We had our first Twitter chat on Friday 17th April 2020 when we hosted The University of Nairobi Students Association (UNSA) President Ann Mvurya. We focused on #Covid19OnCampus where we discussed issues to do with how the Covid19 pandemic has affected students’ life and how students can cope with the same. If you missed the Twitter Chat, here is a transcript of our chat with her.
How has it been being the president of the largest public university students’ body in Kenya during this crisis? #Covid19OnCampus
AM: This pandemic has changed how we live and how I serve the comrades I represent. It has caused trouble and anxiety among most students especially those from humble backgrounds. We pray everything normalizes.
If you were told that during your tenure, there would be an indefinite disruption in the academic calendar, would you still have vied for UNSA Presidency? #Covid19OnCampus
My political ambitions were based on a long term projection of maintaining the standards of comrades representation. Even without vying I’m always happy to represent them in the best way I can.
I would think twice but still vie. My ambitions are bigger than any virus or pandemic. God is our patron #Covid19OnCampus
AM: Its commendable. So far the research center COBAS-6800 prototype if instituted will be able to test at least 3000 Covid-19 samples per day. We are rising up to the task.
AM: Fortunate enough, we are yet to receive any reported case of astudent having contracted covid19. All public institutions adhered to the government’s directive of immediate closure of schools. This aimed at curbing [the] spread of the virus to the students.
What do you think has been the biggest effect of COVID-19 pandemic on female students in Kenya? #Covid19OnCampus
AM: Generally all students are affected and sliced by the same knife. However, it takes collective efforts to stop/prevent the spread of the virus. There is light at the end of the tunnel and we shall soon return to normalcy.
What role do you think student leaders should play during this period? #Covid19OnCampus
AM: We are the flag bearers of hope. Be it [in] mobilization on research, donations, action call, information, support and policy making. We are and should be the drive. We shall overcome.
Many Universities including UoN are thinking of rolling out online classes, do you think this will be fair to all students? If not, what suggestions do you have? #Covid19OnCampus
AM: This is the best alternative available as by the mantra ‘suspend schools but do not suspend learning.’ It is a challenge as we gear towards it realization because of network coverage, roll out and gadgets acquisition, but I believe those are holes that can be sealed.
The measures taken when enrolling the online program has not been promising to students. We appreciate the efforts of Kenyan Universities to ensure learning continue outside the class. This will only be successful if the process is simple, cheap and inclusive #Covid19OnCampus
With the current prevailing economic circumstances, the students are worried about food and shelter. The drive to meet these two basic needs is paramount to their survival. The students are therefore unable to live stream the lessons due to the costs involved. #Covid19OnCampus
We’ve seen @Uonbi @MtKenyaUniversi @KenyattaUni @DeKUTkenya joining the fight against covid-19, what’s your take on the potential of Kenyan universities? #Covid19OnCampus
AM: We are capable and there should be more funding towards the research and innovation centers. We have the know how,it’s just the Infrastructure. #covid19oncampus
Our public sector research institutes should form coalition that will facilitate a coordinated approach in dealing with the virus.Through this we can easily look into finding solutions with the similar data collection pooled and shared on real time.
Being hubs of reaserch, technology and innovation Kenyan Universities have a great potential to solve the #Covid_19 crisis.
How can Kenyan universities readjust their systems to ensure continuity? #Covid19OnCampus
AM: By keeping track of the challenges we are facing now and fully instituting proper response policies and directives.
There are equally cases of increased alcohol and drug use as a coping mechanism. What would you advice comrades to keep busy during these #Covid_19 times? #Covid19OnCampus
AM: Positively reflecting on what they have missed out socially, psychologically and spiritually. That’s another piece of the pie.
Experts fear that mental health issues are likely to increase due to #Covid_19. How can comrades stay ‘sane’ even as we fight the pandemic? #Covid19OnCampus
AM: Through Awareness, information gathering and maintaining virtual contact as part of their social life. We are apart but not alone
@BonfaceOwidi asked “Can someone just explain what are the main things that a comrade can do to avoid unnecessary drama during this period?”
AM: Openly contribute towards the goodwill of others in dealing with the existing anxiety created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Join us this coming Friday as we host another student on the #Covid19OnCampus.