Dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic for learning institutions despite its indefinite closure requires a concerted effort that involves the Administration, Teaching and Non-teaching staff and Students. Additionally, the need to develop and implement various strategies that have been laid down to cope with the pandemic. The College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences (CAVS) not only did just that, they in turn stepped in on the following areas: Sensitization, Online Counseling, Partnership, creation of a hotline, utilization of digital platforms, mapping and identification of the students. CAVS efforts geared to support the students is what Mrs.Hellen Omwenga, a student counsellor at the college has spearheaded.
The College has created awareness using various Class Representatives, where a number of students have been reached through Support groups which include the following:
- Student County Representatives
- “Nyumba Kumi” students’ initiative
- UoN Student Welfare groups such as ‘Comrades Arena’ from Kisumu
2. Online Counseling
The Student Counsellor and support groups like the Peer Counsellors have managed to reach a number of students and addressed the social challenges they are faced with during this pandemic period. Most of the counselling sessions are one-on-one while others are through groups.
3. Partnership Creation
The College has enhanced the creation of partnerships with the Kenya Red Cross society and with individual donors. This partnership has aided in mobilization of resources by providing necessities such as minimum monetary donations and foodstuffs to the affected students.
4. Establishment of a Hotline
A Hotline has been established to enhance communication and enable efficient interactions between the three channels of communication, that is;
- The Student Counselor with Class Representatives
- The Principal and Deans direct reach to Students
- The Student Representatives with the students.
5. Utilization of Communication Platforms
Various communication platforms are employed that have made the interactions between staff and students very effective and successful. They include;
- Google meet
- WhatsApp groups
Through WhatsApp, CAVS has been able to engage many students from different ethnic groups across the country and through these interactions they are able to identify their needs and various constraints.
6. Identification of the Needy students
The above communication platforms, have helped CAVS identify financially challenged students who really need to be supported in consideration of their individual educational needs which aims at full development of their capabilities. A series of meetings on google meet/ zoom have been held to convey important information. Regular messages of hope are sent to these students in the aim of reducing what their stress levels.
Kudos to CAVS, continue in the same spirit, with the University's management in full support of your activities.