This June, we spoke with the Senate representative from Kilifi. Between her Nursing responsibilities and social enterprise, Winnie is a humble visionary who has propagated the infinite value of education to enable teenage mothers return to school.
- When and why did you choose Nursing as a profession?
Ironically, Nursing came to me by chance. After completion of my secondary education in the midst of course selection, one of my friend’s dad suggested it jokingly, “Why not try this course?” “Well not bad”, That’s how I got myself there. It has been a Pandora box that I have been intensively discovering along the journey. But all I know, I have always wanted to be exceptional in whichever path, taking into advantage my adaptive nature to life.
- Nursing Specialty: What is your Nursing speciality? What led you into this path?
Nursing Education, currently lecturing at Kenya Medical Training College. I am a few months old here & I am enjoying the thrill. Being a people’s type of person, I gain energy through them.
Additionally, most of the avenues that I had previously interacted with directly and indirectly groomed me for the path, by nurturing independence, innovation and open-mindedness. The biggest contributor was my university education system. Moi University, where learning is conducted through Problem Based Learning system involving student self-directed learning.
This gave me a good platform to discover a lot of information on Nursing specialities and the required entry points while relating them to my traits and abilities. This seeded one of my passions, Washindi Africa.
- What do you do at Washindi Africa? What was your motivation to start Washindi Africa?
Washindi Africa is a non-profit social enterprise that was born from the gap presented by students’ performance and their health challenges. It was fruitless to engage students in academic mentorship and cast a blind eye to their health issues as that was part of the contributing factors to their performance. From this, we resolved to empower the community through school health programs and academic empowerment.
We work to empower the community on areas of health and education through health programs and education initiatives. In health programs, we nurture and equip the community with knowledge and experience on how to curb the health challenges through diverse approaches.
We are currently based in Kenya´s coastal region, covering two counties: Kilifi and Mombasa.
- Please highlight activities around student mentorship.
Our current mentorship is based in Kilifi County dubbed Kilifi County For Higher Education Program (KCHEP) where we target the High school graduates and school dropout youth. We guide them into enrolling for various courses in the learning institutions and colleges. This has helped us restore hope to various youths as the majority were misinformed. More information is available here.
We also run a Mentor Mama Program, where we guide teen mothers into adapting to life post pregnancy and ensure they stay in school. Our holistic approach is quite unique as our antenatal and counselling of mothers throughout the journey ensures wellness not only for both mother & baby.
- What would you tell any nurse who is considering specializing in the field you are in or is considering specializing?
I encourage them to identify their strengths and weakness first. Nursing education requires adaptability and open-mindedness. In the world of research, information gets updated all the time and new trends come along. It requires us to be hawk-eyed to smell the coffee as soon as it starts steaming.
On the brighter side, nursing education presents a world of opportunities as you get to be informed most of the time and encounter unique challenges that keep one abreast.
- As young nurses particularly female professionals, sometimes we deal with imposter syndrome and feel fear of breaking the traditional professional routes to get into creative fields such as the one you are in. What would you like to tell such nurses seeing as you are an exemplary nurse in your own rite?
We don’t owe traditional nursing protocols any apology for breaking free. The world is moving quite fast and for us to grow we need to think outside the box. There are so many opportunities in nursing that most might not recognize due to routines.