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Mount Kenya University Wins the Innovative Civic Engagement Award

Mount Kenya University (MKU) is the recipient of the Talloires Network Innovative Civic Engagement Award, 2020.

The award winning project titled “Co-creation strategies for improving the health of children and access to safe water in a time of crisis” is part of the University Award for Innovative Civic Engagement, a program established by the Talloires Network in partnership with Open Society Foundations.

After a competitive review process, the Selection Committee was impressed by the partnership, and wishes to recognize and support (Mount Kenya University) continued civic engagement work. The University Award for Innovative Civic Engagement aims to discover, learn from, and support the leadership of novel university civic engagement partnerships that connect universities and local communities in ways that contribute to more equal and more inclusive societies. MKU has been awarded in recognition of the involvement of the students, staff and University leaders in implementation of community-based activities in Kenyan communities in partnership with Partners for Care (PFC).

Some of the joint activities considered during the award process include distribution of over 10,000 water backpacks that provide access to safe water transport and storage for hundreds of thousands of people; treatment of over 1000 jigger infested pupils and eradication of jigger infestations in Marsabit leading to improved school performance; and involvement of students and members of staff in community outreach programs. anti-jigger campaigns in Marsabit and Watamu, safe water programme using the water backpack as well as the mobility programme.

The joint activities are managed through a joint MKU/PFC committee of 5 members, 2 nominated by each institution and a committee chairperson nominated every two years by the head of either institutions on a rotational basis. The committee is currently chaired by Dr. Peter G. Kirira, Ag. Principal College of Graduate Studies & Research. As part of the award, the University will receive $20,000 to support distribution of water backpacks and hand wash units during COVID-19 pandemic in different parts of the country and to reach an additional 3,500 pupils with jigger infestation in Watamu, Kilifi County. In addition, Talloires Network will sponsor a member of the University faculty to the Talloires Network Leaders Conference at Harvard University in September 2021. Other recipients of the award include Meridian Global University, Cameroon; Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico; National Autonomous University of Nicaragua and the University of Zimbabwe.

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