Chelagat Keino: The Grade E Student Who Went On To Earn A PhD
Dr. Olympia Chelagat Keino is the daughter of two-time Olympic gold medalist, the legendary Kipchoge Keino.
She was born in October 1968 to Kipchoge Keino and Phyllis Keino. Dr. Olympia Chelagat was born in Kapsabet, Nandi county.
She was born in a large family of ten children. She has four sisters and five brothers all of whom have explored varied life paths with only her brothers Bob and Martin taking after their father.
Interestingly, Chelagat was born in October 1968 on the same day her father won his first gold medal in the 1500 meters race. The race was held in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. This would inspire her name “Olympia” as the family celebrated double golden blessings.
Chelagat narrated in a past workshop how she failed in her KCSE examinations in high school. She scored a grade E which meant that she would not be able to proceed for her A-Levels and afterward to University.
With the help of well-wishers interested in girl-child empowerment and availing education to all, Chelegat Keino-Okal would then go back to school and have a second shot at the examination. She took her second chance and gave it her all propelling her to great academic achievements.
Chelagat Keino attained her O-level certificate securing a place in Form 5 and would later complete her studies and join the university. She went further chasing for greater levels and ultimately attained her doctoral degree.
Chelagat Keino is a lecturer at Maseno University, one of Kenya’s top institutions of higher learning.
Working in the School of Public Health, she operates from the Department of Nutrition. Additionally, she directs the Maseno University HIV program that is charged with spearheading awareness and education on HIV/AIDs in the University community.
On her own accord, she has followed in her parents’ footsteps in giving back to the community and contributing to its development. Her parents run charitable organizations and humanitarian efforts in Eldoret such as the Lewa Children’s Home for orphans and have set up schools promoting access to education namely KipKeino Primary School and KipKeino Secondary School in 1999 and 2009 respectively.
Chelagat on her end has founded and runs initiatives that empower the girl-child and promote access to education for all school-going children.
An African proverb she can be found quoting regularly is, “If you educate a man, you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.”
Chelagat also said that she was paying for the kindness that was accorded to her, giving her a second chance at education which would change the course of her life forever.
Chelagat is married in Kenya’s Nyanza region to one Okal. Not much is known about her husband who maintains a low profile.