Airtel Staff Address Peer Pressure During Mentorship Program

Peer pressure and behavioral change among high school students has been known to have both harmful and effective outcomes depending on the degree of the said influence. It is on this premise that the Airtel staff, as part of their ongoing mentorship program, took time off to interact with the students at St. Michael’s secondary school which is located at the Mukuru Promotion Centre. The staff met with over 100 students in Form one and two to discuss the positive and negative effects of peer pressure as well address other pertinent issues affecting the students such as alcohol and substance abuse, mental health and career choices.

Launched in October 2014, the Airtel Mentorship Program continues to achieve its mandate of encouraging and supporting children on their education journey and to help them become better people in the society by offering personal experiences of success and guidance on how to handle various challenges as well as choose careers that they are passionate about.

Airtel’s Senior Corporate Communications and CSR Executive, Marion Wambua talking to the students

With increased responsibilities for students in high school including studying, taking part in extracurricular activities as well as helping at home, peer pressure can definitely add to this immense load. As a result students tend to feel overwhelmed and highly stressed as they feel that a lot is expected of them. Such stresses have led to young people suffering from depression and anxiety which has resulted in many taking their lives. Statistics from the 2012 World Health Organization report indicate that the average rate of suicide in Kenya stands at 10.8./100,000, with males contributing a higher number than females and the group of people experiencing a rising trend of suicide cases being the police and students. Students tend to commit suicide because of dismal performance in school, relationship troubles, substance abuse and stress.

During the mentorship session, the students got to learn on the negative and positive impact of peer pressure and how these can affect their behavior. The session also included an opportunity for the students to ask questions on how to excel in their studies, how to handle unfavorable environment at home and how to choose their future careers. The Airtel team was delighted to be able to impact the lives of the students by sharing their experiences, successes and life lessons. The team also encouraged the students to seek out their teachers, counsellors and/or mentors to talk about their feelings and struggles in order to lead healthy lives.

Speaking during the mentorship program, Mrs. Betty Jepkemoi the school deputy principal expressed her appreciation to the Airtel team for their continued support.

“We are very grateful that Airtel staff have continued to support our students over the years by offering mentorship sessions which go a long way in motivating and encouraging the students to do better. We are happy that you have interacted with our students today and have shared your experiences with them.” she said.

In a statement, Airtel’s CEO, Prasanta Das Sarma applauded the sustained efforts of the Airtel staff in offering mentorship to the students in a bid to empower them and help them become better people in the society.

“I am pleased that every year, our staff take time out to interact with these students, offering them insightful knowledge and life skills that will in turn cause the students to succeed not only in their academics but also as responsible citizens. We remain committed to impacting the communities that we engage with in order to empower, enable and unlock the potential of future generations thus allowing them to succeed in all spheres of their life.” PD said.

Mukuru Promotion Centre is incorporated as a Charitable Trust that started operations in 1985 as a collaborative effort between the Sisters of Mercy, and the Missionaries of Africa in Our lady Queen of Peace Parish, Nairobi South B. The Centre in conjunction with the Mukuru community aims to establish and operate a holistic and sustainable health, educational and social development program which addresses the basic needs of the most vulnerable in the community.  The Centre is located near the Mukuru slum which is home to over 600,000 people who live in abject poverty with a majority of the population being uneducated and jobless.

Currently the Mukuru Promotion Centre runs various projects including four primary schools for over 5,000 children, a secondary school, a rehabilitation centre for up to 60 street boys, a medical clinic with a HIV/AIDS testing centre attached, a community based health care program, a skills training centre for over 100 students, and a sponsorship programme to secondary schools for more than 200 children.