The InsomniART Knight

His name is Emmanuel Mawero, otherwise known as the InsomniART Knight. I met him in Architecture school at Ardhi University in Tanzania. He joined three years after me but guess what? It wasn’t his first first-year in Architecture school. He had studied Architecture before in a Kenyan university and had been discontinued, not in his first or second or third year but in his repeat-third-year. Now, Architecture school is already hard enough. It’s also rather long: five years in most universities. At the time he was discontinued, his mother had just bought her car, his younger brother Roy was in college and his younger sister had just joined high school, so they had already spent quite a bit.  Part of Emmanuel’s school loan from HELB, the Kenyan loan board had been set apart for helping with the home expenses and then suddenly after these events, it wasn’t there anymore.

He says, “The thought of mum taking up another loan to help with my fees at ARU was too much, considering Roy was also in college. Looking back, I’m in awe of how far God brought us.”

God has indeed brought him from far because he not only went back to first year of Architecture school and completed all five years, he has also bagged over three years of working experience and has completed his Architecture registration. See, for those that don’t know: after Architecture school, one has to get a minimum of two years work experience and sit a fresh set of exams before they get registered to practice officially. So basically, this whole process is longer than what medical doctors go through. And yet his was almost twice as long.

Having the setback in his life meant he got the opportunity to achieve most things after his previous classmates, such as graduation, work, even marriage. That delay seemed to have slowed him down. But he didn’t give up.

He currently works for EDG & Atelier Ltd. He is also a fine artist and writer. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter. ( and To go to his facebook, click here.

I’m so proud to call him my friend.

Emmanuel’s story inspires me so much because it is a story of grit, of persistently pursuing that which you are convinced God has assigned you to, despite the challenges. 10 years after being discontinued from his first ARCH school, he’s achieved so much and even surpassed people who were ahead of him, despite having to start all over and “losing time”.

NEVER GIVE UP! Be faithful with your journey and assignment. (The text in the first image embedded was written by him.)

Keziah Elaine Ayikoru

InsomiArt Knight 1InsomniART Knight 2InsomniART Knight 3


We’ve arrived at our final installment of Noeline’s story. There is even more to learn in this final segment. If you missed the first two, you can read them here and here for the first and second part respectively. Enjoy reading today’s post. 


Along the growth path of your different initiatives, what are some of the challenges you’ve experienced?

“The biggest challenge was funding. It’s tough coming from the security of a paycheck to figuring out how to make it work. As a social entrepreneur, you are driven by the passion. You want to make a difference but then you realize it’s going to take money to run the venture. In the early stages, it’s really difficult to secure funding especially for purely local startups where you don’t have links to the US…or any other country. Secondly, you don’t have any record they can track for impact so it’s hard because possible funders are always asking for impact. So it becomes hard for you to prove yourself in that early stage. It does get better with time though.

Getting the kind of staff you need is also a challenge. You end up having to outsource many things because you don’t have the money to hire full-time people. This affects the quality.

In addition, the workload is really crazy. In my first year, I was doing jobs for like six people. You’re the accountant, the manager, the PRO, the HRO…yeah, so that was a very big challenge for me. The bigger challenge was in that initial start up phase. I’d say for people who are starting out that you just have to hang in there. The start is rough but it gets better with time.”



What was your lowest moment during the period of running your businesses and is there a point you wanted to give up?

She laughs at this point as she tells me there was not one low moment but plural – moments.

“There are moments I cried my eyes out. There are times I’d wait for all my staff to go and I’d just stay behind. I was frustrated. You see how hard your people work and you want to offer them better remuneration but you can’t and it kind of nudges you. They were really committed and I wasn’t able to offer them better money. Those were frustrating moments. And yes there were moments when I literally wanted to give up.

