2021 clearly had its ups and downs and this was made worse by the ever-changing coronavirus situation in the world. Despite that however, there were significant strides that I was able to make throughout the year and here is a summary review of my year and a few key learnings and notes for next year
2021, THIS YEAR WE BREAKTHROUGH
In January I set all my goals for the year and set the years mantra which for me was that this year we breakthrough
I also got a continental wide recognition as one of The Top 100 Youth Leaders in Africa sharing audience with the likes of Aya Chebi and other amazing young leaders of Africa.
With my organization Stowelink we started a 800,000 project, the phase 2 of the NCDs 365 project where we intended to share weekly animated videos to educate the world on non-communicable diseases.
In February I launched the Mental Health Matters Anthology, my third published book and did a book tour for the book as well.
Had multiple media features with Alhuda TV talking on issues of non-communicable diseases and obesity
Won the Social Innovation Warehouse scholarship
Received double nominations for the Quality Health Care Kenyan Awards 2021
Started designing my first online course NCDs for public health
Featured on the YALI website
Appointed to the Global Youth Meet organizing committee
Nominated and participated as a judge in the Hult Prize regionals
Won the Quality Health Care Kenyan Awards student innovation project of the year 2021
Also won first runners up best use of social media in health for The Quality Health Care Kenyan Awards with Stowelink Inc
Co authored an award-winning research paper that was published under the World Health Organizations Hideyo Noguchi Prize for African Researchers.
Started recording the NCDs for Public Health Course
Featured in the One Young World Impact Report
Featured as the cover model and main story in the Kore Magazine.
Qualified for the Jasiri Talent Investor Programme
Participated in and hosted the launch of the Young Health Programme With Plan International In Kenya At K24 Tv Station
Participated as a panelist in the Commonwealth Scholarship Alumni meet
Nominated as one of the top 15 African health innovators under The Young Innovators For Health Award
Hosted a medical camp at the Jomo Kenyatta University
Finished shooting the NCDs For Public Health Course
Launched the NCDs For Public Health Course On Udemy
Launched a book that I coauthored called We Have A Dream in Tokyo Japan.
Featured on the University Of Manchester website
Presented in the 9th International Festival Of Public Health
Graduated from the ECPO IPAP obesity advocacy training
Graduated from university of Virginia’s Dalai Lama Fellowship
Won Youth of The Year In The Top 35 Under 35 Awards In Kenya
Gave a masterclass on mental health to the Commonwealth Scholars
Hit 500 students mark in the NCDs for Public Health Course
Travel to Rwanda for a 2-month residential intensive training with the Jasiri Talent Investor
Featured as Opportunity Desk Person Of The Month
Finished and graduated from the Jasiri Talent Investor
Co-founded Lifesten health in Rwanda
Participated as a facilitator in the Scope School global for obesity and cardiovascular health
Launched the Afroprenuer Podcast
Presented at the International Council Of Nurses Conference 2021
Spoke at the global Obesity Week Conference
Finished the NCDs 365 project phase 2 with 54 videos and partners in 10 countries
Spoke at the World Heart Summit
Won pre-seed funding for Lifesten Health
Won project funding for Stowelink Inc
Hit almost 700 students with the NCDs For Public Health Course
Hit over 100 active users for the NCDs 365 app
Finished reading my 9th book for the year
Notes from 2021 and plans for 2022
From the year 2021 the most important notes I have been able to gather are the following
Write your goals on a book and constantly keep track of them
Vision boards are extremely important, remember where you put your focus, energy flows
Faith is such an important component of success; you just have to go the first step and hope that the next step will show up
Long term strategy is so vital in a bid to develop sustainable impact.
Don’t confuse preparation time and harvest time, 2021 was definitely a preparation time for me in many ways as I started things that will in the future yield results
Plans for 2022
Whilst ill not state my plans for 2022, here is what I believe is vital advice for 2022. The mantra for 2022 is THIS YEAR WE PREPAIRE. In many ways I see 2022 as a major preparation year, preparing for new opportunities, investing, and setting solid foundations.
