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KEMRI Schools Engagement Programme Activities in North Rift Sport Camps

Celebrating small wins cutting the cake from left Madam Jane Melly teacher at Ndurio secondary school and madam Chaperon at the Ndurio sports academy, Physiotherapist at the Ndurio sports academy, Coach (middle distance runner and former world champion), Hosea Sanga (Chairperson of Nandi Athletics Kenya) and Dr. Elizabeth Matey of KEMRI SEP

The KEMRI Graduate School engaged the public in a corporate social responsibility activity in a bid to create awareness of the School engagement Program (SEP) activities in Kapsabet Nandi County.

The last week of April was a bee-hive of activities in the North rift town, as the KGS team armed with branded KEMRI merchandise participated in the inter camps competitions for track athletes under 20 years that took place at the Eliud Kipchoge complex Kapsabet. This activity was under the SEP activities run by the KGS.

KEMRI SEP partnered with Ndurio secondary school in North rift, elite athletes Geofrey Lel and Coaches initiated the Ndurio sports academy which has been running for 3 weeks during the April school holidays.

SEP is a scale up of the program initiated in Kilifi in the early 2000s. This program supports students from various school in academic and social programs. School engagement in research activities is a novel key component of the community engagement strategy by health research institutions. Previously communities have been engaged by research scientists using consent/assent documents; the use of media to promote public awareness of research activities, consultative meetings, and feedback sessions with communities, and through culturally sensitive ways.

SEP benefits both the community and researchers by raising a mutual understanding between researchers and community members and sparking interest in the young to pursue STEM courses/careers. The researchers benefit through strengthened ties with the community which give them a better understanding of the context of their work and more of a sense of being part of the community while the students develop confidence in speaking to researchers thus laying a foundation for future interactions, nurture their interest in science, and raises their educational aspirations and consequently performance.

SEP activities among the young athlete’s population is motivated by the launch of the KEMRI Sport Science Research Centre. Athletes’ sports academies in schools enrol and host school with talent in athletics during the school holiday seasons. In the camps, the athletes are provided with inspirational locations, experts coaching and a supportive group environment for talent development.

In the just concluded inter camps competitions for track athletes under 20 years that took place at the Eliud Kipchoge complex Kapsabet, Ndurio sports academy emerged position three out of seven. KEMRI SEP invites any scientist or research programs with interest in the benefits of the school engagement activities and would wish to benefit from the same.

SEP Activities

The program is still in the teething period, but once established the program will be involved in:

  1. Primary schools’ science clubs where schools are supported to establish in-school science clubs supported by scientist visits and support material development, science modelling competitions.
  2. High school students visit to KEMRI laboratories and exhibitions visits for interactive/practical activities and discussions with scientists.
  3. Fully resourced modules of work, linked to the school science curriculum, taught in school, and supported by a hands-on practical activity day at separate purpose-built educational facility.
  4. Scientists’ visits to schools to give health, career, and motivational talks to high school students. They could use virtual videos, comics, and storytelling to stimulate dialogue and learning.
  5. On-line engagement on a platform called “I’m a scientist, get me out of here” where students can ask questions and chat to scientists through text over two-week events.
  6. Young people advisory groups (YPAGs) which will involve regular meetings with a group of 10–20 young people to facilitate discussion into practical and ethical aspects of research.
  7. High school graduate open days for students to get information and hands-on experience that shape their career choice, University placement, opportunities for funding and further education, and pertinent and contemporary issues that influence career advancement.
Ndurio sports camp participants
Dr. Matey of KEMRI KGS, Janeth Jepkosgei (middle distance runner and former world champion), Fridah Chepngeno (of KEMRI Sport Science Centre) and Dr. Mutai of KEMRI CPHR
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