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UNICEF Regional Director of East and South Africa, Leila Pakkala addresses participants during the Second Migration Conversation hosted by the University in partnershipwith the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday, May 24. PHOTO: ANTONIO LONGANGI

By Diana Meso

On Thursday, May 24, USIU-Africa in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) hosted the Second Migration Conversation at the auditorium. Through the theme “Children on the move in East and Horn of Africa” the event was aimed at discussing the safety and dignity of children migrating in East and the Horn of Africa.

IOM Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa, Jeffery Labovitz, pointed out that since 1 in every 70 children do not reside in countries where they were born, massive vulnerabilities now exist on migration journeys which must be addressed. He further added that his organization was working tirelessly to ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, promote international cooperation on migration issues and assist in research on practical solutions to migration problems.

Present at the event was UNICEF Regional Director of East and South Africa, Leila Pakkala, who emphasized on the causes of human migration such as natural disasters, high poverty levels, political unrest and a search of a better life. She added that while migrating children are faced with challenges such as missing identity documents, detention, sexual harassment, lack of access to basic services, among other issues.She also pointed out that UNICEF had come up with programs that support young migrants, urging participants to contribute to creation of awareness on the rights of children on the move, and thus ensure they are protected. She further encouraged participants and organizations present to partner and create an enabling environment for the migrants where ever they may be found.

By Serah Ngetha

The strong interest Inventory is a tool that was developed by industrial psychologist John Holland, after realizing that even after getting monetary rewards, praise for a job well done, promotions and annual paid vacations, workers still lacked motivation in their workplaces. He developed this tool now used by organizations to match employees’ interests to the organizations and available positions.

Today, although the Strong Interest Inventory or the Holland Code is not a diagnostic tool, it is used as an indicator in various high schools and universities, to help students choose the right major and create a sound career plan.

The Holland Code aids individuals identify their interests by exploring six broad areas; realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional (RIASEC). Each of these areas offers a broad range of industry options that an individual can explore based on their passion. It also describes a person’s personal preferences in five areas which are; work style, learning environment, team orientation, leadership style and risk taking.

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Placement and Career Services held their first career peer advisors training session on Friday, May 25, at the Freida Brown Student Center. The program drew students from various majors, all who shared a common interest in guiding their peers in career planning, curriculum vitae or cover letter writing.

Through the guidance of professionals from the Placement and Career Services department as well as the Counseling department, the intensive program tutored participants on the purpose of being a career peer advisor, personal branding, career exploration, job searching skills, CV and cover letter writing, and the qualities and values career peer advisors should embody. Participants were also educated on how to draw up their own career plans.

“The students will be an extension of the career services officers, whilst having peer engagements with other students,” said Career Services Officer Ms. Mina Kaburu.

The program concluded by training participants on how to enhance their own self-awareness as career peer advisors.
Winnie Waithira PACS CPA 22052018   

Interview By Sarah Ngetha

Career Peers Advisors are outstanding students, drawn from various majors, who are interested in helping their peers in career planning, Curriculum Vitae or cover letter writing.

Advisors who meet the necessary requirements are trained on how to handle various issues concerning careers, how to conduct themselves on and off campus and how to draw up their own career plans.

I interviewed one of our outstanding Career Peer Advisors Winnie Waithira (above), regarding her experience as an advisor.

Sarah: Briefly introduce yourself

Winnie: My name is Winnie Waithira, a Psychology Junior working as a Career Peer Advisor in the Office of Placement and Career Services.

Sarah: How and why did you become an advisor?

Winnie: I had not intended to become a career advisor - I stumbled upon the opportunity when I was looking for Work Study Opportunity on campus.
I had been called for a work study interview in another department and failed to get the position. In my search for alternative Work Study slots, I sent my CV to then Head of Placement and Career Services Ms. Lilian Bogonko and after an interview, I got the position.
I had no idea what the work was about, but I was pretty excited to work at the just completed Freida Brown Student Center ((FBSC) and the fact that I had a work study option, meant it would ease my school fee load.

Sarah: What does a typical day for a Career Peer Advisor look like?

Winnie: (laughing) I have never had a typical day at Career Services. Every day is different, because you have different students with different needs walking in. Sometimes you have many clients, other times the traffic is low, especially around exam time.

Sarah: What are some of the responsibilities of an advisor?

