Impact Stories & Blogs
Our team share their insights and perspectives on the impact our program is having on youth in East and Central Africa.
Covid-19 pandemic has hit the World hard causing a global economic shut down. Currently on the third wave, a lot is been done to stop spread the virus like social distancing, washing/sanitising hands and wearing of masks. Several countries have also started administering the Covid-19 vaccine. With thousands of hospitalizations, public health is more relevant and critical than ever and as a result, public health professionals are in high demand.
Stephen Ogweno, an alumnus of YALI Regional Leadership Center East Africa (YALI RLC EA) under the Civic Leadership track is one of those in the fore front in Kenya. He has a vast experience in the field of Public Health especially providing primary health care to people living with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) like cancer and diabetes through community health literacy campaigns, medical camps and through use of innovation and technology. Ogweno says, “Most of my work has been with my organization Stowelink Inc (www.stowelink.com) but I have also worked with Population Health Services, Plan International, Family Health Options Kenya and The University of Leuphania under various positions”. Stephen holds a Bachelor of Science in Population Health from Kenyatta University and Sustainability Leadership Executive Education from Cambridge University.
Stowelink Inc. is a youth led organization whose primary ethos is to make health information and diagnostic services for NCDs available to all, always and in relevant formats through the use of community projects, disruptive communication approaches and innovative use of technology.
“To date we have been able to reach more than 3 million people with relevant information and we have diagnosed over 30,000 people in free medical camps that we have organised and participated in. We have had 7 major projects, launched 2 mobile applications and gamified health education. Currently, we are conducting a multinational project called the NCDs 365 that operates in 8 African countries.” Ogweno says.
He adds, “Through the NCDs 365 project we have been able to work with the Vihiga county Government to open 4 NCDs clinics where we have volunteered our services and provided equipment for the NCDs clinics to continue functioning amidst COVID-19 pandemic. We have also been able to distribute masks and sanitizers to our NCDs communities.”
To date Stowelink Inc has been able to achieve tremendous impact. Below is their cumulative impact in numbers since 2015:
- 3.1+ million people have been targeted with messages on NCDs
- 24 institutions of higher learning (universities colleges and TVETS) have worked with them
- 43 high schools and primary schools that they have worked with
- 8 countries where they have active partners (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ethiopia, South Africa)
- 1,200 is the number of books that they have distributed in the schools that they have worked with (The Drug Free Youth Book and Mental Health Matters Anthology written by Stephen Ogweno)
- 24 is the number of medical camps where they have either volunteered or independently organized.
- 9 is the number of youth they have employed with a network of 1,126 volunteers
Before Ogweno joined YALI RLC EA, Stowelink was just starting of in its second year. He says, “I found out about the Program when I was a student at Kenyatta University. After 3 applications, I was finally accepted.”
He continues, “I networked and as five alumni, we partnered and founded Kreative Hub which trains young entrepreneurs. The biggest skills that I learnt in YALI RLC EA and have stuck with me ever since include Design Thinking, Public Speaking and Pitching Skills, 7 habits of Highly Effective People and Adaptive Leadership. These skills have helped me develop an exceptional organization which has had and continues to have impact in our communities. I have since become a Design Thinking Trainer and a public speaking expert presenting at the One Young Word Summit in 2019 in London and in 2020 at the Royal College of Physicians in London. “
Since YALI RLC EA, Kreative Hub has seen an increase in impact and growth in the organization and they have been able to raise about $40,000 for their projects and initiatives.
In the next five years, Ogweno is looking to launch the mHealth platform, sell 100,000 copies of their gamified learning, work with 20 countries and impact over 5 million people through their projects and initiatives. Ogweno confidently adds, “These goals on their own are quite daunting but with the solid foundation and grounding that I received during the YALI RLC EA Program, I believe we will get there.”
The biggest challenge they continue to face is inadequate funding, Ogweno says, “As entrepreneurs running social enterprises as opposed to traditional businesses, we find it hard to raise funds for projects whose primary aim is to create impact before profit. More than that, bureaucracy, community resistance and market adaptability are constant challenges that we continue to face as we phase new initiatives and programmes.”
In closing Ogweno emphatically adds, “YALI RLC EA changed my life. If you fail on your first attempt guess what, there is the next attempt and the next one... If you really want to join in, you will only rest the day you are selected to join the Program. YALI RLC EA offers you unparalleled package of expertise that will be with you for a lifetime. The alumni are global beacons and advocates for change, social development ad community impact. If you want to join these community of global change makers, YALI RLC EA serves as a great place to advance your journey!”