I got through those moments first, by speaking up. I learnt to speak up and ask for help and that’s where I’ll say that it’s important to have mentors and people that believe in you and also for me, the board that I have are not just people with profiles but they are my friends too. So I learnt to fall back to the support system I had. I once called a meeting and told my board I was done. They empathized with me and also appreciated what I wasn’t seeing and helped me see how much positive work I had already done. In addition, they committed and said they were sticking there with me and did all they could to help me. That helped me to cast my burden. You don’t have to carry it alone. I actually met Moses Mukisa in one of those times when I had a burnout. He sat me down and gave me a serious talk and told me I couldn’t live my life like that. He also gave me some useful advice and new angles for the business as well as useful links and contacts of people who could help. So that helped.

Furthermore prayer helped. When I was reading about kingdom business, I learnt the concept of having God as your CEO and business partner whereby I would involve God actively in the business. In that process, some ideas were birthed in prayer and He’d impress it on my heart to go approach some people and they actually helped. So, having a support system and prayer have helped a lot.”

At this point, I was amazed by all the knowledge I had gleaned. It appears to me she has already achieved quite a lot. I am curious to find out what she’s cooking for the next steps in her life.

What are your future goals, dreams and plans?

“I aspire to become a CEO of a group of companies. One of the things I have discovered about myself is I am a starter. I have the grace to start things. So I see myself starting many companies and then training and equipping people to run these different companies.

In addition to this, one of my goals is to empower 10,000 startups.

My dream for Kyusa is that it becomes an international model which can be used anywhere and by anyone. So we can create tool kits for startups whereby one can log in and have a self-paced program which an individual can implement. That’s one of my dreams; to see what we do become a model that can run online and can be replicated in different regions.

One of my personal ambitions is to have written 60 books by the time I am sixty years. One of the people who have inspired me to write is Mike Maddock. I found close to 500 books of his and his writing model is to use smaller books. Some are as small as 30 pages but they give one a lot to think about. You have young people that are turned off by big books but they are desperate for information so I want to create 60 books that anyone can pick up and read.

In addition to this, finally, I want to travel the world.”

As I wound up this interview down, there were only three more things I wanted to ask.


What’s your personal mission statement?

“To empower people to identify their life purpose and turn their passions into skills for fruitful living”


Any favourite quotes? 

“If you can envision it, you can achieve it.”

“As a man thinks, so is he.”

“If you believe it, you can do it.”

“The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately.”



Your most impactful books? 

As a Man Thinks by James Allen, In Pursuit of Purpose by Myles Munroe, Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and Little Black Book for Stunning Success by Robin Sharma



I hope you’ve enjoyed sitting at Noeline’s table and soaking in her journey and lessons to learn.

Keep shining and keep on keeping on.

With the best of regards,



Noeline Kirabo has built a very vast experience base. She is the director of the New Generations Mentoring program, the founding president of Christian Women Entrepreneurship Network and Kyusa, and has attended many fellowships including Acumen in 2018, YALI RLC in 2017 and Kanthari in 2013.   The achievements I have stated here are not even half of her story. She has indeed learnt a lot and done a lot with her knowledge. I wanted to know more in this second part of the interview. You can read the first part here.

What are you most passionate about?

“People and justice. These are things which just awaken me.”

It’s clear to see that there is passion for people and justice in her eyes as she explains with an intense facial expression how certain things bothered her from a young age such as seeing elderly people burdened by heavy luggage. She even says she doesn’t understand how people can stand to watch graphic and gruesome news and stories such as situations where a woman is being battered. I am touched by her genuine concern for justice.


Tell us a bit more about Kyusa, your first baby. (she had earlier referred to Kyusa, her first venture as her first baby) 

“As Kyusa, our mission is to empower out-of-school youth. We are targeting urban-slum communities and empowering these young people to leave with economic opportunities. People with papers already struggle to find employment. Now people who aren’t able to go for higher education are automatically thrown out of the system. So we help them get in the market space either by starting their own businesses or helping them be able to leverage the available opportunities. Having gone through a similar situation myself, I know how hard it is. I realized there is a way out of this and you can still beat the system. I use my own story to inspire others and help them find their way. Kyusa does business start-up programs as well as well business acceleration for small and micro enterprises. So we help young people navigate the process of starting and managing businesses.

