A Kenyan in the first cohort of the Koffi Annan Health Leadership Fellowship has vowed to become Africa’s female icon in the betterment of other people’s lives.
Dr Jackline Nyaberi of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) intends to empower communities to lead healthy lives.
“I have embarked on my journey to become an iconic public health lender,” Dr Nyaberi said.
On Thursday, she donated a four-month sanitary towels pack to teenage girls of Maagonga Primary School in Nyamira County after a mentorship session.
She also donated clipboards approved by the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) to the school to be used by candidates.
Dr Nyaberi won the one-year fellowship after a competitive selection process that attracted over 600 applicants.
20 fellows were picked to participate in the initiative that brings together the African Union Commission (AUC) and Africa CDC.
The fellowship entails online learning and mentorship in-person learning sessions tenable at the Africa CDC in Ethiopia, and other leading health organizations across Africa.
It also seeks to model aspirational African public health leaders (fellows) in Africa.
It will help beneficiaries to acquire advanced skills and competencies needed to strategize, manage and lead public health programmes that will positively transform public health in Africa.
Dr Nyaberi noted that she will push for the inclusion of menstruation in government programmes like health and sanitation or free primary and secondary school education.
“Poverty is real in many homes and we need to find ways of alleviating it,” she said.
Dr Nyaberi said if sanitary pads should be part of the free education package so that no girl misses school or uses unhygienic ways during her menses.
“We should prepare our girls well and give them hope,” she said.
She said the mentorship campaign started two months ago with support of as little as Sh50 and as much as Sh20,000 from individuals who had heard her story, including her humble beginning.
“I was a pupil in this school and if I made it these girls too can,” Dr Nyaberi said.
She said the programme will metamorphose into a foundation so as to fast track her dream.
“I’m female but my desire is to become an iconic leader as Annan was,” she said.
She intends to reach over 3,600 girls during the one year fellowship.
Dr Nyaberi was in the company of Nyamira County Government officials including Dr Grace Nyamongo who is the County Executive Committee Member in charge of Gender and Social services and Rachel Okong’o who is a director in the department.
Dr Nyamongo urged more educationists and scholars to give back to their communities.
“We should not ignore the boy child. Every child needs support to succeed,” Dr Nyamongo said.
It should be remembered that Annan was a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Secretary-General of the United Nations between 1997 and 2006.
He was also the founding chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation, which seeks to mobilise political will to overcome threats to peace, development and human rights.
As chief mediator in the violent aftermath of Kenya’s 2007 presidential election, Annan’s authority, background and personality contributed greatly to a successful mediation.