MBA Student Gives Kids the Gift of Music in Fight Against Coronavirus

Nigerian Student Produces Song to Help Children Make Clean Hands a Habit

Nigerian Student Produces Song to Help Children Make Clean Hands a Habit

After Wittenborg started giving classes online to help minimise the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, like other institutions of higher education in the Netherlands, MBA student Oluwaseun Ogunremi was sitting alone in his Apeldoorn room when he started thinking about what he could contribute to support people in this global crisis. As someone who has wide experience in making music for commercials, he decided to write and produce a kids' song that would make it fun and easy to remember to frequently wash hands – one of the main messages from governments around the world to help prevent corona.

Oluwaseun, when did you join Wittenborg and why did you decide to study here?

I started my studies in October 2019 and I am doing an MBA in Health and Social Care. When you Google “English speaking university in Holland” the first-ranked result in the search is Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences. I was also looking for a university that would blend an MBA with public health, and this university checked that box also. So studying here was intentional and the front desk response was quick and encouraging.

What motivated you to produce "Make Clean Hands a Habit"?

I was thinking what I could do to contribute towards end COVID-19 in my own, small way. I know one of the best tools to communicate and convey such a message is through entertainment and a catchy tune or song. A song makes a message live longer, retained or even revived when heard again. It took me about three days to do some research, write in summary the lyrics, produce, record and mix, and on the 4th day I did a mashup animation to further drive home the message. The equipment: I used my PC, I have a midi controller and a condenser mic, and a small audio monitor. Technology has made it significantly easier to create content if you are clear on your objectives.

You make commercials for ads. Can you explain what that entails?

Back in my childhood, I was a pianist at the age of 8 and started playing in church at 10 (which I still do). At my university, I started making computer music with my PC. It was initially a hobby, as I am a computer junkie and a musician at the same time. Then my entrepreneurship intuition kicked in and I started commercialising my music production. From there I started writing copy/commercial ads for SMEs and began to get briefs for radio ad productions and campaigns. Of course, I sought more knowledge as to further distribute content and that led me into digital marketing. How it works? Most of the time I look at a problem in society, write some copy to address the issue or to educate or persuade. Then I produce and either share or distribute it in my area of influence, or pitch it to NGOs. Sometimes I also collaborate with an organisation to use and distribute. I have previously done a few personal projects  on “Understanding  menstrual cycle girls and mothers”  “Pink ribbon campaign : Breast Cancer Awareness”, “I must Vote” for youths during elections in Nigeria, and most recently, “Make Clean Hands a Habit “ to combat COVID-19. 

How did the coronavirus affect you personally so far and how are you coping? What were the significant lifestyle changes you had to make?

It’s a very sobering moment for the world. No one saw it coming and the global response to this is not as rapid as expected. I have some training and experience in communicable diseases.  I am washing my hands more and avoiding human contact. As simple as that sounds, it’s difficult and has to be deliberate in the times we are in. No handshakes, no hugs, no pats on the back. This virus has really divided us and it's about to change our way of life.   

What has it been like studying online so far? What are the challenges? What do you miss about class-based studying. Are there any benefits to studying online?

One of the things I miss about my class is the feel of diversity I enjoyed when we met in the classroom. The learning process is not just about the lecturers, but we also learn from other cultures within and beyond the context of the course or study. I personally am not a fan of online studying, because the scenario, conversation and activities in class all make reflecting on what is learnt easy to remember. It’s easier to get distracted studying online. However, the benefit for now is it keeps you safe from coronavirus.  

What do you generally miss about pre-corona life?

I came to the Netherlands to learn and experience the culture and enjoy the tempo of Dutch life, I miss the daily interactions, I miss the friendly warmth of other international students and now I even miss the coffee machine at Spoorstraat…  no more cappuccino special till … lol.

Why did you decide to study in the Netherlands?

Netherlands is an important global distribution centre and hub for many international companies, with a small resident population but highly commercial in nature. Studying for an MBA in such a climate should be a challenging one, as real-life case studies, such as practical experiences and opportunities, abound.

What is your impression of Apeldoorn and the Netherlands in general?

Apeldoorn is a peaceful city with warm and ready-to-help Dutch people. The Netherlands is a good place to learn and get inspired, especially as an entrepreneur. The system and structures in place are very inspiring.

What is your background in Nigeria - studywise and careerwise?

I did my bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Statistics, worked a bit in the IT sector, but I went further into the project management space in media, content production, events and advertising, which later paved the way to my becoming a media entrepreneur. Media and communication further opened me up to the public health sector as I saw the importance of how proper health communication, education and administration can improve quality of life. I most recently worked as a legislative consultant to the Nigerian senate committee on Health in the 8th assembly.

What happens to the song in the next chapter?

In that regard I need help. I have been able to subtitle the animated copy in Dutch, however, distribution to Dutch audiences is a challenge. I have been sharing via social media. My sincere hope is that this material gets into the right hands/people/organisations, even NGOs who can amplify it and maybe do a customised cartoon animation (which is expensive). It should be interpreted and sung in other world languages (with the same lyrical content and tune). Making clean hands a habit can really save lives.

Listen to the song here.

WUP 11/4/2020
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press