We also do ICT to help young people leverage opportunities online such as free online courses and networking to aid with their professional development. In addition, we also link them up with mentors who are successful adults doing what they want to do and can help them walk the journey. So in a nutshell we do youth empowerment and encourage employability. Our audacious vision is to eradicate youth unemployment in Uganda.”

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As someone who is involved in different ventures and programs, how do you balance all you do?

“Sometimes I also wonder how. I can’t say I have mastered it. I am a work-in-progress but one of the things that’s been helpful for me is being able to touch base with other leaders and learning from them how to do it. One of my lead coaches – mentor, pastor and friend – Moses Mukisa, who has been mentoring me for the last three years runs a whole lot of stuff. I keep telling myself that if he can do it, so can I. One of the things he’s taught me is having a patterned way of going through your day and that goes hand in hand with scheduling. For example on Monday, I focus on Kyusa then on Tuesday I focus on the mentoring program and on Wednesday I’m focusing on the Women’s program. That kind of pattern makes it easier. When I wake up I know what I do when. That way I am operating in automatic mode.

Thirdly, it’s accountability. In my second year after starting Kyusa, I had a burnout. I tried to be the superwoman and do all these things but I learnt to get accountability partners, people that keep me in check. These are friends who are very invested in me as a person but they are not afraid to challenge me or call me to action if need be. So having people that help you keep a balance in all the areas of your life is important. It makes all the difference, like someone asking a very simple question like when was the last time you did something fun and interesting? They kind of bring you back to reality.

Lastly, being intentional about having my Sabbath rest. If I need to switch off my phone and rest, I will. That balance is very important so that I can recoup.”



It is impossible to grow without any partners, how did you leverage partnerships for your different ventures?

“Through being coached, I was pushed to go out of my comfort zone to seek out people. My first office belonged to a friend. It was a barter trade where I did some work for him and he gave me space to do my own work. When it comes to partnerships, it thrives on relationships. The people that I started with were my friends who bought into my vision. The first people that worked for me were my friends and they volunteered for a year where I couldn’t really pay them. The most I could do was transport and lunch allowances. However, one of things I’d do to create a win-win situation is capacity building. Nobody works with Kyusa and leaves the same. They too, are trained and provided with knowledge. So when you think about partnership, it has to be win-win. It’s not just what can I get from you but what can I offer you in return. We need to focus more on what we can offer the other party than what we can get from them. In addition, over the years, I realize it comes down to relationship building whereby you share ideas with people who are already in your space. This calls for being authentic and interested in people. A lot of the people that I have partnered with are people with whom I have real and healthy relationships. I stopped going into meetings and immediately giving out business cards. I now go into meetings to listen to people because if I make friends, I may not need their help immediately but perhaps I might in five years. It becomes easier to ask someone who is my friend already and yet if you are just another contact, people will lose you as soon as the communication is cut. So for me the focus is how I can give back and also how to build the relationship.”


What was your most proud moment?

10014622_10152270218834400_807163376_n“Receiving my first award which was in 2014 when I had just started Kyusa. I did an interview with a lady who worked in an American TV station. That story was picked up and they gave me an award. I was flown to Texas for an event called South by South-West which is a big annual event. I didn’t even know how big it was and how people pay and struggle to get into the event and yet there I was. I looked at the profiles of the people I was being awarded with and I got speechless. I didn’t know what to say because I was just starting. I took that award in honour of my mum and all those who fight to make a difference. So for me that was a very emotional and life-transforming moment. That Dewey Winburne Community Service Award is right in my sitting room and is one of my treasured possessions. Sometimes when I think of giving up, I remember that moment and it gives me new energy.”


What do you do for fun?

“If it scares me, it thrills me. I love things that are high adrenaline, high adventure activities such as biking. If it’s a car for instance, the faster the better. I love the thrill. I also love traveling and it’s not so much about the destination but the journey. It’s therapeutic. Water is very therapeutic for me. I don’t swim as much as I’d like but that’s something I love to do. And then by default I love reading. In fact I could forego a social event to read a book, though I’ve had to find a balance. I’m not a movie person because I feel it’s such a passive activity. I want to be actively involved.”

