The Faculty of Agriculture was honored to host Dr Susan Wyche from Michigan State University (MSU) for a one-week visit to Egerton University that ran from 1 to 8 March 2022. Dr. Susan held a public lecture for staff and held a 3-day training workshop on “Considering Human-Centered Design (HCD) in Development Research” to students from diverse backgrounds including in Computer science, Agronomy and Engineering disciplines at CMRT building, Njoro Main Campus. The students developed and designed 6 project prototypes which include: Innovative and Efficient Water harvesting and treatment for communities, Utilization of solar energy in drying and preservation of indigenous vegetables, Development of a drone for scaring Quelea qualea birds in rice irrigation schemes in Kenya, Queen bee rearing technology for increasing colonization of hives in drylands, Innovative technology for waste management in peri-urban areas to improve human health among others. Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs Prof Bernard Aduda commented the students for excellent ideas which can be deployed to solve farmers and societal problems in Kenya and promised to support. He also thanked the organizers of the training, Prof Susan for supporting student projects with USD 1400 as seed money for the projects and MSU for strong collaboration with Egerton University in all areas including joint projects, staff exchange and postgraduate supervision and value chain and policy analysis with Tegemeo Institute of Egerton University.
Dr Wyche’s main objective through the public lecture and workshop was to give insights on solving real community problems using the human centered design (HCD) approach. She gave an example of her project ‘redesigning agricultural hand tools for small holder farmers in Western Kenya. Lecturers and scientists from Egerton also shared opportunities they can collaborate with MSU in agronomy, breeding and crop protection, agricultural mechanization, clean energy, agribusiness and ICT and computer applications and community development .
Before her workshop on 1 March, Dr Wyche paid a courtesy call to the Vice-Chancellor Prof Isaac Kibwage. She was accompanied by Prof. Patience Mshenga, Dean Faculty of Agriculture Prof. Paul Kimurto Director, Marketing and Resource Mobilization and Dr Miriam Charimbu, a researcher from the Department of Crops, Horticulture and Soils. Dr Charimbu doing her postdoctoral research at MSU within the Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) and is mentored by Dr Wyche and Prof. Kimurto. Prof. Alexander Kahi who is the focal person for AAP at Egerton University also hosted the team at CoELIB Centre.
Egerton University is part of the Alliance for African Partnership, a consortium of MSU, ten leading African universities, and a distinguished network for African research institutes. The AAP Consortium is currently composed of ten member institutions: Michigan State University and eleven African institutions. Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) (Malawi), Makerere University (Uganda); L’université des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines de Bamako (ULSHB) (Mali), United States International University (USIU) (Kenya); University of Botswana, University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania); University of Pretoria, l’Université Cheikh Anta DIOP de Dakar (UCAD) (Senegal) and University of Nigeria, Nsukka (Nigeria).
The vice chancellor and university management board wishes to than Prof Susan Wyche and MSU community for strong collaboration and supporting Egerton University staff and students in various engagements.