The Sustainable Development Initiatives Centre (SUDIC) is a non-profit initiative Centre based at the School of Science and Technology. It works under the auspices of the RAPD headed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor; Academic Research, Prof. Francis Wambalaba. SUDIC was formed in 2005 to enable the University fraternity contribute to the achievement of sustainable development in Kenya. So far, this has been achieved through joint partnerships with national, regional and international institutions as well as local government departments, private entrepreneurs, NGOs and other academic institutions. SUDIC has provided the much needed impetus for research, knowledge, awareness and solutions to sustainable development in Eastern African communities. It respects and values the integrity, trust and confidence of the public diversity of cultures and thinking, competence, innovation, continuous learning and sound science.

  • Link economic development with environmental management.
  • Conduct research in areas relevant to sustainable development.
  • Build capacity through training program and skill upgrading in areas of sustainable development as well as facilitate conferences, seminars and workshops.
  • Provide technical and policy advisory services to institutions and governments.
  • Establish networking and partnerships to promote sustainable development in East Africa.
  • Carry out awareness and educational campaigns among institutions and communities in relation to achieving sustainable development.
  • Award innovative and progressive individuals in areas of sustainable development.

"Develop partnerships, networking and capacity for the attainment of economic and social development, and environmental protection."

“Promote the diffusion of principles of sustainable development within institutions and communities within the region”

"Innovation and Excellence in Sustainable Development in East African Region"

The Biofuels project being spear headed by Prof. Maina Muniafu is an exciting project that aims at extracting fuels from cassava peelings. This project has been funded by the National Commission for Science and Technology and Innovation-NACOSTI (formerly National Council for Science and Technology-NCST. Other research team members include; Prof. James Kahindi (Associate Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs), Mr. Moses Kwena, Ms. Roselyn Malova and Mr. Abdallah Malala.

The team has worked tirelessly with members of Basi Mwangaza who are based at Kilifi in Mombasa.

SUDIC in its mission of achieving a natural environment had all along thought of having its own garden where indigenous species of plants could be raised. A piece of land was selected and prepared for the growing of indigenous vegetables and the other for growth of indigenous trees. Five different indigenous vegetable species namely: Amaranthus (commonly known as terere), Clotolaria (commonly known as mitoo), Jews mallow (commonly known as mrenda), spider plant (commonly known as saga) and black nightshade (commonly known as managu) were planted in nursery beds using various types of fertilizer. The USIU community has supported us by buying the vegetables that we have planted.

The Garden and Green House are used for learning purposes for some of the course offered on campus, for example showing nitrogen fixation in plants, a section of the garden is under treatment and the results are used to present papers on different conferences and lastly we sell the vegetables.

In the process of ensuring a clean environment for all, SUDIC has come up with a way in which garbage can be well managed. The project informs the USIU community on the importance of reusing and recycling. These practices help keep the environment clean and healthy thereby reducing production of harmful waste and greenhouse gases that cause global warming. It is in this spirit that on the 24th of July 2012, SUDIC commissioned thirteen bins that will ensure easier separation of waste within campus. The SUDIC waste bins were commissioned on 24th July 2012 by Dr. Willie Butler. In attendance during the commissioning were Prof. Matthew Buyu (DVC-AA), Dr. Willie Butler (DVC-IPPIA), Prof. James Kahindi (Associate DVC-AA), Prof. Maina Muniafu (Founding Director SUDIC), representatives from the Public Relations department, Agribusiness, ENSO club, the rugby fraternity, students and the entire SUDIC team.

Part of our focus in SUDIC, is to encourage innovative and progressive individuals in areas of sustainable development. It is with this mind that we collect old newspapers and waste paper from USIU Offices. This helps reduce wastage, create space that could be put to better use and to have paperless offices. We are just a phone call away on campus. You can call us on 020 360 6000 on extension 551. We simply pick, sort and deliver at Chandaria Industries and what cannot be recycled is taken to the university’s smokeless incinerator which is located next to the volleyball pitch

When you approach USIU premises on can’t help but notice that the university has very many beautiful trees that are well kept. SUDIC has been able to name all the trees. This taskful assignment is carried out by carrying out research to give accurate and reliable information. We now know what kind of trees we have and their value (beauty, firewood, medicinal value, raw materials and for making furniture.)

Currently we have a few five volunteers who are working in SUDIC. They get work experience and we prepare them for the outside world, they get to carryout research first hand as they go out in the field, we empower students by showing them how to write proposals, we encourage them to work as team, keep time and be confident. Some of the SUDIC “alumni” volunteers are Ms. Faith Ochieng’ and Mr. Bryan Lukano.