We both laughed in response to her desire to be actively involved in her fun time event. I could clearly see her need to be a person of movement.  Noeline, who is a thirty-five year old third born of three with an older brother and sister, and was raised by a strong single mother, is definitely a woman of strength and virtue herself. I was keen to find out who she looks up to.

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Who are your mentors and role models?

“I’ve had different mentors at different points of my life. In the most recent years, the person who has really challenged me is Moses Mukisa. He has stretched and inspired me and got me to think beyond my wildest dreams. He’s one of the people that I look up to, highly respect, and emulate in so many ways. Part of my writing career was challenged and inspired by him.

I have been mentored and inspired by another gentleman called Emmanuel Sakira who is the chairman of the Kyusa board. He’s my mentor, friend and father figure. One of the things I really appreciate about him is he is one of the people who has handled me as Noeline outside of the titles. He saw me as a person, as a daughter and as a lady and he taught me to appreciate the different facets of my life. I can just be myself with him and that space has allowed me to grow without feeling like there is a pressure to perform and be a certain way.

My mum definitely is a role model even though she is a silent person. In addition, she prays for me like crazy. In fact when I find myself in a difficult situation, sometimes I say, “Lord, please nudge my mum to pray a little more.” (She laughs as she says this.) She has prayed for me so many times and her just being able to listen to me makes a difference too. She may not say so much but she listens as I pour out my heart.

My family has generally been very supportive.

My elder sister is like my second mum who encourages me to go for anything I want to go for. They’ve given me the liberty to dream, spread my wings and fly. I have the security that no matter how far I go, even if I don’t succeed, I always have a family to come back too and that’s very comforting.

On the wider scale, Michelle Obama is one of the people I love. I love her energy, caliber and character.”

It is indeed important for one to follow in the footsteps of others and have a good support system. Join me again, next Sunday on this same blog for the last and final installation of this interview – the wrap up.

Have a fruitful week and thank you for reading. You are awesome and brilliant beyond your wildest imagination. Keep dreaming. Keep believing. Keep acting. 

With the best of regards,

Keziah 🙂



IMG_1134Noeline is an author, writer, motivational speaker, life coach, career mentor, trainer, social entrepreneur and business development consultant. 


It was a cloudy and threatening-to-rain day when I made my way to Kalerwe to the Kyusa offices. Noeline’s directions were precise to the dot and I got to the right office without any hiccups. Okay well, almost no hiccups. I almost went toward the wrong door until I spotted the Kyusa poster on the first door. Her welcome was warm. She sat next to an open window that showed an overgrown wild bush in the neighbouring plot. I had looked forward with anticipation to chatting with this vibrant young lady. Seated opposite her, I started asking her some questions. Her answers flowed like a river and her joyous laughter was plentiful.

Tell us a bit about your background and early childhood

“I was born in Jinja, then we relocated. I grew up in old Kampala for the biggest part of my life. It was an urban slum community and quite an experience because from a young age I got to see people hustle. I saw the challenges that people go through, the suffering and pain, the vulnerability and young girls becoming pregnant and eloping. That is where my connection comes from when it comes to community work because these are things I’ve seen and experienced. It is not something I read and researched about.

I was very sickly growing up so I had my own dynamic. On one side I was very fragile while on another side I was very adventurous so the combination was a big twist for many people. You either knew one side or the other side so my mum would go to school and argue how her daughter is purely innocent and the teachers would look at her with a you-have-no-idea-what-your-daughter-can-do look. I was quiet and reserved yet quite naughty. You’d walk into class and think ‘it can’t be her’ and yet everything tells you ‘it must be her’.” She laughed. 

“Also, because I was sickly, I was exempted from many things such as punishment and the hard work. So at some point I took the same laissez faire attitude with my academics. I knew that even if I flunked, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. This went on until either P.5 or P.6, when I was forced to repeat a class and that was a wake up call for me.

I was taller than most of the people in my class so it was on that basis that my sister insisted I don’t repeat because it would kill my esteem. She advocated for me to change schools. At that time, I was in Mengo primary and I was moved to Bat Valley primary. It was at that point that I woke up and improved my academics. I wanted to prove myself and I realized that if I just put in a little effort, I’d actually get stuff done. I was very good with the Arts. Mathematics was my biggest challenge, (laughs) I guess still is, but I’ve come a long way.

