African Indigenous Vegetables Champion Calls It A Day

Prof. Mary Abukutsa handing over the office documents to Prof. Jackson Kwanza

Having served Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in the capacity of a Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) in charge of Research, Production and Extension (RPE) for five years, Prof. Mary Abukutsa called it a day. She handed over the office to Prof. Jackson Kioko Kwanza, who served as Principal  Karen Campus.

Speaking during the handing over ceremony at RPE boardroom that was attended by various divisional heads of departments and institutes under RPE, Prof. Abukutsa thanked the management and the University council for the opportunity to serve and for working very closely with her since 2017 when her tenure began. Further urged those working under RPE to give the incoming DVC the support he requires.

“I enjoyed working at RPE due to immense management support, co-operation and interactions from colleagues that really helped the division develop,” she said. “Remember that every leader has their own way of working, therefore adjust and change and stop comparing,” she advised.

Additionally, she stated that the five years as a Deputy Vice Chancellor, has exposed her to major achievements in her life in that she has received a total of 20 awards, recognitions and accolades. Among them, nominated one of the 2020 Kenyan Global achievers by #KeExcellence in 2021, appointed as a member of the Governing Council (GC) of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) in 2020, appointed Chairperson of the Advisory Board of African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence in Non-Communicable Diseases in 2020, nominated as a nutrition champion by Scaling up nutrition, Civil Society Alliance and Nutrition International in 2019, nominated as one of the 20 Faces of Kenyan Science 2018 in Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Kenyan chapter in 2018 and in 2017  she was nominated fellow of the African Academy of Sciences.

On his part, Prof. Kwanza thanked Prof. Abukutsa for her vast experience which has led to the satisfactory delivery in her job and he promised to take the Division as well as the University as a whole to the next level. He asked the RPE staff to support each other and most importantly work together as a team for better results eventually.

“I vow to work in conjunction with the management and the staff at large in a bid to achieve the university’s objectives as well as solve challenges affecting the division,” he promised.

Speaking on behalf of the staff working under RPE, the Director Sino Africa Joint Research Centre (SAJOREC), Prof. Robert Gituru congratulated the outgoing DVC for her splendid work and ensuring that the division is not where she found it and welcomed the new DVC assuring him of the staff ’s support whenever he needed it.

Prof. Abukutsa who is an award winning, experienced and internationally recognized, result oriented mentor, strategic thinker, educator, scholar, scientist, transformational leader and a prolific researcher, does not only hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture, a master of Science in Agronomy and a doctorate degree from University of London in the United Kingdom but has also undertaken 24 governance, leadership, administrative and professional trainings between 2001 and 2020 nationally and internationally.

She is endowed with excellent organizational, writing, research and communication skills and has high emotional intelligence and competence virtues that saw her rise to the position of a DVC RPE.

As a horticulturist, she has also led the development and successful implementation of twenty (20) multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research proposals on African indigenous vegetables funded by National, regional and international development partners and as a result developed 15 simplified dissemination leaflets and posters, 10 documentaries on African Indigenous Vegetables.

The division is made up of five Directorates among them, Directorate of Research, Directorate of Production and Innovation, Directorate of Extension and Technology transfer, Directorate of Linkages and partnership and University Community Collaboration and Outreach.

Prof. Mary Abukutsa takes a commemorative group photo with RPE staff members

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