It is an unfortunate fact that despite massive advancement in civilization, both women and youth still have very little access and control of resources, and are often excluded from decision making processes. And yet, we cannot optimize our growth potential when half of the society is not actively involved.
What better place to start the crucial process of reversing this retrogressive trend than institutions of higher learning? Universities are uniquely positioned, owing to the fact that a lot of research, innovation and technological efforts are geared towards transforming communities. To this end, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology hosted Youth and Women Self-Help groups, for an engagement forum geared towards enhancing greater University-community partnership for a holistic and economically viable society.
The forum, held, February 13, 2020, brought together a total of 70 participants drawn from Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Meru, Isiolo, Vihiga, Laikipia, Nakuru, Murang’a, and Nyandarua counties.
The day long forum was facilitated by the Department of Engineering Workshops, led by the Manager, Dr. Peter Kihato, in partnership with other departments in the University, and Inooro FM as a strategic Media partner.
Complementing what the University is already doing to empower communities, the forum aimed at strengthening this partnership, especially in regards to Food Security, Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer.
While engaging the leadership of the groups earlier before the start of the forum, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, informed them that the University has been in the forefront in promoting women and youth empowerment in many ways including trainings and empowerment fora.
In her opening remarks at the forum, Prof. Ngumi commended the groups for taking an initiative towards optimizing the capacity of their enterprises for enhanced livelihood improvement among women and youth. “I assure you that you have a worthy and reliable partner in JKUAT. As a University, we are ready to walk with you in all your endeavors particularly socio-economic empowerment,” she further opined.
The interactive engagement entailed presentations from various scholars and lecturers, a Q and A session, and a tour around the University to relevant departments the groups wished to partner with.
Eng. B.K Kariuki, the Director, Directorate of Intellectual Property Management and University-Industry Liaison (DIPUIL) made a presentation on the importance of patenting various innovations, and how the University could support the groups in this regard. Dr. John Kinyuru, from the Department of Food Science and Technology, made a presentation on Food Production and Value Addition, with a specific focus on Cricket farming.
The University will be working towards facilitating technology transfer to the communities, the sharing of resources, and training of women and youths to impart them with relevant vocational skills.