In this section:

QYLs speak...

Kiiza Saddam Hussein: My journey as a Queens Young Leader

Kiiza Saddam Hussein: My journey as a Queens Young Leader

Reflecting on, and sharing, the learning

Inspired by the Leading Change course, Kiiza reflects on his year as a Queen’s Young Leader and shares how he has put different modules into practice.

One afternoon in December 2016, I received a call with UK dial code informing me I was a Queen’s Young Leader 2017. Happiness was all I felt at that moment. Now, a few days after completing the Leading Change online course, I have a successful experience to share.  

Module 0 – The Commonwealth Charter

I had often heard Her Majesty the Queen and other Commonwealth leaders referring to Commonwealth values and principles, but never knew in detail what exactly these were.

When we were introduced to the Charter, I read it in its entirety. I got to appreciate our shared common values and principles that we should strive to uphold.

You too – as a Commonwealth citizen – should acquaint yourself with the Commonwealth Charter since it enshrines our bonds as a Commonwealth family.

Module 1 – All about me, taking stock

Undeniably Module One is very important. If you want to know how best you can tell your story, better get yourself ready for this module. I found the element of mission and vision statement very benefiting to my organisation.

When we were introduced to the topic on “Nature or nurture?”, I realised how people are shaped by genes and environment. So I held different workshops where I was able to challenge many people to think about who they are or what they are doing. I found that most of work they are doing or planning is very connected to what their family members did.

Being aware of this has helped me to focus on things that I believe are deeply ingrained within my genes, but are also necessary for my community's development. However this should not limit your capacity to follow your passion.

Personally I love speaking in public. I like influencing others to buy into my projects. If you’re this kind of person who loves to make your case in public, get ready to learn the rhetoric of public speaking. Knowing how to employ ethos, pathos, and logos has presented me with opportunities to speak on different public platforms. And you can too.

Kiiza talking to a group of people

Module 2 – Leadership      

When I was asked to define leadership, I defined it like this:

  • “being exemplary in a positive way
  • inspiring others and giving them hope where seems to be no hope
  • selfless contributions towards a greater goodness
  • influencing others towards a shared goal
  • the ability of visualising the future and aligning others to pursue a common vision
  • the inclusive consultation in decision making
  • the potential to transcend between good and excellent
  • the sheer audacity to convince others towards success.

And a leader’s worth is not the number of servants he or she has but the number of people he or she serves. A leader leads by moral conviction and excellency with an interest in transforming the communities and people’s wellbeing.”

Through Module Two I learned that leadership involves also leading from behind.

Prepare yourself to join the course with an open mindedness and I assure you, you will transgress beyond your limitations.

Importantly also, you will discover yourself by testing what leadership qualities you have and, if need be, how can you better gain other qualities that you may be lacking.

Module 3 – Values, conflict and power

I used to want to win every argument or every battle. Others trying to convince me of things I did not believe or acknowledge was like pouring water on a rock.

This module made me try out something new. Now I always aim at understanding other people’s opinions, or at least respect them even if we differ. This has made me work and relate well with people whom I would not have wanted to associate with prior to taking this module.

With your power network map, you will know the people you quickly need to refer to, to accomplish a set of goals. I can assure you this has worked for me while mobilising resources for my “Yelp” project.  

Module 4 – Change by design  

Module 4 empowered me to master the art of influencing community members into backing my projects. It is fundamental that you design a plan that will get every stakeholder to contribute towards an impactful project that seeks to address a particular problem.

Men planting trees

Module 5 – Networks for change

Networking is the best tool to meet like-minded people but, most importantly, to meet new influential collaborators.

My first project funding came as a result of a woman I met at a conference. The next day I was submitting a proposal which attracted thousands of euros.

I have unshakable belief that networking can deliver unforeseeable great results. Module 5 will expose you to the different ways of building your network. It will make you aware how to turn down attempting but unrelated opportunities.

And, like I reflected, you will also reflect on how your country has been adequately or inadequately represented in Commonwealth programmes.  

Module 6 – The Change-maker Checklist

Youth in my community wanted to get involved in fighting climate change but never knew how. With Module 6, you will develop into a real change-maker who galvanises everyone in the community towards your project.

“If you walk alone you will go fast, but if you walk as a team you will go far.”

The question is: do you want to move fast alone or you want to move far with your community?

Today – after consultation and fellowship discussions – the community is helping me to collect funds to pay school fees for street children and other kids who were born from young HIV infected and raped mothers.

Module 7 – The Island

I was always convinced that taking time off will slow me down in terms of progress. Little did I know that taking time off was an incredible stimulating moment for my brain and body.

Monkey on grass and fisherman on shores of Lake Victoria

Monkey on grass and fisherman on shores of Lake Victoria.

The Island module was one of my best. Suffice to mention is that, my project, Yelp, was triggered into my mind when I was on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda for two weeks holiday.

I used to negatively think about the whole meditation thing, but now meditation has made me get focused. I am reading a book called The Power of now by Eckhart Tolle, that empowers you to fully use your brain in doing great things.

Module 8 – Leadership now

Finally, Module 8 taught me what I needed to know most regarding leadership styles.

Not only did I understand the six leadership styles, but also it revealed emotional intelligence and its relevance in shaping great leaders. I believe I will be one of those leaders.