Mount Kenya University (MKU) is enriching lives through its community initiatives that also support its teaching and research mandates.
The initiatives, funded by the MKU Foundation (MKUF), cover health, education, environment, community and student empowerment and conferences.
For example, MKU’s partnership with a non-profit organisation, Partners for Care, to eradicate jiggers in Marsabit County, has been highly successful. This has laid the ground for similar efforts in other counties.
After treating 13,000 residents of the county (both children and adults) and educating them on how to tackle jiggers, the two partners invested in a similar project in Kilifi County and have already treated 4,000 residents.
A research team led by MKU director Dr Peter G. Kirira established that the intervention significantly reduced absenteeism and led to improved academic performance.
Ms Connie Cheren, the Director, Partners for Care International, believes that the same model that worked in Marsabit County and is now working in Kilifi County can be replicated in other counties where jigger infestation is prevalent.
She says: “Our partnership with MKU has helped advance the work of PFC’s medical initiatives designed to improve the quality of life for people in Kenya. MKU has been researching and publishing findings on the outcome of PFC’s work, including the impact of treating over 13,000 children and adults for jiggers, the transformation of Marsabit Hospital and the decrease in water-borne illnesses from the use of water back packs.”
Student clubs and associations
MKU supports professional student associations and clubs as a potential breeding ground of the country’s innovative and creative minds.
MKU founder, Prof Simon Gicharu, donated Sh3 million to support registered professional student clubs and associations within the university. The grant, managed by MKUF, disbursed Sh1.2 million to the first cohort of six qualifying student clubs and associations to run their respective projects.
During the awarding ceremony mid last June, Prof Gicharu informed the students that the spirit of the grant was to incite them to shun tribal groupings and embrace their diversity, creativity and entrepreneurial skills.
MKU holds conferences that engage various stakeholders on matters governance and development.
Community-oriented academic support
MKU has continuously initiated multi-million-shilling community-oriented academic support projects that include the following:
•Construction of the $3 million General Kago Road Funeral Home cum-anatomy lab at the Thika Level 5 Hospital through a public-private partnership with Kiambu County. The facility has enabled the hospital to offer exemplary services to the community. At the same time, MKU medical students use the facility for practical training.
•Research in Health Sciences: As a part of MKU’s core-business, the College of Health Sciences at MKU is currently partnering with Makerere University’s College of Health Sciences to undertake medical research. MKU granted Sh10 million to facilitate the research collaboration between the two colleges.
Free medical camp
MKU hosted a free lifestyle diseases awareness and cancer screening medical camp at the main campus in Thika from July 30 – August 2, 2018.
The medical camp, part of MKU’s Community Outreach Programme, was a collaborative initiative with Thika Level 5 Hospital, Kiambu County Government, and India’s Nanavati Super Specialty Hospital. The camp aimed to create awareness on non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, and screen for breast, cervical and prostate cancers.
Supporting education in Rwanda
MKU is building and will furnish a new classroom block for Groupe Scolaire de Gahanga to ease congestion in the school. The classroom, which is expected to be ready in May, will accommodate 46 pupils.
Prof Simon Gicharu, the university’s founder and chairman, made this pledge early this year after meeting the mayor of Kicukiro District, the home of the MKU campus in Rwanda.
MKUF manages scholarships awarded by the University to its students. In the last five years, the university has awarded more than 50 scholarships to deserving students on the basis of need, academic merit and potential impact of the scholarship to the recipient and the community.
Over the last five years, the university has sponsored students through a budgetary allocation of Ksh5 million every year.
Mr Daniel Masibo
Scholarship amount: Sh600,000
Course: Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science
“I am honoured to be one of the beneficiaries of the Mount Kenya University Scholarship 2013. The scholarship catered for all my undergraduate study expenses from accommodation through to graduation fees.
This provided a conducive environment that enabled me to get a First-class Honours in Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science.
“Thanks to MKU’s generous support, I am the first in my family to attend college. I want to say a massive thank you to MKU for this scholarship. This has without a doubt transformed not only my university experience, but the rest of my life.”
Ms Zipporah Wangui
Scholarship amount: Sh960,000
Course: Bachelor Science Nursing
“I come from a family of five children and my mother is the sole provider. This is following the separation of my parents. It has been a struggle for my mother to put us through primary school and provide at least a meal for us despite not having a permanent job. I worked hard in school and did my KCSE, whereby I got a B-minus.
However, due to financial challenges, I was not able to join college and thought my dream of becoming a nurse was cut short. By God’s grace, Mount Kenya University came through when I needed help the most.
“I am very grateful to MKU for having given me the chance to go through four years of my degree in nursing without having to worry about finances. I graduated with a BSc Nursing degree in December 2018 and I am currently on internship as I plan to get my Nursing License to enable me serve as a certified nurse.”