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Exciting Conversations with Stowelink

Last year we were awarded a grant through the Astra Zeneca Young Health Programme and it funded, what turned out to be, the last piece of field work we were able to do in 2020! We facilitated an amazing workshop and case study linked to our nutrition and health work in Changara Primary School, Tete Province, Mozambique. A programme called PCAAN. This work has led to an invitation by the Mozambique Government to scale PCAANS through the country and we are now working hard to find the best ways to make this incredible opportunity happen!

During these days of lockdown, Astra Zeneca has created a YHP forum and series of webinars. In the first seminar, I met many fabulous young people doing amazing work all over the word who had also led AZ YHP projects. Ogweno Stephen of Stowelink Inc. was one of these and we decided to get in touch after the webinar to explore ways in which we might help each other.

It turns out the Stowelink and Children for Health have a lot on common and we are already planning projects we can do together – looking at non-communicable diseases (NDCs) and at well-being and resilience.

What is Stowelink?

Established in 2016, Stowelink is a registered youth-led organization based in Nairobi, Kenya. Its ethos and vision is to inspire healthier communities by providing information on non-communicable diseases to ALL, at ALL times, and in RELEVANT formats through integration of innovative community projects, technology and using disruptive communication approaches:

  • project ALPHA on cancer awareness and education;
  • MyHeart Ke on cardiovascular health awareness and education; and
  • The Drug Free Youth Project.
  • Since 2016 Stowelink has been able to conduct seven projects including:
  • project ALPHA on cancer awareness and education;
  • MyHeart Ke on cardiovascular health awareness and education; and
  • The Drug Free Youth Project.

Through these projects Stowelink aims to educate communities on the major NCDs and their risk factors.

To date, Stowelink reached over 2.4 million people both on and offline. It has received local and global recognition for their innovation and in 2020 expand its impact and partners through the NCDs 365 project to 8 African countries.

At the core of Stowelink’s approach is innovation. At Stowelink, we have been able to develop a mHealth solution for NCDs education through the NCDs 365 app, gamify learning on NCDs (especially to kids through the development of the NCDs board game and through the development of the NCDs training module) and we have developed a tool that simplifies NCDs education while also harnessing the power of visual learning. At Stowelink our driving mantra is and always will be, “transforming and empowering lives.”

What is Stowelink’s prospects for the future?

The future for us is bright, full of hope and full of change. At Stowelink we have a series of initiatives that we are yet to implement that we believe will have a global effect. We strongly believe in developing projects, products and initiatives that fit the local context but also the global context. We see clearly that the challenges of NCDs is not only a local problem therefore, if we can develop initiatives that can be replicated locally and globally then we believe this is the way we contribute also to global development and creating impact at a large scale. At Stowelink we keep moving forward, we keep impacting lives and we keep pushing towards greatness.

Why Children for Health is a new ally

When we discovered Children For Health and the work that they do, we were excited as a team and I was excited as well. Working with Children For Health, who are a renowned knowledge partner for various health projects across the world, would be a big addition to us at Stowelink. Children For Health are an ideal partner for the direction we are taking with Stowelink when it comes to innovation and improving communication and advocacy for NCDs, especially among children and the youth. With their expertise on storytelling for health, animation for health and the experience that they have gathered over time, this partnership would be critical in driving our next steps of action in the advocacy and literacy work for NCDs.

About the founder and CEO of Stowelink – OGWENO STEPHEN

Stephen is a Population Health expert who is currently pursuing an MPH in Global Health at the University of Manchester. As a global advocate for NCDs, Ogweno Stephen has been recognized time and again as a leading voice in innovation and in the development of successful programmes and projects that are centered on NCDs literacy. Through his work with Stowelink he has received both local and global recognition. Highlights include presentations at:

  • Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom in 2018,
  • The Royal College of physicians in 2020
  • …and winning the World Health Organization Hideyo Noguchi Research Scholarship 2020
  • …and receiving a honorable mention and recognition by the United Nations Youth Envoy on his work for the NCD community during COVID-19.

Besides his experience in health, Stephen is a serial entrepreneur who has founded and co-founded other ventures including the Kreative Hub and Info4food.

As a seasoned speaker, his experience in business, leadership and innovation has become the centerpiece of his trainings for young people and he prides himself in being able to mentor young people to develop successful startups.

Ogweno Stephen is the author of four books:

  • The Drug Free Youth
  • The Mental Health Matters Anthology
  • The Effect Of Ehealth On Information Awareness On NCDs; and
  • Practical Skills For Entrepreneurial Success (set to be publicly launched in 2021).

At 24-years-old, Ogweno Stephen continues to inspire action pivoting on Maya Angelou’s words: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”