By Oduge Glen Agak
The scene is set in 2019, it was late in the night, and I had just finished one of the increasingly many assignments that came with being a final year, Computer Science student at the University of Nairobi. This new stage in life however, came with the pressure to figure out the direction I wanted to take in life. Most of my classmates were already employed and were working on big projects outside school, and there I was, clueless. All I knew was that I wanted to make a difference, but how to, was my biggest headache.
When I came across application calls for the Problem Based Learning (PBL) Innovation Fellowship hosted at C4DLab, I got a renewed sense of hope. I however put it off at the first instance, as I didn’t feel “qualified” enough, and to be honest I’d come to regret this. I decided to submit my application at the last minute. I was ready to paint a picture of who the PBL facilitators wanted me to be, the typical “right candidate” they were looking for and not who I actually was, but a voice at the back of my mind told me not to. You see, things work in mysterious ways.
A week later I got the confirmation email from C4Dlab that I had been successfully Shortlisted. Oh my! The joy that came with this was unmeasurable, and so was the sheer confusion as to how I was picked in the first place. I am very passionate about solving real world problems that the society faces and the Problem Based Learning Innovation program definitely came at the perfect time, as I could actually start actualizing my dreams.
My experience at the program has been like no other and can simply be described in one word as “unforgettable”! Other than meeting and interacting with individuals from multiple disciplinary fields, I got the chance to participate in the design and development of sustainable solutions that would solve real world problems. This has been valuable in my growth. Furthermore, it has allowed me to come out a more refined individual as I tackle real world problems head-on, confident and faithful that I will succeed.
The programme impacted me so much. I gained new found confidence that I could do anything. Even with the corona virus outbreak, I managed to secure a job at a startup, a place where my suggestions and ideas are impactful, respected and implemented. It honestly couldn’t have been better, and I believe I would not be ready for all this had it not been for the PBL Innovation Fellowship programme. It has truly been life changing and I keep thanking God for everything that has happened.
(Oduge Glen Agak is a fellow at the University of Nairobi Innovation Fellowship 2019/2020 cohort.)