WhatsApp Image 2018-04-01 at 11.23.38For secondary I was put in Wanyange boarding school and that was a whole other experience because being sickly, away from home and having been pampered all my life, there I was. I had cousins in higher classes who watched out for me but that was my transition into independence, just learning to be able to stand. At first I became a bully then I outgrew it. I would get people to do stuff for me. Then I found my way into a leadership space though sadly at first, I used that to still get people to do stuff for me. Then I think it’s in my A level that I got to really serve and not to just get people to do stuff for me.”


Curious, I ask her what sparked that urge to change and use leadership for real service.

“I’d grown up in church all my life but it’s at that point that I became really serious with God. It was during my senior 4 transition. My mum fell sick and it’s in that moment that my faith meant more to me than anything. By the time I got to A-level I was really grounded and that’s what changed my perspective. I’m now a leader not to get privileges but basically to empower and mentor other people. I was a head girl and head of scripture union fellowship in my A-levels.”

How did your journey proceed after high school?

“After I did my high school, I passed and was admitted to university as a private student. I was super excited. However, I realized I wasn’t able to go to university. Mum was sick and going through chemotherapy. There was no money for university. I was brought to a place where I had to drop out not because I was daft or I didn’t want to study but because of matters out of my control. So that put me on a totally different path. To build my first CV, I did a number of online courses and that’s how I got a job which gave me formal training.”

What inspired you to get up and move forward from that discouragement of not being able to go to university?

“During that time I spent a lot of time with my mum in hospital taking care of her. Cancer, as a disease in Uganda was only starting to get on the rise and the perception toward it was similar to that of AIDS whereby it was assumed that when you get it, you die. But interestingly, my mum refused to die and it is something she verbalized. She said ‘I refuse to die’ and it would annoy me like crazy because I thought that it was her fate due to the general perception. A year later my mum actually pulled through and she is one of those cancer survivors that has no side effects…for me that was a miracle and the fact that she said she refused to die and that she needed to see her grand children, it was proof that her will kept her alive. So that’s where I picked the will to push for my dreams, to know that no matter where you are, you can actually push against the tides. I had seen her practically do it.


I had wanted to be a journalist or lawyer so at that point I asked myself what it was about those two professions that I loved. I realized it was that I wanted to speak for the vulnerable and bring justice in some way. So I started reading very wide and realized I was more interested in humanities and that took shape for me. I hate it when people are marginalized and I want to do my part to make a difference everyday.”

So how and when did you start the different initiatives that you run and what was the progression from one to the other? Did it all happen at once?

“Definitely not all at once. My very first initiative was Kyusa which I started in 2014. I left my last formal employment in 2012 and took a gap year in 2013 where I got a scholarship to go to India and do a course in social entrepreneurship. That helped shape the idea of what I wanted to do and this led to the launch of Kyusa, my first organization that I started from scratch. It’s been an experience and it was my first baby.

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In 2015, I started getting offers from people who wanted me to do consultancy or training for them that didn’t fit within the Kyusa framework. This led to the birth of Newen consults, a company I started in partnership with a friend. Newen Consults does personal and business development consulting. Kyusa still remained my main focus though.

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Around that time, I was mentoring and coaching young women and there a was period when seven women approached me for personalized coaching and mentoring around the same time. I knew that it would be a stretch for me. I prayed about it and that gave me the idea to do group mentoring. After that group mentoring pilot, there were people on the wait list already. This gave birth to the New Generations Mentoring program. This program was branded under Newen Consults. This has been running since 2016 and now we are in the fifth cohort. It’s been an amazing journey.

While doing business consultation, one of the things that bothered me was how there was little space for faith as a woman within the different business transactions. It was this that led me to read and research about “Kingdom Business” and interestingly there was not so much information about it. I had questions like at what point do I tithe as the business? At what point do I uphold my faith in business? Is there room for it because I can’t be one person and then another when it comes to business. So for a year we had this whatsapp group where we basically discussed business as women. We talked about tithe, prayer in business, sharing the gospel with workmates and so on. The network itself just grew over time. It’s not something that I woke up and decided to do. However, because I had started the initiative, I came on board as the founding president. We structured and registered it as the Christian Women’s Entrepreneurship Network and put in place a committee that runs it. This took effect in 2017.


