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Ms. Ruth Kyengo (Manager, People & Change, KPMG) describes features of the new Performance Management System to participants (Champions) during their first training session, on Friday, June 8 at the Chandaria School of Business. PHOTO: ANTONIO LONGANGI

By Taigu Muchiri

Companies globally are continually improving to accommodate the ever growing and diverse workforce. The traditional office space has undergone a lot of transformation over the last few years.

Google and Facebook are the leading U.S. companies have been identified as some of the best workplaces across the globe. Their style of management has attracted a new crop of employees who want to do things differently. The Chief Executive Officer of Facebook is spotted with his casual tee-shirt, jeans and sneakers that have become a trademark trend in the tech world.

In Kenya, several companies are known to have varied work environments that accommodate a rich and diverse culture. All you have to do is go for a meeting with a tech firm or the several incubation hubs that have been established to see it for yourself. The style of management has also changed over the years. This shift was necessitated by the fact that employees spend most of their time in these work spaces. It was important to change in order to improve on efficiency and productivity of employees. In addition, employers have changed their performance reviews to focus on the growing trends. Measurements such as strict dress code and task-intensive appraisals are a thing of the past. Most organizations are increasingly engaging employees in governance issues that improve on their productivity and general wellbeing.

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Hon. Eugene Wamalwa, Cabinet Secretary for Devolution delivers the keynote address at the opening of the second Devolution for Sustainable Development Conference held from September 26-28, at the auditorium. PHOTO: ANTONIO LONGANGI

By Taigu Muchiri

The second Devolution for Sustainable Development Conference was held from September 26-28, 2018 at the auditorium. The conference hosted over 300 participants drawn from the national and county governments, development partners, private sector and institutions of higher learning.

The theme of the conference centered around policy and legislative coherence for advancing partnerships in implementation, monitoring and evaluation of SDGs in the context of devolution. The conference aimed to providing a truly dynamic platform for bringing the best minds together to solve the most pressing and complex local problems through global mindsets.

In 2015, 193 member states including Kenya, signed onto the United Nations seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are to be achieved by 2030. This year’s event focused on the role that policy plays in the implementation and actualization of these goals, in line with Kenya’s Vision 2030 agenda that is driven by national and county governments.

The Africa Development Bank (AfDB) has offered a grand prize of an Apple Macbook Air laptop and sponsorship to attend an Innovative Youth Forum in Africa to the winner of its Center of Excellence design competition. The competition, invites youthful citizens from one of the AfDB’s member countries, to design a 3D model of the interior of a 21st century digital literacy Center of Excellence, that captures the feelings of contemporary young people.

The AfDB is in the process of establishing 130 Centers of Excellence across Africa to implement its ambitious Coding for Employment program, one of which will be hosted at USIU-Africa. The centers aim to impart digital literacy and entrepreneurial skills in an effort to reduce youth unemployment that is currently estimated at 40% in Kenya.

Once unveiled, the design will be applied in all the centers across Africa with the evaluation criteria focusing on user friendliness, innovation, aesthetic qualities, functional and emotional aspects. Applicants have up to Monday, October 22, 2018 to submit their applications through a Google Drive Link: http://bit.ly/coedesign

A photo of the 2017 Emerald Best User Institution
Library and Informaton Center and a photo of the 2017 Emerald “Best User Institution” trophy PHOTO:DAN MUCHAI

By Dr. Sylvia Ogolla

For the second year running, USIU-Africa has scooped the award for the ‘Best User Institution’ at the 6th Knowledge Ambassadors Workshop held at Daystar University. USIU-Africa was recognized as having the highest usage statistics in the country during the workshop which brought together 150 participating students and librarians from 17 public and private universities. 

Students were given a chance to make competitive and innovative presentations around the workshop’s theme Open Access by showcased their creativity in creating awareness of available electronic resources, and how they promote the library as a brand. Other awards offered included Best Creative Award and Best Presentation Award.

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(L to R) Ms. Joyce Ngugi (Doctor of Psychology, PsyD Clinical Psychology Candidate) and Ms. Ann Mwiti (PhD, Clinical Psychology Candidate, Daystar University) receive a 2nd Place Africa Region Student Poster Award from American Psychological Association (APA) Division 52 - International Psychology Student Poster Committee official, Ms. Roberta Grudtna (right).

By Dan Muchai and Aamrah Khan

Doctor of Psychology, PsyD Clinical Psychology candidate Ms. Joyce Ngugi, presentation was honored at the 126th American Psychological Association Convention held at the Moscone Center, in San Francisco from August 9 -12, 2018. Ms. Ngugi’s presentation “Barriers to Mental Health Access of Deaf Adults in Kenya: A Review” co—authored with Ms. Anne Mwiti (Ph.D Candidate in Clinical Psychology, Daystar University) received a 2nd Place Africa Region poster contest award from the APA’s Division 52 - International Psychology.