What is the procedure? Simply pass by the SUDIC office which is located between classroom E and F for more details.

Knowledge of resources especially plants with medicinal value has been in existence in Kenya’s local societies for ages. Some of the locally grown include; Waburgia ugandensis and Azadirachta indica (Neem Tree: locally known as mwarubaini). Some of the important components SUDIC has been undertaking include: training of locals and project participants, capacity building which would include setting up of an extraction and packaging center at a suitable site, extraction and packaging of the natural plant products and marketing strategies for the medicinal products. The following are some of the project activities;

  1. Field work: which involves going out and identifying indigenous trees and collecting their leaves, roots, flowers and any other specimens that could prove to be relevant.
  2. Lab work: the specimens collected in the field are taken to the lab for a series of processes to try and isolate useful compounds.
  3. Analysis: Results from the lab are analyzed and forwarded for further consideration by relevant authorities.
  4. Documentation: During the whole process photos, videos, short notes are taken in order to keep records and for reference.
  5. Report writing: At the end of it all, a comprehensive report of all the above is developed.

Participants of all these projects are researchers and traditional practitioners who are in are either involved in field work specifically in Kerio Valley and Kilifi collecting specimens or doing lab work carrying out the analysis of the plants. The local community was involved in identifying the uses that they have for the plants. The benefit to the communities we work with are numerous but they include the following;

  1. Improved earnings for locals.
  2. Conservation of valuable indigenous plants
  3. Conservation of forest and natural habitat areas
  4. Capacity building for locals and institutions in utilizing local medicinal resources
  5. Archives of medicinal plants and information dissemination of working with the communities

Once the specimen is in the lab, the team carries out tests to find out if it could be having any medicinal value, if they could be used to get oils or if the extracts could be used to produce pesticides. SUDIC is positive that this will help us by being dependent on our natural plants for basic oils, pesticides, medicines and any other value that the plants could be having, instead of us depending on artificial and processed items for use in our daily lives

Frequently Asked Questions

SUDIC is an acronym for Sustainable Development Initiative Centre.

Sustainable development is defined as development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

SUDIC was started in 2005 as an initiative of some faculty in the School of Arts and Sciences. It was started mainly to provide the much-needed impetus for research, knowledge, awareness and solutions to sustainable development in Eastern African communities.

The SUDIC vision is Innovation and excellence in sustainable development in East Africa, while its mission is to promote the diffusion of principles of sustainable development within institutions and communities within the region. The main goal of SUDIC is to develop partnerships, networking and capacity for the attainment of economic and social development, and environmental protection.

SUDIC has five major research program areas each headed by an Associate Director. These program areas are; Innovative Waste Management Strategies; Sustainable Management of Natural Resources; Economic Development and Environmental Management; Technologies for Sustainable Development; and Modeling and planning of Sustainable Cities.

This is a long term plan for the centre. At the moment there are no internship opportunities.

There are specific courses in both the Environmental Studies and Natural Science programs explored in a wider context in the centres program. The centre provides the practical and implementation part of this courses. Through SUDIC, students and the lecturers are able to apply
their classroom knowledge on the relevant projects being undertaken by SUDIC. The centre also accords students opportunities to participate in conferences, meetings and other partnership and networking initiatives. Research Assistants/ Graduate students have a greater opportunity of
working with the centre in its research programs. Students clubs, such as ENSO, also stand a greater chance of exploring the limitless research prospects provided by SUDIC. There is no doubt that the pharmacy program that is underway will also require research in medicinal plants. SUDIC has carried out two preliminary surveys which have been used to support a pharmacy program proposal. In general, SUDIC acts as a research resource centre for other departments in the university.

SUDIC benefits the university in many ways including:

  • Increased consultancies within the university to the students from all faculties in terms of appropriateness and advances in areas of sustainable development as well as thesis writing.
  • The centre provides advisory services to other centres in the university on aspects of environmental and sustainable development.
  • It provides technical advice to the relevant institutions, companies and organizations.
  • Development of specialized projects for clients.
  • Ensure enhanced partnerships with the public and private sectors.
  • Carry out specialized in new areas of sustainable development thereby, generating new and sufficient information for furtherance of sustainable development agenda.

One has to fill and sent back an application form at the centre after which a formal communication is sent.

Contact SUDIC

Max Maina Muniafu, PhD

Founding Director

Sustainable Development Initiative Centre, SUDIC
United States International University, USIU
P.O BOX 14634 - 00800
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: +254 20 360 6551/207
Fax: +254 20 360 6100
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