Next in 2017 when I wanted to do my book launch for Find Your Significance, I published my book under Newen consults and now in addition, we offer this service as well as nurturing and training upcoming young authors and helping them launch their books.”

zcamera-20171216_102506I had more questions and there is much more wisdom to be gleaned from Noeline. Let’s drink in this knowledge together slowly and fully. The second part of this interview will be published next Sunday on this same blog.

I believe you are looking forward to it too 🙂 .  

See you next Sunday. 

Best regards,


Quote “2” by Noeline Kirabo

“Significance is tied to understanding your role, your worth and your mandate. It stems from who you are as a person and the things that make you distinct. This includes your values, beliefs and passions. They define what is most important to you and how you appropriate your time and resources to the things that give you the highest sense of fulfillment”

From FIND YOUR SIGNIFICANCE by Noeline Kirabo.
Her story unfolds here this Sunday, April 1st, 2018.

Quote “1” By Noeline Kirabo

“Finding your significance begins with a conscious realization of the fact that you are made for much more than you are currently experiencing… Life is worth living and that only happens when we know why we are here and the roles we’re meant to play.”

From her book FIND YOUR SIGNIFICANCE by Noeline Kirabo. 

Her story unfolds here this Sunday, April 1st, 2018.


PRECIOUS SOMEONES: Celebrating People

I’m particularly excited about the next few weeks for we are going to be diving into the journeys and lives of some awesome and inspiring people. I am enjoying the process of learning from them and I hope you will too.

The first blog post I did on this platform had one of my favourite quotes:

There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.”

-George Matthew Adams-

My prayer is that as you read these stories of strength, courage, hope, love, faith, determination etcetera, that you will be encouraged and strengthened. I pray that these words will enter into the make up of you and that this will cause a great growth in you, and add to your foundation and faith in your ability to make it through anything and achieve all you want to achieve.

I love people.

And I love reading, watching and hearing people’s stories.

Humankind has an inherent strength that radiates from deep within one’s soul. No matter a person’s background, embedded within is the natural desire to be more and to do more. Many people around the world are conquering different mountains and rising above to excel greatly in all they put their minds to. Telling their stories is how we get the rest of the world to learn from their journeys.

Telling people’s stories and passing them on to the next generation is a form of education. Those that come after us are able to connect with people that came before and apply lessons learned relevantly to their own journeys.

Connection is another important aspect of sharing stories. Other people get to understand that they aren’t alone in their struggles and therefore, they too can overcome.

Last week I heard a phenomenal story of a young lady who had a troubled past. Let’s call her Shanty. She is opening up and continues to share to her story. Through sharing her story, a lady who is in a similar situation that Shanty had been in decided against committing suicide. From Shanty’s story, she got the courage to live because she found out that her situation did not have to be the end of her life. That’s the power of sharing stories of hope and strength. They cause transformation, revolution, renewal and they literally give dry bones a new lease of life.

I encourage you to tell your story.

I also encourage you to learn from other people’s stories.

The first story I’ll share is of Noeline Kirabo, a young and energetic Ugandan lady. She is an author, writer, motivational speaker, life coach, career mentor, trainer, business development consultant and social entrepreneur. If you feel she does a lot from this list, there is still much more. How did she become all this? How does she manage to do all this? How did she start? Where do her passions lie? She answers these questions and so many more.

Join me on this journey. I’ll be sharing quotes from her most recent book “Finding Your Significance” all through the week on this facebook page. Watch out for her interview next Sunday, same time, same blog. Until then, have a great week.

Best regards,


NOTE: Most of the images used on this blog currently, are downloaded from the internet through random searches. Where an image source is not acknowledged, this blog DOES NOT claim ownership of it and we therefore acknowledge alternative ownership. Thank you.