Three Masters students from Mount Kenya University have won an international grant to distribute solar- powered lanterns to families in Kiandutu slums in Thika.
The COV-AID Graduate Student Mini-Grants by the Talloires Network of Engaged Universities and the Open Society University Network, will also enable students Rose Macharia, Nelly Kayanda and Daniel Kiriti distribute the lamps to kiosks, informal roadside stalls, community service points (such as bathrooms, toilets, and water points), and to security officers.
Macharia an Information Technology student, Kayanda a counselling psychology student and Kiriti a Governance and Ethics student will receive a grant of USD$ 2,500.
Kiandutu, is largest informal settlement in Thika and has a population of about 30,000 people. “Our initial target is 200 homesteads. But we aim to scale it up in due course,” Macharia said.
Through this grant, the MKU community will also offer mentorship to the youth in the slum. “We will focus on political and social radicalization, drugs and substance abuse, as well as career growth and opportunities,” Kaynda said.
The call for applications for the COV-AID Graduate Student Mini-Grants attracted over 100 applications from universities worldwide. The three MKU students are among six other proposals that emerged victorious in what Talloires Network said was an extremely competitive process.
The Talloires Network grants programme is designed to recognize outstanding commitment to civic engagement by university students during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
Last July, MKU won the 2020 Talloires Network Innovative Civic Engagement Award for distributing 10,000 water backpacks. The backpacks provide an easy-to-carry water method to people in arid and semi-arid areas.
The university’s CSR projects in Marsabit and Kilifi counties have also helped fight the jigger menace with more than 5,000 school-going pupils benefiting.
Meanwhile, MKU will install South African Professor Deogratius Jaganyi as its Vice Chancellor on Friday. Jaganyi will replace long serving MKU pioneer VC, Prof. Stanley Waudo.