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Take 5 with Kevin Oyugi

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By ABIGAIL ARUNGA
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Kevin Oyugi is the blogger behind Nate’s Crest (www.natescrest.com) and the OYGK Mag founder, which was nominated last year for the Bloggers Association of Kenya annual awards in the entertainment category. He is also a Wikipedia Kenya ambassador.

1. Describe yourself, professionally and personally

Professionally, I’m an introvert – proudly – turned – extrovert who is obsessed with self-improvement, uniqueness, and a search for the apex.

I’m a communications professional with over eight years of experience in researching, designing, prototyping, implementing and analysing communication strategies and partnerships in the public and private sectors within the Eastern African region.

I’m passionate about getting immersed in impactful work, changing lives, promoting positivity and progress. Personally, I’m a God-fearing, physically young but mentally old soul, enthusiastic about block-buster and indie films and series, historical books and sagas, exotic and luxury travel, thought-altering and enriching conversations, cuisine and just living a good life.

2. And these are some of the things that your blogging career has chronicled. Tell us a little bit about Nate’s Crest – why the name change, the shift, and what does this mean you are doing now?

It’s great that you mention this. Nate’s Crest was born out of a desire to better myself and my audience. I look at it as a turning point in my writing journey. I’d been blogging about the same thing, over and over, for six years, on my previous entertainment blog, and I wasn’t seeing any results.

I wanted a site that sought to create conversation, lead thoughtful discussions, and ultimately be a smashing hit. I came close to winning an entertainment blogging award, but losing out made me ask myself some critical questions. I’d purposed to attempt to create unique content, and looked at what would potentially be an untapped audience, and settled on the East African man’s world… Nate’s Crest. The site looks to address issues affecting, entertaining or stimulating the regional male in an almanac format not seen before.

3. What do you have to say as an entertainment blogger in the current sphere we live in today, seeing as you’ve been doing this for so long – more than five years? Do you think that we’ve gotten better at entertainment and lifestyle writing, or if not? What needs to change?

You’re right. I’ve been actively blogging since 2007 and I must say, it is not for the faint hearted, or the trend-followers. You need to be both quick on your feet, and be able to offer engaging and quality content, or you’ll quickly be drawn into a cesspool or click bait low quality, poorly researched content.

In the Kenyan context, I don’t feel that we’ve quite cracked the entertainment genre. If you see a number of the bigger media outlets, mainstream and established sites taking to gossip and largely social media references, you realise there’s both a problem, and an opportunity for bloggers to fill the gap.

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I think lifestyle bloggers are taking a better cue in terms of audience dynamics, as they are offering enriching content to readers on a host of topics and really owning the space.
We need to have visually, and content-wise, better quality entertainment and lifestyle writing if we’re to cement the region on a global scale.

We need to put on a local cap to tap into a myriad of issues and highlights which would entrance and enrich our audiences further.

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to read a post on the top ten grossing Kenyan films of the decade, or life hacks for a young Western Kenyan man who is looking for a wife?

4. And speaking of lifestyle and entertainment, there is a distinct growth in the socialite culture in Ken-ya. Do you think entertainment media has encouraged this, or contributed to it? What do you think about that particular lifestyle?

I figure that socialites have been around for decades, but the onset of social media (coincidentally synonymous), has given them the perfect platform to reach both their targets, and the masses.

Entertainment media is contributing to, and encouraging the trend, because we all know that good or bad news … is news, and ultimately creates an impression.

I’ve come to appreciate that just because I don’t subscribe to a certain school of thought or norm, doesn’t mean that it’s not right or wrong, so I wouldn’t want to be the one to finger point. A hustle is a hustle, especially in these difficult streets.

5. If you weren’t a blogger, would you be…well, an architect? What happened to the old architecture blog? While at it what exactly does a Wikipedia ambassador do?

Though I’d love to, I don’t blog full time at the moment. While I would probably look at getting back into architecture in my 50s, I figure I’d most likely be a fictional writer who lives by the ocean-side.

My architectural blog is still there, suspended on the inter-webs and in my subconscious, waiting to be refuelled one day when I feel I’m more stable in my passion for writing and build wonders, on www.natekev.wordpress.com.

As an ambassador, I promote Wikipedia in Kenya, contribute to articles online, help improve local content, and gather people together to possibly form an official chapter next year.



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

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Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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