The presentation examined three factors that directly contribute to the difficulties faced by deaf persons in accessing quality and affordable mental health care in Kenya, in order that appropriate interventions can be mounted. According to the research reviewed by the two doctoral candidates, the deaf in Kenya suffered from communication difficulties between mental health care providers and patients, lack of access to health care in their preferred language and finally poor health-related information in sign language.

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Participants at the Google Developer Group (GDG) Developers’ Festival (DevFest) 2018 pose for a group photo outside the Library and Information Center on Saturday, September 22, 2018. 

By Max Musau

On Saturday, September 22, the Incubation and Innovation Center in conjunction with the School of Science & Technology hosted a Google Developer Group (GDG) Developers’ Festival (DevFest) 2018 – which is arguably one of the biggest Google tech conference in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The annual gathering featured over 1000 developers, technologists, engineers, managers, and entrepreneurs, who are shaping the future of Android, Web, IoT, AI and Cloud technologies for a day of sessions, workshops and networking.

DevFests are community-led, developer events hosted by GDG chapters around the globe, which are focused on community building and learning about Google’s technologies. Each DevFest is inspired by, and uniquely tailored to, the needs of the developer community and region that hosts it.


USIU-Africa has won a competitive grant to upscale its training in agri-business. Using an inventive model dubbed The Metro-Agribusiness Living Lab, the University will combine experiential agri-business training with action research to determine factors that impact most on youth training. Beginning this month, the 24-month project will target 300 young people from 24 counties in Kenya, and have a strong focus on gender inclusivity, sustainable agri-business and ethical behaviour, given that the majority of those engaged in agriculture are aged between 50 and 65 years, and practice unsustainable subsistence farming.

Co-funded by IDRC and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the project exposes participants to cutting edge agri-business practices, provides business coaching and connects participants to financial sources. The project head Prof. Francis Wambalaba (Professor of Economics) described the program as “…the most comprehensive measure to close loopholes experienced by other entrepreneurial trainings.” He expressed optimism that the project will in addition to impacting 300 youths directly, will also affect an additional 15,000 through network marketing, indirect employment and access to over KES 25 million in business funding.

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Ms. Silpah Anyango Owich receives her Doctor of Business Administration degree from the Chair of the University Council Dr. Lola Odubekun during the 40th Commencement Ceremony held on Saturday, September 29, 2018 at the Graduation Yard. 1316 graduands were awarded degrees offered by 23 programs at undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. Looking on is Associate Professor of Strategic Management Dr. Paul Katuse (left) and Assistant Professor of Management Dr. James Ngari (Second right). PHOTO: ANTONIO LONGANGI

By Taigu Muchiri & Dan Muchai

Vice-Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza led the University in marking USIU-Africa’s 40th Commencement Ceremony last Saturday, September 29, where 1316 graduands were conferred with doctoral, graduate and undergraduate degrees.

While congratulating the graduating class, the guest of honor Prof. Collette Suda (Chief Administrative and Principal Secretary, State Department for University Education and Research, Ministry of Education) applauded the University for maintaining high standards in providing quality education to produce skilled and competent graduates.

She noted with appreciation the role played by the Placement and Career Services Department in preparing the graduands for the job market, lauding USIU-Africa’s pioneering role in ensuring students are also prepared and mentored on developing entrepreneurial skills that will enable them create jobs upon graduation.

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Attendees get their groove on at the Graduation Dinner hosted by the Student Council in honor of the graduating Class of 2018 on Thursday, September 27 at Radisson Blue Hotel, Nairobi. PHOTO: ANTONIO LONGANGI

By Antonio Longangi

The graduating Class of 2018 was hosted by the Student Council on Thursday, September 27 at Radisson Blu Hotel, Upperhill, as part of the Commencement 2018 exercises.

Themed “Casino Royal” the dinner brought together over 300 graduands and alumni, as well as members of staff and faculty to interact and reminisce on their various academic journeys.

The Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza, congratulated the graduating class reminding them of the history they were making: “USIU-Africa will be celebrating 40 years since the first commencement ceremony, and 50 years since the university was established,” he said. He went on to challenge the graduating class to “...bring in new and creative solutions to challenges they will face, and have been prepared for.”

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Deputy Vice Chancellor - Academic & Student Affairs Amb. Prof. Ruthie Rono delivers her address during the DVC-ASA’s Convocation on Wednesday, October 3,at the auditorium. PHOTO: ANTONIO LONGANGI

By Ernest Anguru

On Wednesday, October 3 the Deputy Vice Chancellor - Academic and Student Affairs Amb. Prof. Ruthie Rono addressed the university community on the state of academic and student affairs, during the second annual DVC-ASA Convocation at the auditorium.

Speaking to a gathering of staff, faculty and students, Prof. Rono highlighted the key initiatives, activities, achievements, and challenges from the previous academic year, and set out the 2018-19 Academic Year priorities in her division.

Following the launch of the four new academic programs during the 2017-18 academic year, she announced the development of 2 programs at graduate and one at undergraduate level in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences; two undergraduate programs in the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; two programs at undergraduate and one at graduate level in the Chandaria School of Business, and finally two programs at undergraduate and one at doctoral level in the School of Science and Technology.