Building Bridges: Role of the Office of the Ombudsman

Bishop Silas Yego

In every academic community, conflicts and disagreements are inevitable. Whether they arise between students, faculty members, or staff, these challenges can create tension and hinder productivity if left unresolved.

Recognizing the importance of fostering a harmonious environment conducive to learning and collaboration, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) established the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Office of the Ombudsman serves as a neutral and confidential resource for members of the JKUAT community seeking assistance in resolving conflicts and addressing grievances. Led by experienced professionals committed to principles of impartiality and fairness, the Ombudsman’s office, provides a safe space for open dialogue and constructive problem-solving.

Bishop Silas Yego, the University Ombudsman, emphasizes the significance of confidentiality and impartiality in conflict resolution.

“Our primary goal is to create an environment where individuals feel comfortable expressing their concerns without fear of judgment,” says Bishop Yego

One of the key principles guiding the Office of the Ombudsman is confidentiality. Individuals who seek assistance can rest assured that their privacy will be respected throughout the resolution process. This confidentiality encourages open communication and enables parties to express themselves freely without fear of reprisal.

Bishop Yego further underscores the importance of impartiality in the resolution process. “As an Ombudsman, my role is not to take sides but rather, to facilitate fair resolution that meets the needs of all parties involved,” he explains. “By maintaining neutrality, we can build trust and work towards sustainable solutions.”

The Office of the Ombudsman offers a variety of informal resolution mechanisms, including mediation, facilitation, and conflict coaching. These approaches empower individuals to address conflicts collaboratively, explore creative solutions, and restore relationships that may have been strained by misunderstanding or disagreement.

“I am currently in my last term as the University Ombudsman. One of our achievements for the last three years is that we have been able to resolve all our conflicts without having to go to court,” reveals Bishop Yego.

Moreover, the Ombudsman provides guidance and support to individuals navigating complex academic, interpersonal, or administrative challenges. Whether it’s a student facing academic probation, a faculty member experiencing conflicts within a research team, or a staff member encountering difficulties with a supervisor, the Ombudsman is there to offer practical assistance.

The impact of the Office of the Ombudsman extends beyond individual conflicts. By promoting a culture of accountability, the Ombudsman contributes to a positive and inclusive campus climate where all members of the JKUAT community feel valued and supported.

Reflecting on the broader mission of the Ombudsman’s office, Bishop Yego expresses his commitment to promoting harmony and understanding within the JKUAT community.

“Our goal is not just to resolve conflicts but to foster a culture of respect and collaboration. By working together, we can create a campus environment where everyone can thrive.”

Bishop Yego believes, his job is a calling, revealing his passion to serve people. Away from the university, Bishop Yego, who hails from Kitale, has revealed that he has a foundation to help less fortunate children.

The office of the Ombudsman is located in Technology House Fourth floor at JKUAT Main Campus.

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