Being a medical student is always associated with busy-ness. It is an assumption that has almost been accepted as a truth that once in medical school, one may not get time to participate in other areas of life that are not medical related but equally important. One Chadwink Ochieng, a sixth year medical student at the Unievrsity of Nairobi, has defied this notion by being prolific in both his academics and extra-curricular activities that he has been participating in.
At only his sixth year of study, he has done several things both academically and non-academically that makes him stand out among his peers, the latest being elected the AMSUN (Association of Medical Students of University of Nairobi) treasurer. He has had an opportunity to do a bachelor of science in human anatomy (BSc. Human Anatomy), which is a reserve of very few top performers in human anatomy at the University of Nairobi. He is also a prolific minister of the gospel, a leadership trainer, a mentor, and financial and investment advisor.
Today, we got a hold of him and we have managed to pen down what he shared with regards to what he does and how he got to do what he does. Enjoy the read.
What’s your current position?
I am the AMSUN Treasurer 2019/2020.
How long have you been in this position?
Currently slightly over one month, it will be 2 months in a few days
Please share a brief overview of what you do as the treasurer
Basically am in charge of the finances that our organization uses. In essence budgeting, accounting and financial reporting. Aside from that, am in charge of the ‘leave no medic behind initiative’, a Program that aims to raise funds for needy students who can’t afford to pay their fees and/or upkeep. I also organize financial literacy trainings and capacity building workshops for students.
What would you say most motivates you to do what you do?
The desire for people to see authentic and real leadership. For so long we have had the wrong versions of leadership. It is time we demonstrated how credible leadership looks like.
What are you most excited or passionate about?
Service to humanity. I love to see needs met and sustainable solutions crafted to meet existing challenges. I am passionate about authentic leadership that is service oriented.
What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your work?
I intend to bring accountability and transparency in my docket. We want to open the records for scrutiny among the students. I also intend to champion the course of the needy and less privileged through the ‘leave no medic behind’ campaign. Finally, I want to build capacity among medical students on matters financial literacy. I have a good committee that is committed to help me achieve these goals.
I want to understand how and why you ended up here as a student leader in University of Nairobi. What led you to this position? What were you doing before you came here? What attracted you to join politics?
First, I never imagined I could be a student leader, politically speaking. When I came to campus, the version of student leadership fed to us was everything but sober. I thus developed a chronic aversion for political leadership and the politicians. I hated the campigns, because it was clear to me that politicians promised heaven but ended up delivering hell. But when my eyes were opened, I realized that I could be the change I had wanted to see.
Before joning politics, I served in many capacities especially in the religious circles. I had headed several organizations and I knew I had a leadership gift that I could employ in the political space. It was my burning desire for authenticity that pushed me into the murky waters of politics. I came in, not as a politician but as a leader who wanted to bring meaningful change.
Now if we can, I’d like to go way back for a little while. Where did you grow up? What was it like to grow up in Migori town? Which high school did you go to?
I was born and raised in a place called Awendo, a small town in Migori county. I had the unique privilege of knowing Jesus Christ as my Lord when I was 10 years old. I got saved and that changed alot in my upbringing. I realized early that I was abit different from my peers, based on my perspectives and much more at an early stage, I owe it all to knowing the Lord. I was raised in a Christian home with staunch Christian parents who raised us in the ways of God.
For my high school, I went to the Alliance High school, where my leadership skills grew the more. I first became a class official, then in my later years became the house captain of my house, where I was in Charge of leading about 120 boys. I finally landed in school of medicine , which had been my dream for years. The rest is history, they say.
Do you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.
I always say, my life is the way it is because of mentors. I have literally walked on the shoulders of giants. I started having mentors in high school and they have all played very crucial roles in shaping who I have become. Even upto now, I am still being mentored. Among the many mentors in my life, I would love to acknowledge Absalom Owayo, Pst.Eunice Kitche, Prof. Elizabeth Bukusi,Pst. Alfred Wasike, Mama Wangare(my teacher in Sunday School) and currently Dr. Norbert Rakiro.
Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today? Tell me about them.
Yes. When I met Dr. Rakiro, who actively mentors me upto now. I was challenged to think beyond my limited imagination. I never knew I could run for politics, but after interacting with him, my mind was open to new horizons that I could pursue. Apart from this, I have always desired to see good leadership. My heart bleeds every time I hear of abysmal dealings and mismanagement in leadership.
What are the lessons for someone like me, or for a junior colleague, who might be contemplating of joining student leadership/politics?
Believe in yourself. You should have a compelling vision and purpose as to why you want to join politics or leadership. Leadership is about service and sacrifice. One therefore must be able to count the cost. Otherwise there remains a huge need for authenticity in leadership.
If you could do this all over again, would you do anything differently? Why, and what would you do?
Honestly, I love what I am doing. I can’t think of anything I would do differently.
What have you learnt from the people you are working with in student leadership?
I have learnt that when you establish honor, trust and accountability early in leadership, people feel safe and happy to work with you. I honor every single person I work with and I treat them as equals. On the flipside, I have learnt to be patient with people I work with, since we all are not perfect. As leaders we must be careful to see the people we work with as they are not just what they do. We must be concerned about them and what concerns them. Only then can we build trust.
Do you view your contributions as successful? In what ways? What specifically was accomplished?
I just started, barely 2 months in office. May be at the end, I should have a better response
What were the skills you had to have to be in the position that you currently hold? Where and how did you learn those skills?
I think to hold any political position, one must have the skills of voter persuasion and mobilization. For my campigns, I employed strategic mobilization techniques, and used the digital space to my advantage. People naturally gravitate towards excellence, so I tried to white wash my campigns with a level of excellence.
Finally, I realized the importance of networks and connections which I explored maximally. For the learning, I learned from fellow colleagues, books that I had read and some on the job.
What’s next for you in leadership? What are you looking forward to?
This is a good question. I don’t know yet, but am looking forward to serving in bigger capacities on the professional space. For now am still honing my leadership acumen that will build capacity in me to handle even bigger assignments.