Much enthusiasm filled Taifa Hall Auditorium at the University of Nairobi’s main campus as the Office of the Dean of Students and Careers Services hosted the launch of the O3 plus program and the flag off of the O3 Plus wellness hike to Mt.Kenya on Wednesday the 13th of July. The event that saw the attendance of students from both the University of Nairobi and Mount Kenya University is a joint initiative of the University of Nairobi, Mount Kenya University and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The event is part of an initiative dubbed “Our Rights, Our lives, Our Future” O3 plus founded with the aim of creating awareness about the fragile lives of young people and the important of social and mental wellness among young people in higher and tertiary institutions in Eastern and Southern Africa.
Here at the University of Nairobi. O3 plus was launched on the 30th of September 2021 and has since undertaken several initiatives delving deeper into various themes that encompass the lives of students at the university level such as mental health, education, gender equality, HIV, unplanned pregnancies, gender based violence among many other topics. The Mt.Kenya Hike, scheduled to take place from the 14th of July to the 17th, is just one among many of the programs the university has taken up in an effort to further raise awareness about the importance of health and wellness among young people.
Among notable attendees for the flag off were Dr. Medhin Tsehaiu,County Director UNAIDS, Prof. Deogratius Jaganyi Vice Chancellor Mount Kenya University,Prof.Stephen Kiama Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi, Mr. Festus Jera from the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage and Mr. Hugue Charnie, UNESCO.
Speaking at the flag off, Vice Chancellor Professor Stephen Kiama further reiterates the aim of the hike being symbolic of the mental toughness and preparedness required when undertaking challenges in life, likening such experiences to the various boulders encountered in our daily lives. He commends the team of 9 students, comprising of 7 from the University of Nairobi and 2 from Mount Kenya University, for the rigorous training and preparation they have undertaken for the past couple of months inclusive of 6 pre requisite hikes aided by ‘Outdoorer Hiking Academy’. The Vice Chancellor draws his speech to a close citing that he has banked great confidence in the team’s ability to pitch the O3 flag at point Lenana on Mt.Kenya.
The greatest take home of the day was on the importance of the youth especially during the country’s delicate period of elections. Prof. Deogratius Jaganyi Vice Chancellor, gave the young people a lot to think about citing that they had the greatest role to play in keeping peace in the nation. This comes after history in Kenyan elections has subsequently recorded the use of young people by politicians in instigating violence pre and post-elections. He encouraged the young people to be ambassadors of peace especially in the forthcoming elections.
“If we are to reach real peace in this world
We shall begin with the youth.”
By Mary Oloo