helped him in handling some of the perennial issues in the area such as insecurity and illicit brews.
“Having a learned chief is very important. Even the approach he takes in dealing with issues is more effective and is beneficial in the long term,” area residents affirmed.
In addition, he has also used his position to champion for education noting that the government has provided a platform for children to attend school unlike when he was growing up.
“Every day is a day of earning and all of us should take advantage of that without giving excuses. Education has so many benefits to anyone who is willing to go through the journey,” he noted.
When asked whether he would consider joining politics, he said he preferred serving the people in administrative rather than elective capacity.