Successful time management will be key in 2022 as it will be handling multiple organizations and initiatives at the same time and preparing them for the rise.
Broadening my scope of knowledge in business management, visualization and meditation will be key for me in 2022.
Investing more in human capital and social connections will also be a key focus for me in 2022
Finally, 2022 will be a year that will be full of pivoting, taking in new perspectives but most importantly creating forward momentum in all aspects of my life.
One of my biggest goals in 2020 was to be able to fly my grandparents on the airplane and give them the VIP experience of Nairobi city. I really hoped that I would be in a position to do this in 2020 but unfortunately, I couldn’t. So, I carried over this goal into 2021 and I trusted that this time round the universe would act in my advantage and we could be able to do this. Well, the day came finally in 2021 when I made the plans, and the finances also came together to enable me to make this goal came to pass and make my grandparents wish came true.
The one lesson that I really wanted to share with this post is the power of writing goals down. Had I not written this goal down on paper I wouldn’t be able to track it and stay consistent with wanting to achieve it and even when I finally had the finances to do so, I probably wouldn’t focus them on achieving this goal had I not written it down. I have found that writing goas down on paper and on a vision board really helps us be accountable for achieving them and ensures that our possibilities of achieving the goals are maximized. And in this case, for me it was making my grandparents wish a reality. Here is how it went down in pictures.
It was an honor for Ogweno Stephen who opened the conversation at the world heart summit 2021 which was held in Mombasa County. Ogweno who was part of the opening plenary emphasized a lot on the role of youth and actionable recommendations in fighting the obesity and cardiovascular health burden that continues to be on the rise in many African countries. Joined by some of the leading experts like Dr Gitahi of Amref and the CEO of the World Health Summit, this opening plenary highlighted the critical epidemiological and policy-based events that have led to and contributed to the rise of cardiovascular health and obesity in Africa.
here were my 3 key messages and takeaways
Leverage on the power of young people and innovation in the fight on obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
2.Research and best practices are critical evidence to help us as health advocates champion for policy change and adjustment in the obesity and cardiovascular health space
We cannot do it alone, we need partnerships. Local, national, multinational, youth-led, patient -led, NGO and from all other manner of organizations. We need to leverage of various levels of partnerships to be able to reverse obesity
Overall key messages for the first plenary was this.
We need action and we need it now on policy, partnerships and behavior change programs. We all have a role and it starts with eating healthy and engaging in physical activity
ABOUT THE WORLD HEART SUMMIT
At its events, the World Heart Federation enables focused conversations leading to innovations and decisions, which will change the lives of patients, health providers, and every single one of us.Running since 2016, the annual World Heart Summit (previously the Global Summit for Circulatory Health) convenes leaders and innovators who drive action for cardiovascular health. The Summit is an invitation-only event where government, civil society, industry, and academia share, learn and decide what is next for the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease at a global level.
Previous editions have explored key issues such as access to essential medicines, innovations in technology, and the role of the workforce in cardiovascular health.
May measurement month campaigns are one of my favorite times of the year as we get to do medical screening and join the global community in advocating for healthier hearts and healthy living. These year’s may measurement month campaign took place latter in the year because of the obvious COVID 19 situations globally but this did not deter us or the global community from engaging actively in heart health screening and advocacy activities. Looking back at our screening with Stowelink Inc, it was a unique one for as well as this time around we were doing the screening alongside our top volunteers who were also actively engaged in the screening activities.
We also positioned ourself at a very ghetto region in the Githurai Slums of Nairobi with the aim of reaching the very last mile communities inside the city slum areas and the results speak for themselves as we were able to hit just about 1000 plus individuals during this screening activity.
So, what is Lifesten Health? And why is this the next chapter of my exciting journey as an entrepreneur?
