MKU COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IN THE O3PLUS AWARENESS WALK
Communis Minds has been part of the Our rights, out lives our future project sponsored by UNESCO and implemented by Mount Kenya University and the University of Nairobi. The project focused on the health well-being of youth. The project was running between September and December 2021. Communis was a key participant through implementation as it contribute to the community view of the youth other than the University student’s view of the youth. The youth exist in the community, and thus part of it. They use the same transport systems, obtain food from the same merchants etc.
One of the activities which are taking place in January 2022 is an awareness walk where Communis will be mobilizing community members to participate.
The O3Plus project which is rolled out by MKU as an implementing partner in conjunction with UoN and UNESCO focuses on outcomes of healthy and empowered youth. This was projected to target students in the higher technical educational institutions. As such creating opportunities for other students as well as non-student youth in the MKU community would be beneficial. Following large numbers of the students, a significant number of them today reside around the hostels around the university. Notably, others reside in distant locations including Kiganjo, Kiang’ombe, Makongeni, Biafra, Majengo, Starehe and largely in Runda estates.
Related to their residence, the cases of security, safety and even drug abuse which have reported incidents of gender-based violence, crimes of passion, depression and college dropout have been witnessed. Other cases and incidents go unreported to the University management because they are outside the University premises and compound. Moreover, the students’ daily life exists around the business community including the hostel entrepreneurs, the foodstuff vendors, transport services providers (mostly boda boda riders and TukTuk operators), among others. Moreover, cases of crime of passion have in the recent past have been reported within Thika township. Thika is also reported to be vibrant in night club businesses with some moral erosion such as prostitution practices and drug abuse. This implies the higher risk for students falling prey and even involvement. This distracts their educational goal focus as well as exposing them to sexuality context where a high sensitization of sexual reproductive health and right education is required. This forms the basis of a health and empowerment awareness drive that should be inclusive of the community.
Objectives of the participation
- Integrate the community interests with the students’ health and well-being efforts
- Harmonize the community activities towards the efforts in ensuring healthy and empowered youth.
- The concept proposed the involvement of the community in the dimensions that may create external support for enhancing the health and wellbeing of the university students.
Communis Minds participation in Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights dubbed O3PLUS (Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future) Awareness Walk in partnership with UNESCO, University of Nairobi and Mount Kenya University in Thika Town on 11th February 2022. Pictured: Ms. Fionnuala Quinlan, H.E Ambassador of Ireland to Kenya; Ms Christine Atieno, Chairperson Communis Minds, Shallon Mangara and Betty Bosibori – members of Communis Minds
Prof. Hubert Gijzen, UNESCO Regional Director for Eastern Africa with Communis Minds community participants during O3PLUS awareness walk in Thika town. The walk was organized by Mount Kenya University in partnership with University of Nairobi and UNESCO.