B ank of Africa(BOA) has been phenomenal in supporting efforts of creating epilepsy awareness.
Between the 25th and 29th of May 2018, fifteen BOA staff climbed up Mt Kenya. At point Lenana, 4985M above sea level, the Angaza Kifafa flag was hoisted
During this same year the current honorable high court judge Mumbi Ngugi showed interest in the services of Youth on the Move and asked how she could make use of the concept for the empowerment of youth with albinism. This brought partnership between AFEA and YotM where youth with albinism also received the peer education with YotM’s model. The partnership with Mumbi Ngugi led to the awareness of the importance to educate the youth with epilepsy on their rights. For this reason, the ‘Mind you Rights’ program was initiated with the help of Bobby Mkangi who assisted in developing the manual with information on rights and responsibilities and how to uphold them.
The youth wanted to do more than only reaching out to the people in their community. They also wanted strong partnership with the major stakeholders like the Ministry of Health, Kenya Society for Epilepsy and KAWE. Together with Prof Kioy, they sought to form an interdisciplinary team and the first meeting was held in 2009 at Prof Kioy’s office with the Ministry of Health and Sanofi which ushered in the birth of NECC; the National Epilepsy Coordination Committee.
From 2011, YotM has partnered with various NECC-members, in epilepsy education, lobbying and advocacy. Since then all provinces have been reached except the North Eastern region. One of the means in the awareness creation and empowerment is the Movers Music. With the help of the local famed musicians the youth produce songs on epilepsy in their vernacular. In total 13 songs have been realized and the youth who participated in this activity have been equipped with entrepreneurship skills and supported with seed capital to start small businesses.
Whereas the organization knew various successes, it also encountered challenges and losses. Whereas the youth with epilepsy were educated, we found out a little late that we also had to involve the parents. Mohamed in Msambweni had learned the facts on epilepsy and educated the people around him. However, his mother wasn’t convinced about the facts on epilepsy and didn’t want him to be seen in hospital when he had a status seizure. We intervened too late to ensure his recovery. We were faced with his passing. Therefore the manual ‘Bring them up!’ was written and published and the Parents Meetings kicked off at the centre and various clinics.
In the process of the awareness creation, the Movers encountered more groups of people with the desire to be informed about epilepsy. This included the Community Health Volunteers who since 2015 avail themselves for the trainings offered so that they can contribute in mobilizing the people with epilepsy in their community. Besides that, the Movers were even welcomed at the Correctional Facilities to train the inmates with epilepsy. Therefore in 2015 Turn your Moves was born – an initiative to create awareness at the correctional facilities. With the help of inmates the manual was written and approved by the Prisons Headquarters. Since then we have conducted awareness in all the maximum prisons in Kenya and some medium prisons.
With these great outcomes in the first eight years of Youth on the Move, Karijn decided to return to the Netherlands in 2016 and left a strong team that keeps on enabling youth to turn their desires in successful actions. We wish to share our gratitude to all people who have enabled us to train 144 youth as peer educators and to reach over more than 500,000 people in the awareness creation countrywide. We Move Ahead together!