By Brenda Wambui
How a highly motivated and passionate journalist is using his skills to benefit the society
In communications, people are constantly looking to improve their product or service through technology. This is all in a bid to reach the maximum number of people within their target audience. However, there are constant changes especially in this digital age. Whatever worked last year may not be relevant or very effective going into 2019.
With the rapid growth in technology, the communications field is a quickly growing job field. People who major in this field will develop excellent writing, critical thinking, and organizational skills that allow them to work in a variety of occupations.
People can choose a variety of majors and specializations. Some of the rare majors not covered in other sections of communications and journalism are agricultural communications and journalism as well as business communications.
As a young student in high school, Ronnie Evans Odhiambo realized that his heart and passion was in journalism. He was in his second year of studies at Moi Forces Academy when he took keen interest in journalism. After submitting one article for the school magazine (The Canon), he was able to join the school’s journalism club. He later became the chairman of the club and the rest as they say is history.
Odhiambo is a professional journalist. He graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in Journalism and media studies from the University of Nairobi. He later specialized in development communication. In his third year of studies, he was given an internship opportunity at Nation Media Group’s editorial department. He wrote sports articles and features for the Daily Nation newspaper. “It is there that I set the building blocks for what would be an amazing journey in journalism,” he says.
His career breakthrough was in 2016 when his work was recognized by the World Tong- Il-Moo-Do Federation and he received an award from President Takamitsu Hoshiko.
A year later, Odhiambo was able to take up one of his biggest assignments when he covered the IAAF World Cross Country Championship in Kampala, Uganda. “I have gone on to do several freelance jobs for international news organizations such as Via News Agency,” he adds
At M-Shule, he works with a group of young, vibrant and ambitious individuals who want to revolutionalise learning in Kenya. He expounds: “I form part of a unit at M-Shule that is critical in ensuring that our young learners get the very best product. Generally, my work is to spearhead all M-Shule communication and marketing initiatives.”
There are a few aspects in journalism such as human interaction when conducting interviews that have helped him perform better in the communications field. “On the flipside, communications as a field has also been pivotal in enabling me to deal with different aspects of media work in order to get news stories and meet the usually strict deadlines,” he expounds.
At M-Shule they put the learners at the core of what they do. He usually comes up with the overall year-long communications strategy that strings together their internal and external operations. He works with various departments within M-Shule to share insights and execute new ideas in order to improve their service delivery. Additionally, he does the basic communications work such as: writing reports, data analysis and generating materials to assist in understanding and supporting their stakeholders in a better manner.
Odhiambo says over years, he looks at his professional experience from a holistic perspective. Every single opportunity he has had has, be it in the media or in communications has been a build up to where he is today.
He specialized in development communications since he wanted to bring positive change in the society through his work. He has used the media as a platform to highlight the sports disciplines and personalities who are rarely covered. “I know of two basketball players who joined the national team as a result of featuring them in the Daily Nation,” he recalls.
In communications, he has only worked in education based organizations and his joy has been sharing learners’ stories and seeing them get scholarships or any relevant assistance in their journey. It is a trend that he is keen to replicate and improve on in his current role.
Attributes that drive him
Whenever he gets a chance to change or improve someone’s life through his work, Odhiambo grabs it with both hands. “The prospect of growth lights a fire in me. It all goes down to passion. Being interested in what I do and taking pride in my work I would say is my biggest drive as a person,” he notes.
The reward is in the risk. One should not let age or any other limitation that is within their control stop them from going after what they want. The world can be a cruel place on one end but also a fulfilling one to those who dare to act. Money should not be a priority when trying to establish oneself in a particular career.
“Young people should be ready to polish themselves before pricing themselves,” he states. Ronnie points out that sometimes when a graduate is given an opportunity to work in a firm whose pay is not commensurate with the assignment given, he or she is likely to be a bit sluggish and as a result learn very little. He emphasizes that a skilled person who exhibits competence rarely knocks doors while looking for employment. On the contrary, employers look for him or her.
“I refuse to accept that the so called millennials are doomed to fail in their endeavors as it is widely observed,” he concludes, adding that when given the right opportunity, all of us can contribute something that shall go a long way in making the world a better place to live in.