Judy Owiti: Meet Kenya’s youngest BOM chair

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“How could a young lady only married in this area be the best person for the position of BOM chair?”

This was Judy Owiti’s thought when she was approached to chair the Kasawo Primary School Board of Management (BOM).

At 33 she thought she was not ready for the job as all odds seemed against her.

TheY challenged me to try even though they were also not sure if I could manage the task

Judy Owiti

She did not understand the task of chairing the school management board.

Judy soul searched and after consultations with her husband and family, she accepted the challenge.

“They challenged me to try even though they were also not sure if I could manage the task,” said Judy during an interview with Lake Region Bulletin in Kisumu.

She had just quit her job after working for an NGO for eight years.

At the time, however, she had started her own organization which had been supporting various development projects in the village.

Background

A Community Health graduate from Great Lakes University of Kisumu, Judy had grown tired of employment and craved a bigger challenge.

She wanted to create an impact in the society.

Having engaged with community development projects with her employer, she decided to start her own venture.

Having undergone difficulties in handling his brother’s health condition, he decided to create awareness on patient as well grief management on his social media

Judy Owiti

Judy’s husband George Ojika had initiated an idea.

Ojika lost his brother to cancer in 2012.

“Having undergone difficulties in handling his brother’s health condition, he decided to create awareness on patient as well as grief management on his social media,” said the mother of three.

Judy took up the idea and registered a Community Based Organisation (CBO) to advocate for heath, skillful parenting, sexual reproductive health awareness, governance and Civil rights education and in school and out school mentorship program.

When the organization started running programs in the village students from Kasawo Primary School were the first to benefit as it was the nearest school to Judy’s home.

I have always used my own resources to pay the subordinate staff, the cook and the watchman

Judy Owiti

Kosawo Primary

The 15-year-old school is located in Wasare sub location.

The school stands on a rather swampy land since it borders river Nyando.

The large compound does not have a fence and the entire field around the school is being used as cattle grazing field.

Some parents threaten the children that they will not eat if they don’t do the job since that is their only source of income and the situation gets serious

Judy Owiti

The school also borders rice fields and during the harvesting season many students miss school to guard the rice farms from birds.

“During the rice harvesting season I have a lot of fights with parents who stop their children from going to school to guard the rice farms,” said Judy.

“Some parents threaten the children that they will not eat if they don’t do the job since that is their only source of income and the situation gets serious,” she furthers.

Nyakach MP Aduma Owuor issuing a cheque for the construction of 2 classrooms at Kasawo Primary School

Poverty levels in the area have always affected the population of the school.

Many students drop out of school to do odd jobs to sustain themselves.

With low funds the school is not always able to hire subordinate staff to support the eight TSC teachers who are still not enough to serve the entire student population.

“I have always used my own resources to pay the subordinate staff, the cook and the watchman,” said Judy.

The school is yet to receive electricity supply to the newly constructed classrooms whose construction was supported by the area MP Aduma Owuor last month.

The project cost Sh.2 million.

One of our major concerns is ensuring that we help in drafting ideas to help fill the gaps in the health sector

Judy Owiti

Adopt A life Africa

The organization creates awareness on sexual reproductive health as well as mentorship programmes in schools.

The organization which is headed by Judy has 15 members and a staff of five.

Judy receiving an award during the 2019 women foundation forum

Judy says the organization has been involved by the county government in drafting several policies in the health sector.

The church is always the right place to find a child, and it is through the church that we offer our mentorship programmes

Judy Owiti

“One of our major concerns is ensuring that we help in drafting ideas to help fill the gaps in the health sector,” she said.

The organization also participates in community engagement with the girl child especially in churches.

“The church is always the right place to find a child, and it is through the church that we offer our mentorship programmes,” said Judy.

The major challenge for Judy is resources to run these programmes.

Her main aim now is to acquire more resources to expand the organization

This dream she says will see the organization expand it services countrywide.

Austine Ogalo
Austine Ogalohttp://www.lakeregionbulletin.co.ke
Lake Region Bulletin is your one stop multi-media platform for news and stories from the Lake Region counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Homabay ,Migori, Siaya, Kissi,Nyamira, Vihiga, Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Kericho and Bomet email:ogalo@lakeregionbulletin.co.ke austineogalo02@gmail.com

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