Resourceful graduate aims to give back

Every day, Africa University alumnus Gad Maiga witnesses to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ.

“My social involvement has evangelistic consequences,” he said. “Being, doing and saying are at the heart of our integral task.”

Born and reared in the Kenyan village of Muberi, Gad was the third seven children. His father, the Rev. Anthony Maiga, is a volunteer United Methodist pastor, serving “in a squalid and overcrowded urban district inhabited by very poor people,” Gad said.

In Nairobi, Gad worked with the United Methodist youth ministry and founded a small music school in 2011. “Through the little income from the music school,” he said, “I managed to support my family, plus enroll in several life-skills courses while applying for scholarships to advance my studies.”

In 2013, he received a scholarship to attend Africa University.

“Africa University made me an entirely different person,” he said.

“AU is filled with resources and counselors that helped me succeed. From internships to volunteer work, my resume was already booming even before I got my degree.”

Gad earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agribusiness management. He discovered, he said, “how to be a good learner through honesty, diplomacy, time management, delegation, teambuilding, hard work and accountability, which puts me in good stead to make a value-added contribution economically, socially and morally.”

As a Global Mission Fellow with the General Board of Global Ministries (2016-18), Gad worked as a natural resource program manager for the Church of Christ in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Today he plays three roles: agribusiness officer, photojournalist/communicator and youth coach.

“As an agribusiness officer,” Gad said, “I initiated the Urban-Rural Support Network in Africa.” Since 2018, more than 1,000 youth and women have been trained in integrated agricultural techniques.

Gad is also a photojournalist/communicator with the United Methodist Kenya-Ethiopia Annual Conference. He uses print and electronic resources, he noted, “to ensure communication with church leadership, congregations and affiliate partners locally and internationally. I write about personal, social and political issues to change minds, introduce solutions to old problems and help me become a more engaged advocate for social justice.”

He founded iPhot Os, a nonprofit organization that highlights disenfranchised communities through photography, creating gorgeous landscape and portrait photos that, upon closer examination, often highlight problems. “Social change is a change in images,” Gad continued. “I focus my lens on evidence of unfairness to raise awareness about inequality and unfair policies.” 

As a youth coach, Gad initiated the “Y-Reality Show,” a safe space empowering young people to combat the debilitating effects of poverty, unemployment and insecurity. “We emphasize passion, opportunities and life purpose, based on Christian teachings,” he said.

He helped to create an East Africa AU alumni network.

“We are loyal supporters and ambassadors, offering invaluable marketing and promotion of AU,” Gad said. “We share our experiences and guide and encourage prospective and current students to seek and embrace the wonderful and exceptional opportunities that come with the cultural diversity, education and exchange programs at AU for their personal and professional growth.”

The young man’s dream is to earn a master’s degree in social justice advocacy. He wants to use agribusiness “to champion youth and women empowerment as well as multicultural consciousness to reexamine advocacy systems and strategies and focus on correcting negative effects of social injustice,” he explained.

Above all, Gad strives to model the sharing that allowed him to attend AU.

“The generosity at AU has inspired me to help others and give back to the community,” he said. “I hope, one day, to help students achieve their goals, just as Africa University helped me.”

Barbara Dunlap-Berg