Firming Up Partnerships With Kenyan Academia

May 27, 2019

APHRC participates in University of Nairobi first-ever Graduate School’s Open Day

African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) was invited by the University of Nairobi (UoN) Graduate School to participate in the first Graduate Open Day event which was held from March 22 to 23. The invitation stemmed from a  long-standing partnership between UoN and APHRC; more specifically the Research Capacity Strengthening division, because of initiatives such as the Consortium of Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA). The Center was represented by Flora Karimi, Lisa Omondi, Alex Gateri, and Justus Musasiah.

The event focused on providing current and prospective graduate students with the opportunity to interact with APHRC staff and learn more about the Center’s core activities. The showcase focused on four key objectives:

  • Highlighting APHRC’s work and activities to a vast audience including graduate students, current partners and potential collaborators.
  • Drawing attention to our flagship doctoral programs: the African Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship (ADDRF) and CARTA.
  • Publicizing APHRC programs and activities
  • Enhancing institutional partnership

As a key partner of the Graduate School, APHRC had a dedicated desk where visitors had the chance to interact with staff, get materials on the different types of activities at the Center and have their queries responded to in real-time.

There was a lot of traffic at the APHRC desk, and we were pleased to welcome the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) for Academic Affairs, Prof. Julius Ogeng’o, and the Director of the School of Graduate Studies Prof. Lydia Njenga, who were particularly interested in both of the research capacity strengthening initiatives. Whilst the students inquired about the internship possibilities at the Center, researchers, health journalists and program officers from like-minded organizations expressed interest in forging partnerships.

Another notable visitor was Dr. Dorothy Kyalo, a CARTA Cohort 1 Graduate. Dr. Kyalo is a Senior Lecturer and researcher at the University attributes part of her success to CARTA’s fellowship.

APHRC’s Lisa Omondi presents an infopack to Prof. Julius Ogeng’o, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (UoN) at the APHRC Desk during the Open Day.

Visitors were impressed with APHRC and were keen to learn about the organization. Other institutions expressed interest in exploring partnership opportunities.

During their brief call at the APHRC desk, Dr. Njenga acknowledged that under the current partnership agreement, APHRC had extended a staff capacity-strengthening grant to UoN. In turn, the DVC made an offer that should APHRC extend a similar endowment, the University will match the amount in the contribution.

As with all events, there were a lot of lessons learned. Firstly, participation in similar events enhances the popularity of APHRC activities, partnerships, and other initiatives. Secondly, the CARTA program is popular among graduate students and higher education institutions as it offers an opportunity for more growth.

There is also a need to clear the misconception that CARTA is APHRC, as most people referred to APHRC as “the CARTA People”.

All in all, there is a great opportunity for APHRC’s training unit to develop content that can be shared with the public.