The story of Lifesten health starts almost like a match made in heaven. Here is the background of how I meet incredible co-founders and developed Lifesten Health. Earlier in the year I applied to an entrepreneurship programme called the Jasiri talent investor programme. This programme interested me for two particular reasons, one was that the programme offered us an opportunity to meet top entrepreneurs in Africa who shared common interest that we could form teams with and secondly was that the programme allowed us to learn from the top facilitators in the world. the most unique aspect of this programme was a concept of the market creating innovation which was first talked about by Clayton M. Christensenand we had the privilege to be taught about this concept by his potage Mr Efosa.
So, what is market creating innovations? At the heart of this concept, is the idea of creating a business or an innovation that makes goods that were primarily accessible to the minority accessible to the majority whilst still creating both impact and profit. These types of innovation often require visionaries to take them on because they are often long term and may require the development of other industries besides them to facilitate them to succeed. A good example is with the Airtel network and Netflix
As part of the Jasiri programme, one of the requirements was to form new companies together with the pool of top entrepreneurs that were in the space. And myself I happened to meet with Ms Peace Iraguha , a nutritionist and an apt entrepreneur who was and still is very passionate about solving the challenge of non-communicable diseases. So, if you follow me closely you know why I started by saying that this was as match made in heaven. Having met peace and since we shared similar interests in the space, we immediately came together due to our shared passion and skill set to tackle this challenge. We then to be joined by Mr. Victor Ambuyo, an incredible software engineer and a marketer who at the time was leading one of Kenya’s leading digital marketing firms. So immediately you see how this match was definitely made in heaven. Anyways, we three came together as co-founders and formed Lifesten health.
Lifesten health Is a company based in Rwanda whose main aim is to improve and reward healthy lifestyles with the goal of reducing illiteracy on non-communicable diseases, improve access to early diagnostic services and enhance healthier lifestyles. As Lifesten health we have committed to tackling this challenge by developing an integrated digital health platform making health accessible to the millions at their fingertips. As to how exactly we are going to implement this we have had some incredible ideas and we have had to iterate on them more times than one as is the process of innovation and very soon, you will be hearing from us and when you do you will be impressed. Because at Lifesten health, our goal is to enhance healthier lifestyles.
May measurement month campaigns have always been one of my favorite parts of the year because during this time, I get to be part of the international volunteers who volunteer to screen individuals for hypertension whilst offering medical advice and referrals. This year with the support from the kenya cardiac society, my team at Stowelink Inc have once again taken up the challenge to screen and create awareness, education and referrals for cardiovascular health. We continue to engage in these screening activities encouraging active lifestyles and healthy diets as part of the preventive measures to reduce hypertension but also broadly to improve health status and prevent the other NCDs.
May Measurement Month (MMM) is a global awareness campaign initiated by the International Society of Hypertension (ISH), which represents the world’s leading scientists, clinicians, health care providers and allied health care workers, all with a common interest in hypertension (high blood pressure) research. Launched in May 2017, MMM put the spotlight on increasing access to blood pressure screening as potentially the most effective way to reduce hypertension’s adverse toll on health.
In this years Obesity Week, Ogweno Stephen was in a panel which was jointly produced by The Obesity Society (TOS) Obesity Canada (0C), European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), and World Obesity Federation (WOF). In this session Ogweno Stephen was part of the team that provided a global overview of how COVID-19 has impacted the lives of people living with obesity. EASO shared the results of its comprehensive European Study, with 3000 participants across 10 countries, and WOF presented highlights of its survey to show how the organizations’ members have perceived and dealt with the pandemic. The main part of the session was a lively roundtable discussion among 4 different obesity patients including Ogweno Stephen living in different parts of the world where we shared the challenges, difficulties, fears and learnings from our personal experience during the pandemic.
One of the key takeaways from the session was that obesity is a disease that is complex and that required active management. Often in obesity care and management individuals relapse o treatment and that was mentioned as being totally ok. The session really emphasized also that people living with obesity are first human and should be treated as such citing the stigmatization that surrounds obesity.
