Global Partners in East Africa
Richard Peterson, Environmental Studies, University of New England, formerly of Antioch College
Building Collaborative Research Relationships With Colleagues at East African Universities
to Global Partners Project colleagues on recent work in Kenya,
TYPE OF COLLABORATION/NEED
|All departments||Access to current literature in all fields. Suggest GPP faculty could download journal articles onto CDs and mail them since web-based access is still problematic and costly and e-mailing long attachments can be cumbersome. If properly packaged CDs should arrive safely in two to three weeks. Also would be good to follow up Denison Symposium suggested project of making JSTOR more accessible to East African colleagues (see Jim Warner)||
Dr. Monica Ayieko
|Libraries||Sending books and journals. Cant emphasize enough how highly valued this is. Books should not be too outdated but even 5-7 year old texts are useful. If sent book rate surface mail, will arrive in several months. Also works well to take boxes as regular or excess baggage.||
Mr. Philemon Odongo email@example.com
|ESPUDEC (School of Public Health and Community Development)||Joint research on issues of public health and development, HIV Aids, etc. Collaboration in curriculum and program design and staff training. Also interested in targeting nearby francophone countries (Rwanda, Burundi, DRC)||Professor Philip Aduma C/o firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Environmental Studies||The research weve proposed focuses on forest conservation and watershed protection but there is also a need for further research on Lake Victoria fisheries, water pollution, hyacinth control, and general limnology||
Dr. Raphael Kapiyo
Although among GPP affiliated schools, Antioch has taken the lead, there may be needs other schools within the GPP network could fulfill. For example, Maseno is surrounded by outstanding geologic formations that may be of interest to people in departments of geology and physical geography. One Maseno colleague asked if I knew of anyone that had experience in Medical Geology, a field I must admit I had not yet heard of. There is also a budding botany department in the process of developing a botanical garden, and the university owns two farms that help supply food for the cafeterias. Finally, Maseno has a strong hotel and hospitality management program that will soon be relocated to Kisumu housed at the newly acquired Hotel Royale, currently undergoing extensive renovations. The hotel will serve as a training center for students, equipping them to serve the economically vital tourism and conference-hosting sectors of Kenyas economy.
Conducting Collaborative Research On Community-Based Environmental Management As mentioned, much of my time was focused on this goal. Maseno lies within the Lake Victoria Basin (LVB), one of the prime target areas for improved environmental management. Although a plethora of both government and non-governmental projects are currently working to address the areas environmental challenges, the needs for both more and better information, and for community-based actions to enhance environmental sustainability remain overwhelming. My colleagues and I identified one component of this broad area of work that merits greater attention, namely assessing different models for forest conservation, as forests serve critical ecosystem functions that affect the overall health of the LVB. We also share a vital interest in the applications of indigenous ecological knowledge to environmental management and in conducting research using a community participatory approach that goes beyond knowledge generation to incorporate actions toward change. Building on these common orientations, we have produced a joint research proposal involving UNE, Maseno University, and the National Museums of Kenya that we have begun submitting for external review and will distribute to funding organizations this fall.
Connecting with NGOs Working On Environment/Development Issues In The Area I also spent quite a bit of time making contacts with various NGOs and CBOs involved in environment and development issues in Nyanza Province. In Kisumu, I was hosted by a friend who works for CDC and so met quite a number of people involved in health related research, including projects on HIV Aids and malaria. Meeting with International Center for Research on Agroforestry (ICRAF) personnel was especially helpful for gaining a sense of the different types of agroforestry research and project work taking place in Kakamega and around Lake Victoria. While in Nairobi, I also met with Dr. Jason Mwenda, Principal Research Scientist at the Institute for Primate Research (IPR). IPR could serve as an excellent liaison for anyone in GPP interested in doing research on primates, conservation, and health related issues.
Many of you know Humphrey Webuye, who has been so instrumental in furthering the GPP from the University of Nairobi end. The day after we arrived in Kenya, Humphrey had us over to his house for supper and it was especially nice to meet his family. Humphrey is still doing a lot of work on HIV-Aids, currently beginning a project to diffuse Aids awareness programs into the non-formal community-based school system that has blossomed in Kenya as more parents have found it hard to pay for their childrens primary schooling. Under the new government, primary school is once again free, but many parents still cannot afford other school fees such as uniforms, textbooks, and supplies. One of the specific needs Humphrey asked me to relay to the GPP network is a good information source on scholarship opportunities for University of Nairobi students to do post-graduate work at American universities. Humphrey mentioned that his office receives timely information on British scholarships but that he has had a hard time finding good information on U.S. scholarships that he can use to advise his UNB students. I plan to put him in contact with a colleague who is a librarian at the University of Wisconsin, but if others know of such sources of information, they should pass them along to Humprhey.
