Sophia Mugendi

Sophia Mugendi - 2017 Nominee
Position: Psychologist
Organization: Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya
Current Location: Kenya, Africa
Bachelor of Arts (Psychology-major, Sociology-minor) from Kenyatta University, Kenya
Additional Degrees and Certifications:
certificate in leadership by Kenyatta university, leadership and Mentorship Programme
certificate in peer counselling by pathfinder international and Kenyatta university
certificate in public speaking by Centre for entrepreneurship, leadership and business management, Africa
Awards Received:
  • Award:
    Most influential peer counsellor
    Awarding Organization:
    Kenyatta University Family Welfare and Counselling Project
    Date Awarded:
    April 14, 2017
Sophia has been heading a youth friendly peer program in KU campus that deals with SRH services(4 yrs) Took part in an E2A research that was aimed at understanding needs, attitudes and preferences of SRH. A trained peer counselor with SRH-SD skills – Dr. George Karanja, Gynaecologist/Director KU health unit services at Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya.
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I have been involved in filling condom dispensers ( around 100 of them) all around the university. Additionally, I do engage students in the hostels for door-to-door counseling on use of contraception. This is done twice a week and i reach around 180 students per week. Moreover, I coordinate outreaches to our satellite campuses where we offer SRH and HTC services. We are able to reach about 300 students. i also engage in one-on-one counselling with students who have problems concerning SRH and refer some of them to our youth friendly clinic where they access specialized SRH services. All these have led to reduction in pregnancy rates in the university, reduction of stigma for the students who have taken up FP as well as a decrease in myths and misconceptions about family planning.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

when i was in the second year of study i got an unwanted pregnancy .I had to leave school and take care of my baby.On coming back to school the peer counselors welcomed me .They advised me to take up a long term contraceptive .This led to a burning desire of identifying and assisting already pregnant students ,vulnerable students like the first year who are naive and with a lot of freedom and forth years who get trapped by boyfriends through pregnancy.i help them explore the FP options and use.

Give one or two examples of how you display leadership in your family planning work.:

I initiated a first year orientation program where we specifically reach out to them and advise them on campus life and contraception availability. we talk to them about engaging in safe sex since we cannot ignore the fact that campus students are sexually active. This initiative has been welcomed by the university and it happens every year. The student peer counselors are allocated a number of first years to mentor and help in case of any problem.

If you are named a winner of 120 under 40, how will you use this new platform and the $1000 grant to advance your work? :

I would use a section of the amount to reach out to our satellite campuses where there are high pregnancy and abortion rates. we have not be able to reach them because of limited resources and the fact that the students are fewer as compared to main campus. The other section of the grant will fund a peer education programme that I initiated in high schools. It will help me introduce the basics of FP information and healthy sexual relationships thus curbing pregnancy rates and school drop outs .

Video Introduction
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