PS Nduva Commends Egerton University For Gender-Responsive Courses And Fostering A Conducive Learning Environment
In a visit to Egerton University, Principal Secretary for Gender and Affirmative Action Ms. Nduva has commended the institution for offering a Gender course that is responsive to the current needs of Kenyan society. She expressed her happiness and satisfaction with the curriculum at Egerton University and its potential impact on the country's Gender policy and documentation.
Principal Secretary for Gender and Affirmative Action Veronica M. Nduva and Vice-Chancellor Professor Isaac Kibwage accompanied by Paul Muraya, Secretary of Administration in the Ministry, Mutuku Mwanga, Director of Administration, and Irene Galgalo, the Head of Communication planting trees during a courtesy call.
“I am happy with the Gender curriculum at Egerton University, it is good for the country even as the state department is working on reviewing the Gender policy and documentation,” said PS Nduva when she paid a courtesy call to Egerton University Vice-Chancellor Professor Isaac Kibwage.
Ms. Nduva was accompanied by Paul Muraya, Secretary of Administration in the Ministry, Mutuku Mwanga, Director of Administration, and Irene Galgalo, the Head of Communication. During their visit, the Principal Secretary expressed her appreciation for the conducive learning environment and tourism potential of Egerton University. She noted the serene atmosphere, lush greenery, and welcoming nature of the institution. She also shared that her elder brother was an alumnus of Egerton University from the class of 1995.
The PS also mentioned her recent visit to Lord Egerton Castle, a site with significant potential for tourism and conference facilities in the region. She praised its calm and inviting atmosphere, which led her to choose Egerton University's ARC Hotel as the location for their retreat while developing critical policies to mainstream the Gender department in the country.
Responding to the compliments, Vice-Chancellor Professor Kibwage acknowledged that the University is in the process of formalizing the Title deed for Lord Egerton Castle. He noted that investing in the land without a proper Title deed in the name of the University is challenging.
Data-driven policy frameworks and research
The PS encouraged the University to find collaboration areas in research, especially in areas that the ministry is currently handling. “We represent the country in many international fora for areas that require a lot of research and policy analysis that can take place at the University like this,” she said. She also highlighted some policies like the Time use Policy and Unpaid work policy as grey areas that need to be addressed. The PS noted that data-driven policy frameworks and research that is multi-pronged will be essential. “I rather we focus more on the qualitative part of data than the quantitative so that that we make informed and specific decisions,” PS Nduva pointed out.
According to the PS, Gender is often viewed through frames that are not economical for women. She cited the example of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), which is creeping back as a way to push back women. She expressed her concerns about the current FGM renaissance, even though data shows that it had reduced from 22% to 14%. She added that the National policy on Gender-based Violence is in place.
“The thinking of the ministry in policy framework is good, and we are sure it shall cascade so that it is institutionalized in our teaching and management. We are compliant in terms of gender mainstreaming,” said Professor Kibwage.
Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies
During the visit, the PS was given a copy of the Curriculum used at the University’s Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies. The Institute was established in 1991 as the Centre for Women Studies and Gender Analysis to address the issues that interfered with the pursuit of academic excellence among female students in the campus.
She was told that the Centre was formally launched in May 1992 and placed under the authority of an advisory committee comprising representatives from students, the senate, and various faculties. Egerton University later approved the Centre to carry out research, training, and outreach programs under the Division of Research and Extension. Later the Institute was upgraded to the Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies with a full mandate to offer academic programs in Gender and Development Studies in addition to its earlier mandate. After this upgrade, it was placed under the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Academics Affairs.
To conclude the courtesy call, the PS joined Vice-Chancellor Professor Kibwage in planting trees at the University farm, symbolizing the commitment of the Ministry of Gender and Affirmative Action to promote a sustainable environment and support the Presidential Initiative to reach 15 billion tree cover in Kenya.
A total of 250 trees were planted and the University even allocated an acre of land to the Ministry for future tree planting in line with the Presidential Initiative to increase Kenya's tree cover to 15 billion.
The one-acre piece of land set aside for tree planting by Prof Kibwage to the PS Gender and affirmative action, Ms Veronica Nduva, has earned the name "Gender Acre." This name stems from the Adopt a Forest initiative, which is part of the Mau Ecosystem Conservation efforts. The Gender Acre initiative seeks to promote gender equality by empowering women to participate in conservation efforts actively. Through this initiative, women are given an opportunity to contribute to the conservation of the environment, which is critical for the survival of future generations. By planting trees on the Gender Acre, Ms Nduva is demonstrating her commitment to gender equality and environmental conservation
The Vice-Chancellor designated this acre as the "Gender Acre," encouraging the Ministry to plant and replace any trees that may dry up while also suggesting the use of GPS monitoring to track the growth of the "Gender forest." The PS was impressed by this gesture and promised that the entire Ministry, led by the CS Gender and Affirmative Action, would return to Egerton University to plant more trees.
The PS expressed her satisfaction with the visit and the fruitful discussions held with the University management, highlighting the importance of collaboration between the Ministry and the academic institution in promoting gender equality and mainstreaming gender issues in policies and programs.
"I am impressed with the efforts and initiatives that Egerton University has taken to advance the cause of gender equality through the Institute of Women, Gender, and Development Studies. I believe that through our partnership, we can achieve more and make a significant impact in addressing the challenges that women and girls face in Kenya," she said.
The Vice-Chancellor, on his part, expressed his gratitude to the Ministry for the visit and the support given to the University. He assured the PS that Egerton University is committed to promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls through its various programs and initiatives.
"We are honored to receive the Principal Secretary for Gender and Affirmative Action and her team, and we appreciate the support that the Ministry has given to our University over the years. We believe that through our partnership, we can contribute to the development of the country and promote a just and equitable society," he said.During the visit, the act of planting trees was carried out to emphasize the significance of environmental conservation and the vital role that academic institutions, such as the University, play in promoting sustainable development.
Accompanying the University's Vice-Chancellor were various senior officials, including Professor Benard Aduda, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Professor Mwanarusi Saidi, the Registrar of Academic Affairs, Professor Paul Kimurto, the Director of Marketing and Resource Mobilization, Professor Charles Merimba, the Director of the Directorate of International Linkages and Programmes and Professor Nancy Mungai, the Director of Research and Extension. Also, in attendance were Prof Robert Gesimba, the Director of ARC Hotel, Beth Arungo, the Secretary in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, Rose Asiko, the Secretary to the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Administration Planning and Development, and Agnes Mwangi, the Manager of Marketing and Communications, Thomas Ruto, Manager Egerton ARC Hotel.
The visit by the PS and her team to Egerton University was a significant step in promoting gender equality and mainstreaming gender issues in policies and programs. The collaboration between the Ministry of Gender and Affirmative Action and Egerton University will undoubtedly contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and building a better future for women and girls in Kenya.
By Kurian Musa