In response to COVID-19 public health issues and travel restrictions, the ICN Congress was held online in a virtual congress that brought together our National Nurses Associations and their members. The theme for this year was ‘Nursing Around the World’, which embodied the vision of ICN passing the nursing baton across the different regions in a series of live and interactive events that gave members the opportunity to showcase their expertise and innovations throughout the world.
Ogweno Stephen presented at the ICN conference 2020 in a joint session with c3 for health. The session that was sponsored by Colget Palmotive was titled oral systemic health. Ogweno’s presentation was on the role of nurses in promoting oral health. As a lived experience, an expert, and an advocate for better oral health Ogweno put together an incredible presentation that really provided practical ways in which nurses role was in delivering and promoting oral health.
By supporting oral hygiene and proper nutrition, minimizing discomfort, and diagnosing dental problems early, nursing teams and health professionals play a critical role in promoting oral health.
“Welcome to the AfroPrenuer podcast a podcast for African entrepreneurs, where you get to listen to inspiring stories, success and lessons from African entrepreneurs” These are the opening words for the Afropreuer podcast and they speak to the mission and vision of what the podcast is all about. The podcast will be hosted by myself, Ogweno Stephen and I will be bringing to light stories of success and failures from African entrepreneurs. This is in a bid to learn from both sides, get encourages and to stir up interesting conversations and learnings.
The Afroprenuer Podcast season 1 will feature entrepreneurs from kenya and Rwanda, very young successful entrepreneurs who will be sharing on their success and learnings. In this first season you will hear from different fields spanning from investment banking, marketing, arts, and agricultural space. Here is the preview and the link to the first podcast.
The episodes will be streaming in once a month for the year 2021. I strongly believe that African entrepreneurs need to be heard and that we are coming of age and that through this podcast we can amplify our voices, as African entrepreneurs.
Follow the podcast on this link and listen to our first episode below.
SCOPE Schools are intensive one-day courses hosted several times a year in different cities, aimed at health care professionals with an interest in obesity management. SCOPE Schools are taught by leading international experts and involve lectures, discussions and debates, as well as opportunities to socialize and exchange knowledge with experts and fellow students. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, SCOPE Schools are currently hosted online. Don’t miss this opportunity to access our live events from anywhere in the world.
This is the second Scope School in 2021 that Ogweno Stephen has participated in as Scope School Faculty speaker discussing on the various intersections and complexities of obesity. This particular Scope School was exploring the intersection between cardiovascular health and obesity. In this scope school Ogweno was among a global panel of experts including Dr Verónica Vázquez Velázquez, Obesity and Eating Disorders Clinic of the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition Salvador Zubirán , Dr Sadiya Sana Khan, Northwestern University and Prof Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, Mayo Clinic talking about what is the relationship between cardiovascular health and obesity.
Here are a few pointers that you need to know on this relationship:
It can change your cholesterol levels. Most of us know that obesity can cause a spike in bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but did you know it can also lower good high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol? HDL cholesterol is important for removing bad cholesterol and working to reduce the risk for heart disease.
It can cause your blood pressure to rise. Obese individuals require more blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to their bodies which causes an increase in blood pressure. Your body will also require more pressure to move this blood around. High blood pressure is also a common cause of heart attack, which are sadly more common for obese individuals.
It can lead to diabetes. High cholesterol, blood pressure and heart attacks aren’t the only medical conditions you need to worry about if you’re obese. Obese individuals also have a much greater chance of developing diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, at least 68 percent of people aged 65 or older with diabetes also have heart disease. While individuals with diabetes are said to be two to four times more likely to be at risk for heart disease, the American Heart Association also lists diabetes as being one of the top seven major controllable factors to prevent heart disease. If you have diabetes but have yet to be diagnosed with heart disease, now is the time to act.
However, some key messages for getting healthier could be summarized in this statement; Lose weight, get healthy and reduce risk