Walk to Promote Health and Well-being among University Students

O3 Plus Walk to Promote Health and Well-being among University Students

Over 700 staff, students, friends and community of Thika gathered at the Mount Kenya University on Friday, February 11, 2022 to take part in a joint walk to raise awareness of O3plus.  

The University of Nairobi, UNESCO and Mount Kenya University walked to raise awareness for the students' physical and health wellness while in campus and to integrate the community interests with the students’ wellbeing. The walk is one of the key advocacy activities part implemented under the O3 Plus project.

While delivering his remarks, Prof. Hubert Gijzen, UNESCO Regional Director for Eastern Africa emphasized the need to raise awareness of mental and sexual wellbeing among students in higher and tertiary education institutions, “O3 Plus Project is significant because it sets up safe places in campuses where students can find advise, engage in sports and engage in campus radio programs that help promote their wellbeing.”

He further talked about the Fit for Life Program, a UNESCO's sport-based flagship that is designed to accelerate COVID-19 recovery, support inclusive and integrated policy making, and enhance the wellbeing of youth around the world. Powered by a global compact of partners, Fit for Life uses data driven sport interventions to tackle intersecting crises in physical inactivity, mental health and inequality.

On her part, Madam Teresiah Kariuki, Assistant director Public Health, Kiambu County expressed her excitement on the (O3 Plus) Project awareness walk.

 “Adolescent and young people are part of the Kiambu County government Agenda. We would like to work together with the O3 Plus partners. We have over 7 universities in Kiambu County with high population of students therefore this program has come at the right time.”

The Vice Chancellor, university of Nairobi, Prof. Stephen Kiama applauded the students for leading in the walk and fully embracing the (O3 Plus) Project. He said that students are the real owners of the project.

“I believe the partners want the young people to lead this project. This is about your future, your families’ future, your country’s future, the future of the world.”

On his part, Prof. Deogratius Jaganyi, the VC, Mount Kenya University emphasized the need to work together with the community to promote the students' wellbeing.

"MKU, Thika Campus alone has over 10,000 students while only 1,400 students live on campus while the rest live outside the University. The students, including the 1,400 living on campus, interact with the local community in various ways. It is in this regard, that the University has established a very strong partnership with the neighbouring community through various types of agreements for the good of our students. This sensitization would not be adequately accomplished without the community involvement."

The walk also happened on the same day as the International day of women and girls in science that aims to promote women and girls in science. 

The overall role of UNESCO’s project is to ensure that young people in higher and tertiary education institutions in the Eastern and Southern Africa realize positive health, education and gender equality outcomes through sustained reductions in new HIV infections, unplanned pregnancies and gender based violence.

The project being implemented in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe aims at enabling young people to reach their full educational potential and contribute more effectively to the development of their countries and region as graduates, professionals and young leaders.

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