Live fully in the Present

I think one of the things I have learned in my previous years but became fully aware of is the power of living fully in the present. 

As seen at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris

In 2015, I went for my National Youth Service and dedicated my one year of service to serving the community. For a whole year, I was busy carrying out 6 community development service projects and what I learned during those moments was pain, rejections, growth, negotiation, partnership, and resilience. I carried those skills along with me to my next adventure. Did I tell you, I won a state award. 

In 2016, in late December, I started writing and founded Kayfactor inspires. I dedicated my time writing every single day and what I learned is consistency. I made mistakes during this period, I got corrected and with time, I became one badass writer even if I still don’t consider myself as one. I won the Keenista African Essay Competition Award (Top 2 -7 out of 513 entries) and today became the first-ever winner of the Ufahamu Africa Student Essay Competition. 

In 2017, I founded KLCI and we were just three. I was doing the work and telling the story. Gradually we moved from 3 -100 and I learned about leadership by example. Today, we are heading towards our 6th year. 

In 2018, I joined the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative program and I dedicated one year of my life, showing up at meetings, engaging communities, developing programs, and making friends for life! I won the US Consul General Award. 

In 2018 as well, I became an African Monitor Youth Champion and engaged 600 ordinary citizens on development issues, and listening to everyone shaped my thinking about how I see the world and development. I had my first appearance at the office of the Senate President. 

In 2019, I joined the Peace First Fellowship -in-Residence Program. Connected with 6 amazing young leaders. Engaged over 1700+ young people from more than 30+ countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Stretched me and learned new stuff. 

In 2020, I won the MasterCard Foundation Scholarship to study Africa and International Development at The University of Edinburgh. I joined the foundation communications team to tell the stories of scholars and contributes to the communication strategy.

In 2021, I rejoined Peace First as the first board member from Sub-Saharan Africa and I have been contributing to programs development using the social justice lens and experience of working with young people in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

In the same 2021, I also joined the Mastercard Foundation on an internship to work on the Foundation for All program and designed with other four young leaders a mentorship program that will enable refugees access higher education and apply for scholarship programs. In the same role, I got a placement to write my dissertation on contextualizing the experiences of refugee learners in accessing higher education through bridging education programs in Uganda. This is quite a novel and new research and working on the project with the MasterCard Foundation partners in three learning institutions is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I coordinated and supported the monitoring and evaluation of the project and I deepened my knowledge in MERL (Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning). I have also deepened my knowledge using qualitative statistical analytic tools. My work on this project also got me a MasterCard Foundation Award for Transformative leadership which I am super grateful for. I also graduated from my Msc programme in Africa and International Development and started a role as the West London Educational Mentoring Coordinator with Refugee Education UK where I help young refugees and asylum seekers to mentors for educational support. It has been such a privilege to work in a place that values individuals and changing the landscape in terms of refugees' access to education. More even, towards the last stretch of the year, I ended it with a bang by finally publish my second book on Amazon 5 years: 10 lessons life taught me. 

In 2022, I joined the British Red Cross to help young refugee and Asylum seekers to develop life skills through a refugee and befriending programme and more even, work on a research with MasterCard Foundation that explores identity in transition. Won the Africa Impact Finance Initiative Grant to scale our work at KLCI. Featured by the University of Edinburgh for my work on access to education for refugees. Served as a guest lecturer to teach a session to MSc Global Development students at the Open University in the UK. Selected as a UNESCO youth delegate and spoke at the pre-summit of Transforming Education Summit at the Unesco headquarters in Paris to about over a 100 ministers of education, young people, and civil society leaders about my work in helping children in underserved communities develop life and 21st-century skills. Presented a paper at the Teaching and Learning Conference at the University of Edinburgh on Identity in Transition and there are many other things I have done behind the scene which sometimes does not make it here but those things make me proud every single day. 

And today, I have joined many other projects, raised funds for refugees to access legal aids in Europe. Spoke to students on career digitally. Helped university students develop social enterprises and solution. Spoke at many online conferences that support the development of young people. I have heard the young people I work with say “Hammed, you are good man. You are a great leader” I have seen people who are willing to give their all for the cause. I have seen what it means to love and be loved. I have stretched myself in many numerous ways and I am still fully present! I will take a break if I have to but I will be present. 

I know one journey will keep leading to the other and I have had some downtime, some redirections, some rejections but I am grateful. I am grateful some things did not work out because it was a distraction from fulfilling my purpose and living fully in the present. 

I have learned to succeed in whatever you do, you just have to be fully present and 100% committed. That is when the doors open without pushing really hard.

Hammed Kayode Alabi (c) 2020, 2021, 2022.


  1. Wow! I am more than inspired, every time I read a writeup from you, I end up reflecting on my journey, I always realize I have not started yet, there's more to do, so much to learn and relearn.

    Thank you for your sacrifices to humanity.

    You inspire me always, thank you!


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