Karatina University Hosts German Alumni Summer School, Kenya 2018

 

Introduction and Background
Karatina University was privileged to host the German Alumni Summer School Kenya 2018 under the theme ‘Higher Education, Science and Cooperation between German Alumni for Sustainable Development and Biodiversity Conservation’ organized within the frame work of the DAAD Alumni Programme for developing countries from Saturday 6th October 2018 to Sunday, 14th October 2018. It was a joint interdisciplinary programme led by Project Coordinator Prof. Martin Kappas from the Faculty of Geography, Department of Cartography, GIS and Remote Sensing, University of Gottingen, Germany. The Project Assistant Coordinator was Dr. Jolanta Slowik , Department of Conservation Biology, University of Gottingen, Germany. The local cooperation partner was Prof. P. Aloo-Obudho, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (ARSA) and Professor of Fisheries Ecology in the School of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, Karatina University.

Highlights of the Summer School
Key note speeches during the Summer School were given by Prof. Geofrey Wahungu, Director General NEMA, Kenya. Prof. Wahungu shared with participants the process of the plastic ban in Kenya and indicated that the country has now achieved 85% ban. He appreciated the invitation to the Summer School because the theme is closely linked to the mandate of NEMA on environmental conservation. The second keynote speaker was Prof. Martin Kappas from Germany who echoed the importance of the Alumni Summer School which brought together people from various nationalities to discuss issues surrounding biodiversity conservation and climate change. In a speech read on his behalf, Dr. Helmut Blumbach, DAAD Regional Director confirmed the commitment of DAAD to alumni network activities. The Director General of Kenya Wildlife Services represented by Mr. Julius Kimani explained to the participants the relationship between wildlife and nature conservation including the inter-connectedness between the two.
Representing the Vice Chancellor, Karatina University, Prof. P. Aloo-Obudho, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (ARSA) affirmed that the University is on a trajectory path to be a research hub in the East African region with focus on quality higher education. Indeed, the choice of the University to host the Summer School 2018 is an attestation that the University has internationalized higher education research. The Green University Concept that the University recently embraced was discussed at length with resolution to take the concept to the next level. She emphasized that the Summer School could not have been held in a better institution than the green Karatina University. The Summer School was officially opened by Dr. Cyrille-Lazare Siewe, Kenya Country Director, UNEP. In his opening remarks, Dr.Siewe reiterated the importance of mitigating climate change to save humanity. He congratulated Karatina University for maintaining a clean green environment which is a great step towards being a green university in line with the initiative of Kenya Green University Network.
The Summer School was financed and supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of the German Government through the framework of DAAD Alumni Programme for developing countries. The objectives of the Alumni Summer School were: promotion of sustainable development through higher education, biodiversity conservation and climate change, cooperation among DAAD Alumni in universities and research institutions, strengthening local and international linkages.
The Summer School 2018 provided a platform to researchers, academicians and practitioners drawn from different countries including Germany, Indonesia, South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Senegal and Burundi. They shared their knowledge and experiences from diverse disciplines ranging from natural resources conservation , humanities and social sciences with an interdisciplinary approach.
The Summer School interrogated core areas of focus from a multidisciplinary approach including Sustainable Development, Climate Change, Global Partnership in Research and Education, Biodiversity Conservation and Poverty Eradication. The expected outcomes of the activity include research collaboration and international programmes.
The excursion tours included participants visiting UNEP Headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi to familiarize themselves with the agency’s activities on global environmental matters and policy. The team also toured local tourist attraction sites including Kahuru Falls, Kariba Mau Mau Caves and Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia. The team also delighted in visiting Karatina University Botanical Garden, the tea plantations and they also had an opportunity in mentoring groups of First and Fourth year students.

Induction Workshop for 2018/2019 Student Governing Council

 

The 2018/2019 Academic Year Students Governing Council (SGC) held their induction training on 12th - 13th January, 2019 at the Kenya Education Management Institute, Nairobi. The objective of the training was to create awareness among the SGC members in regard to leadership in a university context and thus enhance their leadership skills. The training was organized and conducted by members of the University Management and staff from the Office of Dean of Students.

Among the topics of covered were: Actualizing Leadership potential, Qualities and Functions of Student leaders, Budget and procurement processes, Financial Management, Communication and Protocols, Support systems for student leaders in the University, Maintaining psychological health while undertaking leadership assignments, Sports Implications for Student Leaders, Developmental Needs of Emerging Adults, Leadership Implications and Emotional Intelligence. The topics were carefully selected and delivered to prepare the new cream of student governing council for responsible leadership in the University. We look forward to a harmonious and cordial working relationship with the 2018/2019 SGC.

Launch And Establishment Of Environmental Clubs In Mukurweini Sub-County, Nyeri County

Pupils keenly following the Deputy Vice Chancellor (ARSA), Prof. P. Aloo-Obudho demonstrating the process of sowing seeds in the seedbed.

