OPINION: A salute to Kentice Tikolo for leading the way for women behind you

    OPINION: A salute to Kentice Tikolo for leading the way for women behind you

    By Patience Nyange

    I love it when a Kenyan woman is excellently causing disruption and challenging the status quo. This is a story about Kentice Tikolo.

    I know her as my professional mentor and a woman that I truly love.

    Kentice, as I like to call her, is a woman of many titles; but two stand out, she is the Managing Director at Cause Impact PR and former President of the Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK).

    Well, she’s done many other big things before, like conceptualizing and implementing the initial campaign and Kenya’s First Lady’s Half Marathon, which is one of her most significant achievements.

    But I am writing to acknowledge her today, for yet another key role in under her name: the first Kenyan woman to oversee a football election in Kenya, a world-class election with no drama!

    She is the Chairman at Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Electoral Board.

    For years, many of us know that FKF elections are about chaos, lawlessness, anarchy and violence.

    But for the first time in Kenya’s history, a woman is seated at the main seat and the recently concluded election has gone seamless.

    To me, this is a confirmation that women are accomplished and adept, even in areas believed to be male-dominated like football.

    She describes herself as “a simple but firm woman (with a big heart) who believes in equality of people.

    “We all deserve an equal chance on this earth,” she said during a recent interview with the Standard Newspaper.

    “I have a special calling to help those who are disadvantaged. I’m solid on justice. A stickler to regulations, I’m a little bit of a perfectionist. I take life seriously: loyal almost to a fault. So, when I give myself to do something, I go out of my way to deliver perfectly,” she added.

    Our quest to celebrate Kentice Tikolo is a mission to provide much-needed visibility for women champions worldwide and specifically in Kenya.

    It is also a chance to encourage many other women to join the less travelled route.

    She knows this too well and has been in the forefront questioning the misrepresentation and lack of visibility of women in sports.

    Case in point is the October London Marathon 2020 where she raised questions about the lack of hype and razzmatazz over Brigid Kosgei’s win.

    “Why did we all focus on Eliud Kipchoge’s loss in the men’s marathon, yet we had a woman who had won? Did we all pretend it was business as usual? We must be deliberate in giving equal attention to supporting women in sports, far too few women are involved in sports in Kenya,” she said.

    Well done Kentice Tikolo!

    Here is a standing ovation for leading the way for women behind you.

    Thank you for holding our hands and trusting us, even when we do not fully trust in ourselves.

    I am writing this, as a statement that is shared by many younger women, who look up to you for direction and mentorship. I am writing this on their behalf.

    Some of those women are with you at the PRSK; Network for Media PR Women in East Africa; Association of Media Women in Kenya (AWMIK) and the African Women in Media (AWiM).

    Patience Nyange is a journalist and a Chevening Scholar alumnus from Cardiff University. She previously served as an Assistant Director at the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR).