Egerton University Host Leadership and Entrepreneurship Trainings in a Joint Orientation of Newly Recruited TAGDev Supported Students
Egerton University, Kenya, in partnership with the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) and Gulu University in Uganda, through the support from MasterCard Foundation, is implementing a Program titled “Transforming African Agricultural Universities to meaningfully contribute to Africa’s Growth and Development (TAGDev)”. The eight years (2016-2024) program provides scholarships to students from across Africa, focusing on training competent and highly skilled African youth, developing the capacity of African universities to train and nurture graduates with relevant skills effectively. The Program has offered full scholarships to 122 students (55 undergraduates and 67 postgraduates) at Egerton University. The Program has also offered partial support to 59 students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level within the university. Students are drawn from Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Nigeria, Benin, Lesotho, Rwanda, Cameroon, Liberia and Zimbabwe. TAGDev program aims at transforming students into innovative leaders who will catalyze Africa’s growth and development.
The program coordinator, Prof. Nancy W. Mungai stated TAGDev objectives of facilitating students’ transitions to livelihoods with a special focus on career fairs, internships and entrepreneurship. TAGDev program is piloting a new agricultural education model that focuses on experiential learning, community engagement, and entrepreneurship to produce change agents in society. To achieve these objectives, newly recruited students from Egerton and Gulu Universities are taken through a joint orientation programme to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills in different areas important for their personal and career transformation. The joint orientation of cohort five newly recruited students was held from 18 to 23 October 2021 at ARC Hotel, Egerton University, focusing on leadership and entrepreneurship trainings. Seventy-two (72) students participated in the training.
The Vice-Chancellor Egerton University, Professor Isaac Kibwage, on 18 October 2021 at ARC Hotel Egerton University officially opened the event. The acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Extension), Prof. Bockline Bebe and acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Affairs Prof. Micah Chepchieng, graced the event. Also present were the Principal Nakuru Town Campus College Prof. Joshua Ogendo, Dean, Faculty of Agriculture Prof. Patience Mshenga, Dean Faculty of Environment and Resources Development, Prof. Wilkister Moturi, Director International Linkages & Career Services Prof. Charles M’Erimba, acting Director Board of Undergraduate Studies & Field Attachment Programme, Dr Geoffrey Ong’ondo, acting Director, University Welfare Services Dr. Fr Gerishon Njuguna and Deputy Director Board of Postgraduate Studies Prof. Samuel Nyalala.
Also presents were Departmental Chairpersons from various the Faculty of Agriculture. These were Prof. Hillary Bett (Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management), Prof. Mary Omwamba (Dairy and Food Science and Technology) and Prof. James Ondiek (Animal Sciences).
In his welcoming remarks, Vice-Chancellor Prof. Kibwage appreciated TAGDev program for remaining focused on the individual, institutional and community transformation. He encouraged students to take the orientation training seriously as it lays a good foundation for their academic and career journey as change agents. Prof. Kibwage urged them to manage their time well to ensure they complete their postgraduate studies within two years. Students also had an opportunity to understand RUFORUM and its mandate as elaborated to them by Dr Sylvanus Mensah, the Recruitment and Training Officer at RUFORUM secretariat. He noted that RUFORUM is keen to provide a platform that promotes quality graduate training to develop Africa and that the TAGDev Program is anchored towards achieving this objective. The students were enlightened on their roles and responsibilities to encourage them to be focused and set their goals and priorities right to complete their studies within the stipulated timeframe. Prof. Joshua Ogendo also provided an overview of qualitative and quantitative research methods in agriculture to help them brainstorm on approaches for their research projects.
The leadership training was an interactive session and focused on the seven habits of highly effective people. The seven habits include; being proactive, beginning with the end in mind, putting first things first, thinking win-win, seeking first to understand then to be understood, synergizing and sharpening the saw. This allowed them to understand the framework for effectiveness that ensures moving from dependence to interdependence. The students had an opportunity to assess their paradigms, be guided on effectiveness principles, and clearly state their personal mission statements. Concerning time management, they were taken through the time matrix that defines urgent, important, not urgent and not important day to day activities.
The entrepreneurship training was facilitated by Enterprise Uganda and actively engaged students in business conceptualization and critical thinking. They were trained on developing entrepreneurial mindsets, financial literacy and management as well as financial independence. They were involved in group work to enhance their critical thinking on coming up with viable business and pitching of the same. Further, they were guided on how to make their investments from the different sources of income other than being moved by financial temperature that may influence their priorities. They appreciated the pathway to financial independence.
TAGDev program at Egerton University acknowledges the partner institutions, namely RUFORUM, Mastercard Foundation and Gulu University, for the continued support in preparing students as they start their academic journey to be innovative in providing solutions to the challenges facing agriculture in Sub Saharan Africa.