Winnie: Guiding a student through major or minor course selection, CV and/or cover letter critique, career advising, as well as creating awareness for the services the department offers.

Sarah:What impact has your position had on you?

Winnie: It has had such a positive impact! Where skills are concerned, I have learnt how to communicate effectively. It has also helped me build on my interpersonal skills, learn how to efficiently run an office, and how to plan and market an event.
Personally, I have learnt how to better manage my time as well as how to balance my academic work and responsibilities as an advisor; something I never thought I was capable of.

Sarah: Please share some of your highlights at the PACS office?

Winnie: Just the other day, I helped one of my friends write a motivational letter to an international university as part of her admission application for graduate studies. She not only got the slot, but also two semesters free! I also have another friend who came in and together we worked on her application to a job that she finally landed following our discussions. Such stories keep me going, knowing that I am positively influencing my peers.

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From Tuesday May 8 to Wednesday May 9, the Division of Legal Services, successfully organized the second edition of the Legal Awareness Workshop. This followed last year’s auspicious event also held in May. The theme for this year’s workshop was “Empowerment through the Law” and the Division lined up yet another high profile list of guest speakers composed of Prof. Tom Ojienda - a Commissioner at the Judicial Service Commission, Senior Counsel and Advocate of the High Court of Kenya; Ms. Maria Goretti Nyariki - Head of Legal Services and Corporation Secretary at Kenya Bureau of Standards; Ms. Patricia Kiwanuka, a Chartered Financial Analyst, President of the Chartered Financial Analyst Society of East Africa and also a Member of the University Council at USIU-Africa; Mr. Elisha Ongoya, an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and Senior Lecturer at the Kabarak University Law School; Mr. Alex Gakuru, Executive Director, Content Development and Intellectual Property (CODE-IP) Trust; Mr. Victor Nzomo, an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, a Patent agent and celebrated blogger on Intellectual Property matters; Ms. MarySheila Onyango - Oduor, Partner and Head of the Family Law Department at TripleOKLaw Advocates and Mr. Samson Atandi, the Senior Insurance Officer at USIU-Africa.

In his brief remarks the Chancellor Dr. Manu Chandaria, underscored the importance of saving and accumulating money as part of financial intelligence.
Participants at the workshop were taken through various issues of topical interest, such as Alternative Dispute Resolution in Kenya, Financial Intelligence Quotient, Constitutional rights and their enforcement in courts, E-Conveyancing, Internet Governance, Intellectual Property Rights, Succession law, Marriage law, Children & the Law, Sexual Harassment in the aftermath of #MeToo campaign, and Insurance.

Key highlights included the ten lessons one needs to learn and practice in order to achieve financial intelligence, inter alia: accumulating money; giving money to the less fortunate; creation of wealth; and making a distinction between good and bad debt. The current changes effected by the Ministry of Lands on the digitization of conveyancing transactions were broken down in detail with key emphasis being placed on the due diligence that parties to any conveyancing transaction ought to undertake. Participants were also informed that The Movable Property Security Rights Act, which was assented into law on May 10 2017, will facilitate the use of movable property such as intellectual property rights, as security for loan facilities.

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USIU-Africa hosted the Blackboard Education Forum on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, at the Freida Brown Student Center, in collaboration with Blackboard Inc., the U.S Embassy in Kenya and Kabarak University. The forum held under the theme “Growing online while retaining your residential students” aimed to facilitate an exchange of experience with e-learning between invited institutions and organizations.

Facilitated by Blackboard Inc., the forum welcomed professionals in education from a dozen of local universities, government agencies, and supporting organizations. The Blackboard LMS, is a learning management system launched in 1997 and currently serving over 100 million users in over 19,000 institutions in 100 countries, and owned by Blackboard Inc. - an educational technology company with corporate headquarters in Washington D.C.

“It is important for the university to gather various perspectives on electronic learning as we are mapping the next steps required to launch our first online program,” said Dr. Paul Okanda (Director of ICT) while addressing the forum. The statement resonated with the welcome address from Amb. Prof. Ruthie Rono (DVC - Academic & Student Affairs), in which she pointed out the significant initiatives and programs undertaken by the University to harvest the power of technology in creating the best academic experience for the entire community.

