The partnership between the University of Nairobi and Elgon Kenya Ltd is already bearing fruit. Today, 6th April 2022, the first cohort of 20 interns from the Faculty of Agriculture was flagged off by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi, Prof. Kiama Gitahi, and the CEO of Elgon Kenya Ltd Dr. Bimal Kantaria together with the PS Treasury, Dr. Julius Muia.
Also present during the ceremony were the Permanent Secretary, Finance Mr. Julius Muia, Senior advisor at the Office of the President, Mrs. Ruth Kagia, the CEO, British Chamber of Commerce Kenya, and Ms. Farida Abbas among others.
The graduate internship has been mounted in pursuit of one of the key pillars of the Agricultural Technology and Innovation Centre (ATIC) that aims at bridging the gap between academia and the industry. The 20 interns who were competitively recruited hail from 13 different counties in Kenya including Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Trans-Nzoia, Nandi, Homa Bay, Siaya, Vihiga, Kericho, Nakuru, Kiambu, Nairobi, Murang’a, and Nyeri. The interns were presented to the VC, the CEO Elgon-Kenya, and the guests by Prof. John Kimenju, the chairman of the ATIC committee.
In his remarks, Prof. Kimenju indicated that the program seeks to empower the interns with the knowledge, skills, and competencies required to make them street-smart graduates. This will be achieved through hands-on experiences in a real work setting, mentorship, and coaching by experts from the industry and academia.
In his remark, Prof Kiama and Dr. Bimal emphasized the importance of partnership between academia and the industry to ensure that knowledge and research products generated by universities are converted into commercial products for societal good while generating income for the University. Prof. Kiama indicated that the University of Nairobi has adopted the Hub and Spoke model whereby the University serves as the hub where knowledge and products are generated for absorption by the spokes who are the users of the products.
On his part, PS Dr. Muia challenged the academia to move away from the ‘publish or perish’ motto embraced for academic survival to a more progressive ‘publish, patent and prosper’ motto as they move out of the ivory towers.
After a one-week orientation session at Elgon-Kenya, most of the interns will be deployed to work in Counties of their choice for 6 months. The Elgon Kenya management has graciously offered to pay the interns a modest stipend for their upkeep.
The internship program is just one of the objectives of the partnership this will also see the establishment of a state-of-the-art Agricultural Technology and Innovation Center (ATIC) at the Upper Kabete Campus. The plans for the center are at an advanced stage with the ground-breaking ceremony scheduled for later this month (April) or early May.
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