Dr Eliphas Gitonga2020

Dr. Eliphas Gitonga of the department of Population, reproductive health and community resource management housed in the school of Public Health and applied human sciences has won a competitive Urban Family Planning research and policy fellowship funded by International Union of Scientific Study of populations (IUSSP) and is being supervised by IUSSP Panel on Family Planning, Fertility and Urban Development. The funded project at USD 41,000 is “Family planning among blended Somali Women aged 15 -39 years in Nairobi: Barriers and Inequalities in Nairobi City, Kenya”. By 2050, it is estimated that 2 billion of the world’s population will be living in urban areas. With an annual growth rate of 4%, Nairobi city (the study location), the Kenyan capital, is one of the fastest growing cities in sub-Saharan Africa and is projected to increase in size to five million residents by 2025. Such rapid urban growth has negative influence on health of vulnerable populations such slum dwellers, adolescents, orphans and refugees. Family planning is critical is achieving SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) by improving human rights of women via enabling them to choose the number of children, timing, spacing and contraception. Currently most researches have no linkage with policy thereby deeming them only academic and reducing sustainability of any interventions. This project will bridge this gap through production of policy relevant/appropriate evidence, stakeholder engagement, policy communications and effective dissemination of key findings to target global and local audience.  Key relationships that will be established in this study is urbanization and family planning, barriers/inequalities of family planning services among vulnerable city populations and the family planning policy situation of urban vulnerable communities.

Dr Eliphas Gitonga2020phd

Dr. ELIPHAS GITONGA MAKUNYI , PhD

Dr. Ezekiel Njeru Mugendi of the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Biotechnology is among the first cohort of awardees under the Future Leaders –African Independent Research (FLAIR) fellowship that seeks to support early career researchers to build their career and become leaders in their respective fields. The fellowship award of GBP 300,000 will support Dr. Njerui’s project titled “Using root-associated microorganisms to enhance sustainable crop production and resilience of smallholder agroecosystems to climate change.”

The projectaims to identify and promote the use of beneficial root-associated microorganisms as an alternate low-cost fertilizer to enhance crop production, yield quality and stress tolerance among small scale farmers in semi-arid areas. Although many root-associated microorganisms are of high ecological importance, little is known about their biodiversity and utilization in smallholder farms. Dr. Njeru will map the biodiversity patterns of the native root-associated microorganisms in Embu, Kitui and Tharaka Nithi Counties of Kenya and effective native isolates that promote sustainable food production and are resilient to climate change drivers will be promoted for adoption and uptake among the small scale farmers. Read more

https://www.aasciences.ac.ke/news/african-academy-sciences-and-royal-society-announce-african-recipients-ps25m-flair-scheme

 Dr. Githae2019 Dr. Eunice Githae from the department of Psychology has won a research grant from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to the tune of USD 20,000 for the project titled Gender outcomes in using Brief Motivational Interventions (BMIs) on Shaping Beliefs and Attitudes towards Doping for Athletes in Secondary Schools. Dr. Githae seeks to  explore gender disparity in psychological factors that influence choices in use, or lack of use, of performance enhancing drugs among athletes in Kenya; strengthen skills that build resiliency in anti-doping decision making among youth; capacity build game teachers and the school community members in the integration of anti-doping education during games training programmes; and develop an evidence-based and contextually sensitive model for school-based anti-doping education intervention.  Dr. Githae approach will entail utilizing athlete-centered’ techniques in prevention of doping this will facilitate evidence-based research which will further inform policy and future interventions 

partnerships2

Kenya’s Vision 2030 emphasizes quality education and training in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in order to make Kenya a middle- income country by 2030 and to improve competitiveness regionally and globally. A key constraint to attainment of the STI goals has been the significant low numbers of qualified teaching staff in the fields of engineering and applied sciences. This has adversely affected the capacity in institutions of higher learning to fill existing vacancies in these fields. The Government of Kenya therefore secured a loan from African Development Bank (AFDB) to Support Enhancement of Quality and Relevance in Higher Education Science and Technology. HEST is a five year project aimed at contributing to Kenya’s human capital skills development capacity building particularly in education, science and technology, to respond to labor market demands and spur productivity nationally. The HEST project objective is to improve equitable access, quality and relevance of skills training and research eading to job creation and self-employment.

Kenyatta University through the School of Pure and Applied Sciences was competitively selected to be a consultant in the HEST project, to strengthen and improve its capacity to train and mentor a large number of postgraduate students in applied sciences. Kenyatta University was selected to train 31 PhDs and 23 Msc’s in Chemistry and Physics.
This training component will support capacity building of existing staff in engineering and applied sciences at Masters and PhD levels. Training approach will be conducted through a blended training mode that utilizes the local teaching faculty, industry experts and faculty from collaborating institutions from within Africa and abroad that are already supporting the faculties as part time lectures and supervisors. PhD students will carry out research that is relevant to the vision 2030 key sectors. The existing partnership with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance will be explored to enhance meaningful industrial attachments, research and development of incubation centers. The HEST project will not only provide the requisite numbers but also enhance quality of the graduates in these fields. To promote women participation in science and engineering, a deliberate effort was made to ensure that a third of the total number of trainees are women.

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