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The news of the success of students from Kenya’s Strathmore University School of Law becoming the first African team to win the John H. Jackson Moot Court on World Trade Organization (WTO) Law continues to elicit a lot of excitement on the local scene.  Of course our team of students from Strathmore in Madaraka are a bright lot of brainy humans.

While Harvard is world reknown for it’s brain muscles and hosting of the best minds, Strathmore on the other hand is locally known for it’s muscle in being practical while providing one of the best environments for students to learn.  I was listening to the news as I made my way to the office after meeting one of the potential employers of our mentorship programme that seeks to give hands on experience to university students to prepare them for the real work world.

The news was a spark of enlightment to me thinking of the many students countrywide who are working on innovations at university level and others who are attending mathematics or science congresses in different secondary schools.  Then there is another lot of students, who though bright come from needy backgrounds and often suffer greatly from inferiority complex which in turn damages their public engagement and with it possible lost opportunity.

But that notwithstanding my interaction with some of the students at the Madaraka Campus during my numerous engagements there is perhaps one of the many reasons that led us at the Optiven Group to come up with our Mentorship programme that targets at least 50 students from all universities. During the SME Presidential Roundtable held at the University’s Madaraka Campus, I had occasion to speak to one of the lecturers and had the audacity to ask him, what is the secret?

I was referring to the manner in which the students carry themselves with confidence and are knowledgeable on a wide array of matters from health, law, nutrition, legislature and others. I believe it is this kind of knowledge, the support of the teachers and the belief of the students in themselves coupled with hard work that enabled them to win this fete which is inaugural in every way.

First that the event at the prestigious Harvard Law School has not been beaten in this space for 17 years of the John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition.  It is also the very first time in which an African team represented by the trio from Strathmore University made it to the finals.  The three represented by Mishael Wambua, Kandalla Maleehah, and Catherine Penda, made history after beating Harvard Law School in the final of the competition held in Geneva, Switzerland on Saturday8th June 2019.

The competition attracted students from 90 law schools globally and required the participants to prepare and analyze a fictive case and present their arguments both for the Complainant and the Respondent in front of a panel which comprises of WTO and trade law experts.  Regional rounds were first conducted in Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Americas with 20 best teams proceeding to participate in the Final Oral Round, held in Geneva.  This year, students from 90 Law Schools across the continent took part.

And to think of the other universities and how they can replicate wins of this nature, the Optiven Group this year kicked off a one of its kind mentorship programme with the first cohorts already completing their stay at the different division.  The programme which has been lauded for being a model for mentorship, has seen a number of the first cohort mentees already in gainful employment.

The idea behind the mentorship programme is to eradicate the much needed requirement for graduates to have experience before being employed.  The mentees joining Optiven Group serve for three months during which they are required to learn as much as possible about their area of interest while adapting to the culture of the corporate world as they prepare to be engaged in different companies.

The success of the programme though launched only this year, has seen an influx of corporate, private and public establishments working to replicate the same, and Optiven is happy to share.   It is by providing such opportunities that we are able to reduce the chances of depression among our graduates as well as empower them to be better citizens who contribute to the welfare of the country.

 It is through such mentorship that the youth are able to leave a tangible mark wherever they go and thus make society a better place.   We take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Wambua, Ms. Maleeha and Ms Penda for the great win and wish them the very best in their future endeavors.

Thoughts by:

George Wachiuri: A Leading Entrepreneur, a Published Author, Philanthropist, Youth Empowerment Enthusiast, a Family man and CEO of Optiven Group
Contact Optiven Group: 0790 300 300 

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