Bachelor of Pharmacy students participate in community service at Friends Anduru Learning Center

By Betty Mbatia, Edith Amuhaya, Bachelor of Pharmacy group one and two of CMS 3700D Fall 2023

USIU-Africa is known for giving back to the community. Through its scholar-citizen initiative, USIU-Africa has been doing community service at Friends Anduru Educational Centre from September to November. This initiative prepares our students to be all-round students and ensures they identify problems in the community and come up with ways to provide solutions to the challenges in the community and makes them to be responsible citizens in the society.

The USIU-Africa has community service and development as a major component of its mission. As partial fulfillment of this aspect, the University offers its learners the opportunity to perform community service through the course Community Service Learning (CMS3700). This course aims to offer the much-needed service to communities for the mutual benefit of all parties involved, and to encourage personal involvement, community and personal awareness and responsible leadership. Through this course, students are sensitized to various social problems affecting our society and provides opportunities for students to reflect critically on their lived experiences.

This semester, the fifth year Bachelor of Pharmacy students undertook community service at the Friends Anduru Educational Centre in Korogocho, Kasarani. Due to the intensive nature of their course, each student performed 10 hours of service at the site. During this time, they undertook activities such as cooking, playing with the children, teaching, and fetching water. As part of the course requirements, each group of students had to raise a minimum of Ksh. 100,000 to carry out a sustainable project at the site.

To raise the funds, the students employed different fundraising techniques such as henna painting, and selling handmade bookmarks and online brochures raising a total of Ksh. 238,650. Part of the funds were used to enhance the learning environment at the institution through provision of learning desks and chairs for the learners, and a storage cupboard for the teachers. This aligned to the Social Development Goal (SDG) 4 which advocates for access to quality education for all learners. To help the institution reduce the cost of preparing meals for their learners, the students installed an energy saving ‘jiko’. This part of the project aligns to SDG 12 ‘Responsible consumption and production’. Furthermore, to help the institution improve its water autonomy, the students installed a 2,500-liter water tank. This part of the project is particularly critical to the institution because it ensures access to clean water, which contributes to both SDG 3 ‘Good health and well-being’ and SDG 6 ‘Clean water and sanitation’.

Additionally, part of the funds was used to purchase utensils, including plates and mugs, for the institution. This ensured that all the students had their meals at the same time without wasting time by eating in shifts. The provision of learning desks and modern jiko also contributes to SDG 10 as it reduces disparities in access to quality education regardless the socio-economic background of the learners at the Centre. Inequality was further reduced by provision of geometric sets and clip boards for use by the grade six students while undertaking their national examinations. It is important to note that the undertaken projects also align with Kenya Vision 2030 as they strive to improve basic education infrastructure and enhance living conditions of learners.

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