JKUAT Fronts the Academic Lens to Improve Nutrition and Food systems

Prof. David Mburu, Principal COANRE, lauded the faculty for a job well done.

JKUAT’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (COANRE), held the final plenary session on the curriculum review for its academic programs during a virtual workshop on April 14, 2022.

This was a culmination of a rigorous, two-year process to ensure that all the degree programs offered at the School of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences (SOAES), School of Food & Nutritional Sciences (SOFNUS), and School of Natural Resources & Animal Sciences (SONRAS) are nutrition-sensitive, market-responsive, and incorporate food systems in their curricula.

The review is also part of a project supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) dubbed Strengthening capacities for nutrition-sensitive food systems through a multi-stakeholder approach: Engaging with the private sector, civil society organizations, and academia”, in a bid to achieve the sustainable development goals associated with food and nutrition.

During the workshop, the Principal COANRE, Prof. David Mburu said it was imperative for universities to retool course facilitators by providing pedagogical training responsive to the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) approach in readiness for the learners who are expected to join the university in 2029.

Dr. Florence Kyallo, Project Lead and Chairperson, Department of Human Nutrition Sciences, JKUAT

According to the Project lead, Dr. Florence Kyallo, the review process involved faculty members, SMEs in the agri-food sector, and industry professionals who provided input on existing gaps and suggested areas of improvement on specific units in terms of delivery and structure of the content.

“Nutrition-sensitive approaches are pivotal in addressing the underlying and basic causes of malnutrition, and for the various interventions to be successful, there is a need to visualize the sequential order of activities, beginning with food production and ending with food transportation and utilization by the consumer,” explained Dr. Kyallo, who is also the Chairperson, Department of Human Nutrition Sciences

Given the multifaceted linkages between agriculture, health, and nutrition, the Deans of the three Schools; Prof. Elijah Ateka, (SOAES), Prof. Daniel Sila, (SOFNUS), and Prof. Francis Njonge, (SONRAS) outlined the identified critical areas in the curricula where nutrition goals can be incorporated into agro-food systems and therefore pave holistic pathways that would lead to better nutrition outcomes.

Ms. Leila Akinyi from the Division of Nutrition and Dietetics at the Ministry of Health reported that Kenya was in dire need to eradicate the triple burden of undernutrition, overnutrition, and micronutrient deficiencies caused by inaccessibility, unavailability, or the inability to afford nutritious food – only six percent consume the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables.

This challenge of eliminating all forms of malnutrition, and subsequently poverty, is a priority on the FAO

Dr. Barrack Okoba, Resilient Food and Livelihood Systems Sub-Programme Leader at FAO affirmed the curriculum as successful.

agenda.

 “FAO is committed to supporting nutrition-sensitive food systems based on the four principles of “Betters” with regards to production, nutrition, life, and the environment,” reported FAO, Resilient Food and Livelihood Systems Sub-Programme Leader, Dr. Barrack Okoba.

Dr. Okoba lauded Prof. Mburu’s stewardship, and the COANRE team for their resilience in working towards producing course curricula to match the industry needs. He added that JKUAT being the pioneer in this exercise would cascade the expertise to other institutions given the expansive knowledge base of the College.

The curriculum review, which started in 2020, is conducted periodically, after every cycle (4 years) for all programmes as required by the Directorate of Quality Assurance (DAQA), Senate and Commission for University Education (CUE).

The workshop was attended by university representatives from across the country and provided a forum for benchmarking in preparation for a national workshop slated for May 13, 2022.

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources employed a multi-stakeholder approach in the curriculum review.

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