Back in Kisumu I was able to meet with Mr. Greg Umaya and Mr. Philip Makutsa, Program Managers for CARE-Kisumu. Our meeting was very informative and CARE is very interested in cooperating more with researchers in order to base their interventions on sound studies and scientific information. One of the most inspiring organizations I met with is CCFMC, a cooperative program of three Franciscan communities, two of which are locally based. Coordinated by Sister Irene Akumba, CCFMC is making a difference with a host of programs including working on issues of HIV Aids. Nyanza Province has one of the highest HIV infection rates in East Africa. CCFMCs HIV program includes projects on training people to give home-based care to HIV patients; a Youth Behavior Change Project geared toward kids in Forms 4-8 and toward school leavers age 15-35; an Orphans Welfare Project that helps family members care for orphans at home rather than have to send them to an orphanage; and a Vocational Training Project that trains orphans in a variety of skills including welding, mechanics, carpentry, hair-dressing, and tailoring so that they can have a means to support themselves and their younger brothers and sisters and so maintain the integrity of the household. Another very interesting program experiencing a lot of growth is CCFMCs micro-finance project known as CENT-SACCO, directed by Mr. George Misore. The program works on a community-based model organized around already established womens groups in four districts in Nyanza Province. I am seeking contacts with organizations here who might be interested in providing CENT-SACCO with some logistical support and equipment, such as a new computer and motorcycles for credit officers to be able to visit and lend support to each of the community banks organized around Kisumu. Tied in with the micro finance project, CCFMC has started a variety of micro enterprise projects so that money loaned can go towards viable income generation that can be sustained over the long term. Projects include bee-keeping to produce high quality honey; raising dairy goats and improved poultry; working with Aprotech, a Kenyan appropriate technology development firm, to purchase their small foot-powered irrigation pumps that can raise field productivity immensely; potable water rehabilitation projects; and propagation of the fast-growing Neem Tree (known in Swahili as "mwarobaini", which comes from its claimed forty different uses; arobaini means forty in Swahili).
CCFMC would be an ideal organization for students from GPP-affiliated schools and from Maseno to link with in terms of co-ops and internships. All the project officers I spoke with mentioned that having volunteers, even at the student level, would be very helpful. Perhaps within the GPP network of schools, we could also organize various fundraising activities to help supply CCFMC with various needs such as a computer, water pump, rural electrification, etc. I found the day I spent with them to be truly inspirational!
Giving Guest Lectures and Visiting Classes/ Exploring Fulbright Possibilities
I gave a public lecture as part of the regular Thursday afternoon seminar series at Masenos Institute of Research and Post-Graduate Studies (IRPS). My talk entitled "Looking to the Side: Lessons for Sustainability from Congos Forest Peoples" was attended by about 15 people. Most were graduate students but several faculty also attended, including Professor Bethuel Ogot, Director of IRPS and newly appointed Chancellor of Moi University. The talk, based on my research on the application of IEK and indigenous ethical systems for conservation and environmental sustainability in Congos forested regions, was well-received and sparked some intriguing discussion. I found the questions and comments very insightful and gained additional perspectives that will enrich my own work. The seminar gave me a good indication of the caliber of classroom discussion and intellectual exchange that I can anticipate if I am able to return to teach and do research at Maseno as a Fulbright scholar. I will be applying to Fulbright for a research fellowship to return to Maseno for the 2005-06 academic year.
In closing, I want to thank Jo Ellen Parker, Matthew Horstman, and all those at GPP and GLCA who helped in making this extremely rewarding trip come to fruition. I would be very willing to share more of my experiences with GPP colleagues at future gatherings or symposiums, or via e-mail. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.APPENDIX Some Professional Contacts in Kenya
|Prof. Frederick Onyango||Vice-Chancellor, Maseno Universityfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dr. Monica Ayieko||Director, Institute of Gender and Undergraduate Studies, Maseno Universityemail@example.com|
|Dr. Barack Owuor||Director, Office of International Relations/Interlink, Maseno Universityfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dr. Raphael Kapiyo||Chair, Department of Environmental Studies, Maseno Universityemail@example.com|
|Dr. Philip Aduma||Director, School of Public Health and Community Development (ESPUDEC), Maseno University|
|Mr. Humphrey Webuye||Academic Division, University of Nairobifirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Mr. Greg Umaya||CARE Kenya, Kisumu Officeemail@example.com|
|Dr. Jason Mwenda||Institute for Primate Research, Nairobifirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dr. Helida Oyieke||Centre for Biodiversity, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobiemail@example.com|
|Dr. Diane Russell||World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobifirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sr. Irene Akumba||Comprehensive Course in Franciscan Mission Charism (CCFMC), Kisumu||CCFMC@swiftkisumu.com|
|Mr. George Misore||CCFMC, Kisumuemail@example.com|