From the introduction of Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) in 1997, the university has been at the forefront of technological development. In line with this, Dr. Caren Ouma (Assistant Professor of Management) announced at the workshop, that the Chandaria School of Business is planning to launch the online Master of Business Administration (eMBA) program in Fall 2019, to take advantage of the technology available and provide options to students.
The program is expected to rely on the Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) to provide content consisting of Lesson Plan, Slides, Handouts, Videos, Audios, Web Links, eResources, online video and case studies.

Addressing the disruptive effect of technology on residential or campus-based learning, Dr. Okanda clarified that nothing can beat a face to face experience, “That’s why we are starting on a graduate level as we explore the ability of technology to provide face to face like experiences.”

The Blackboard system will also facilitate collaboration through Discussion Boards and Groups; Email, Announcements, Grade center integration; file exchange; and finally assessing students through assignments, tests, surveys and other exam administration tools.
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Dr. Kioko Ireri, Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication has presented a research paper at the International Conference on Terrorism and Violent Extremism. The paper titled, “Media Framing of Westgate and Garissa University Terror Attacks: News Frames, Responsibility and Major Actors” examined how Daily Nation, The Standard, and People Daily covered the Westgate Mall and Garissa University College terror attacks in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

Specifically, the study explored the media frames that were employed by journalists in reporting the twin terror attacks. The eight frames explored included attribution of responsibility, conflict, economic consequences, human interest, international co-operation, justice, morality and quest for security.

In the same vein, the research examined any significant variations in the use of the most-common media frame between Westgate and Garissa terror incidences. In addition, the study investigated whether the coverage of the two terror attacks was episodic or thematic in nature. Relatedly, it examined any significant variations in the use of the most-prevalent framing type (episodic vs. thematic) between the two incidences of terrorist attacks. Through the lenses of attribution frame, the study examined who the media assigned the blame for the two terror attacks. Lastly, the research investigated the major news sources (actors) in reporting of the two attacks by journalists from the three newspapers.

The School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has been selected to host D. Emilly Obuya, a Fellow from Sage Colleges, New York as part of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP).

Dr. Naumih Noah (Assistant Professor of Analytical/Bioanalytical Chemistry) will lead the project in which she will collaborate with Dr. Obuya to develop simple, efficient and low cost water treatment technologies, for use in areas that lack municipal water treatment facilities, or areas where the centralized water distribution systems have been compromised due to a natural water disaster.

Their research is seeking to improve the solar disinfection (SODIS) method, and explore the potential for employing it as a point-of-use household water treatment technology, and then field-test the materials on drinking water from the Obunga informal settlement situated in the northwest part of Kisumu, on the edge of Lake Victoria The region is known for its poor water distribution, poor sanitation infrastructure, and high density of housing.

This community will benefit from this research since it experiences severely dilapidated sanitation services which has led to disease outbreaks consequent to microbial water contamination.

The research will involve working with undergraduate and graduate students at from USIU-Africa, on a longer-term collaboration in the proposed research area, while faculty from both institutions participate in mentoring the students. In addition, Dr. Obuya will also teach one Chemistry course.The USIU-Africa project is part of a broader initiative that will pair 55 CADFP scholars with one of 43 higher education institutions and collaborators in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda to work together on curriculum co-development, research, graduate teaching, training, and mentoring activities in the coming months.

On Saturday, May 12, a total of 900 Scratch Day - a global network of events that celebrates the release of the Scratch software and accomplishments – events were celebrated around the world. This year, the Incubation and Innovation Center celebrated with a gathering of technology enthusiasts both young and old.
Scratch is a visual programming tool and online community used by students to learn and share computer science concepts.

The tool was created by the MIT Media Lab in 2007 to enable students to engage in programming, while allowing them to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively.During a typical event, attendees of varying abilities collaborate on computer science projects, while sharing their ideas and experiences.
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Students from Carleton University’s Institute of African Studies are on campus for a month, to study “Social Media & the Public Sphere in Africa”, which will be taught jointly by the Institute’s Director Prof. Pius Adesanmi, and Dr. Wandia Njoya (Head of Department Languages and Performing Arts, Daystar University).

This is an intensive three-week course that will explore the rise and explosion of social media and its intersections with culture, politics, economics, governance, social issues and youth culture in Africa.

Noted social commentators and influencers such as columnist Mr. Patrick Gathara, digital strategist and story teller Mr. Mark Kaigwa, and Ms. Nanjala Nyabola (Political analyst, writer and author of the forthcoming “Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Is Transforming Politics in Africa”), have been invited as to guest lecture, as subject matter experts throughout the duration of the course.