Karatina University engaged in an Outreach activity to launch and establish Environmental Clubs in Primary Schools in Mukurweini Sub-County on Friday, 28th September, 2018. This is part of the extended programme and campaigns on environmental education and awareness to young children to safeguard the environment for posterity. It is a programme supported by the Rufford Foundation (UK) which has since seen the establishment of over 25 clubs in Nyeri County in places such as Kieni East, Kieni West, Othaya, Tetu and Mathira East.

Mukurweini Sub-County is one of the sub-counties of Nyeri County, bordering Mathira, Tetu, Othaya and Muranga. The Project Team led by the Coordinator, Prof. P. Aloo-Obudho (DVC-Academic, Research and Student Affairs) mapped 14 schools from the five zones of the sub-county: 1. North Zone- Mweru Primary; Githi Primary; Githunguri Primary and Ndiaini Primary.2. Gikondi Zone-Mutonga Primary; Karaba Primary; Muthuthiini Primary; Kaharo Primary and Nyakahuho Primary. 3. South Zone-Tambaya Primary; Kaheti Primary; Mutwe wa Thi Primary; Karaguririo Primary and Rutune Primary School. Out of the 14 invited schools, 11 came for the event. The pupils and their teachers were picked in the morning and dropped in the evening by the University bus. Each school had a representation of 20 pupils, therefore in total there were over 300 pupils who were engaged in the project. This was out of the courtesy of the Sub-County Director of Education in Mukurweini who highly supported in identifying the schools.

Process of Establishment of the clubs
The event started off by demonstrating to the pupils the process of establishing a seedbed using locally available materials. Thereafter, the team had an interactive educative forum whereby the pupils were taken through the importance of environmental conservation. Pupils were taken through a small oral quiz to test their knowledge on the importance of trees to human life. The few who attempted the quiz were very conversant with the benefits of trees. They were also made aware of caring for their environment in schools and at homes. The issues of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were explained to the pupils and teachers in simple terms to capture their interconnection with the quality life on earth.
During the launch of the Environmental Clubs, it was emphasised that the University will be key in monitoring the activities undertaken by thy schools. The gathering was informed that the club patrons will be trained by Karatina University on management of the clubs at a later date in the year. Technical and material supports for the club will also be provided by the Project Team.

Conclusion 
Each of the 11 schools present will be expected to establish a tree nursery and woodlot. To date, there are 36 Environmental Clubs have been established in primary schools in Nyeri County. The University is committed to extending this programmes to all primary schools in the County as part of our outreach activities and commitment to environmental conservation. 
Selected Pictorials for the activity

Learning by doing it. A pupil fills the seedbed with sanding materials as others keenly follow during the launch.

The tree planting session to establish a school woodlot at Muhito Primary School

 ‘United, we can conserve our environment for our own future!’

A cross section of a group photo: The pride of every pupil to plant a tree in their school.

‘Yes, we will…’ Deputy Vice Chancellor (ARSA) Prof. P.Aloo-Obudho in a girl mentorship session for Standard 8 Candidates of Muhito Primary School, Mukurweini Sub-County . She encouraged them to work smart to join Karatina University in the future.

Mr. Akuom Alumnus Donates Books to Karatina University

 Professor P. Aloo- Obudho, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, (A, R &SA) receiving books presented to Karatina University by Dennish Akuom, a 2013 Graduate, looking on is the Dean SESS – Prof. John Mwaruvie

Dennish Akuom a 2013 graduate in the School of Education and Social Sciences donated books to the University. The books were received by the DVC (AR&SA) Prof. P. Aloo-Obudho and witnessed by Prof. John Mwaruvie, Dean School of Education and Social Sciences.

The mathematics books were donated by Professor Carolyn Maher from Rutgers University where Mr. Dennish Akuom completed his Masters in Mathematics Education. Mr. Akuom got a competitive Scholarship offered by East Africa Development Bank and Africa American Institute (EADB – AAI). The two organizations aim at promoting STEM Education in Africa. Mr. Akuom will be joining MountClair University for Ph.D in Mathematics Education in Fall, 2019.

Professor Obudho, on behalf of Karatina University thanked Professor Maher and Mr. Akuom for donating books for those pursuing Mathematics.

Sensitization Forum on National Cohesion and Values


Karatina University held a one-day a sensitization forum on National Cohesion, Values and Principles of Governance relevant to the University on 15th November, 2018 at Maini Campus. The facilitators were Mr. Ambrose Biketi and Mr. Makau Kyalo from the Directorate of National Cohesion and Values in the Executive Office of the President. Topics covered included understanding National Cohesion and Integration, National Values and Principles of Governance and National Cohesion and Values indicator as well as Reporting for the Performance Contract.

Karatina University Contacts

P.O. BOX 1957—10101, Karatina, Kenya.

Tel: (+254) 20 2176 713/ Mob: (+254) 729 721 200

eMail: info@karu.ac.ke or admissions@karu.ac.ke

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