Erasmus+ Program Partners Celebrate Collaboration Milestone

Director of Higher Education Mr. Darius Mogaka makes his official remarks at the symposium.

The Erasmus+ Integrated Credit Mobility Programme, a collaborative initiative between Nottingham Trent University (NTU), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Mount Kenya University (MKU) and the Centre for Eco-System Restoration (Kenya) held a symposium to celebrate successful completion of the collaboration at Brackenhurst Limuru in Kenya, Tuesday, July 18, 2023.

Addressing the project partners during the symposium, the Director of Higher Education in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Darius Mogaka Ogutu, acknowledged the initiatives championed and implemented by partner universities through the Centre for Eco-System Restoration-Kenya.

The Director lauded the noble initiative for its important role in “enabling students from various universities to come together to leave their dreams, thus making it a worthwhile experience.”

He further expressed his desire to see more local universities to come together “to learn and see how they we can work together on research that can impact communities.”

Prof. Peter Njenga (right) listens as one of the students Sandra Kerio shares her research results during the poster presentation session.

Mr. Mogaka stated that the Ministry encourages efforts made by higher learning institutions to collaborate with Kenyan universities as long as such engagements support researchers, students and communities.

Alluding to research project outputs by students and faculty, the Director hinted at the utilitarian value of the findings, posing, “How do we apply the knowledge interventions so that the common person can understand the impact and benefit of the research findings?

While thanking the Erasmus program partners, he urged them to “explore more ways to expand the collaboration to become even bigger.”

As a way of ensuring there is uptake of research findings, the Director said, “I hope we shall break down these research findings into policy briefs to inform future government programs and interventions.”

Anzeil Mohamed, a JKUAT student presents her research

The day-long symposium also featured students and faculty from JKUAT, MKU and NTU and the Centre for Eco-System Restoration make presentations to share their poster and research findings with participants.

Prof. Peter Njenga of JKUAT revealed the achievements that have been realized under the programme particularly in ecological restoration with funding from Erasmus, stating, “Four students from JKUAT have conducted their projects at Brackenhurst and graduated.”

With the successful completion of the Erasmus credit mobility program, Prof. Njenga was optimistic, the partners will discuss the way forward and reminded academics and researchers of the many challenges that call for “ecological restoration research, citing destruction of ecosystems such as the wetlands/peatlands.”

Team NTU: From left, Senior Lecturer, Dr. Marcello Di Bonito, Coordinator of the Eastern Africa Centre, Jonathan Conway,  and PhD student, Consollata Gathoni, engage during the break.

Felipe Melo, an ecologist and biologist, had a virtual opportunity through his: Ecological restoration of socio-ecological landscapes, presentation to introduce and outline his research interests to symposium participants as he prepares to work with other partners at the Centre for Eco-System Restoration in Kenya.

The Erasmus Plus Integrated Credit Mobility (ICM) Programme has operated in two phases and enables over 250 transnational mobilities between the UK and, Uganda and Kenya.

The first phase (2018 -2021) started with a bilateral mobility programme between NTU Social Sciences, Public Health and Makerere University School of Public Health, which established an exemplar programme of research development, capacity building and knowledge exchange between staff and undergraduate, masters and PhD students.

Participants follow the symposium proceedings at Brackenhurst.

According to NTU, “The second phase (2021-2023) expanded its disciplinary and country focus to include exchange between both Uganda and Kenya in Public Health, Nursing, Microbiology, Animal Rural and Environmental Sciences.”

The programmes expose students to new cultural perspectives and research activities, leading to bi-directional learning between the universities.

Participating students are involved in academic /research training, writing retreats, summer schools, and conference presentations which enable them to acquire necessary skills to succeed in their field or research.

The Erasmus ICM Programme presents a unique opportunity for staff and students from participating institutions to broaden their horizons and gain a competitive edge in the global arena which aligns to NTU’s “Connecting Globally strategy.”

Sympsium participants in a commemorative  photo at Brackenhurst, Limuru

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