Integrated research field course in Kenya: 4 AMU researchers partake

The second edition of two-week long integrated research field course was held at University of Eldoret in Kenya from 14th to 24th November, 2018. Around 52 Master students that include 20 from host Kenya, 20 of KU Leuven, Belgium and 12 ETH Zurich, Switzerland partook in it. Click here to see the picture

 

In this edition of globalized field course, Kenya has had 11 resource persons including four from AMU, Research and Community Vice President and the promoter of this project, Dr Simon Shibru, Dr Zenebe Makonen, Mr Amanuel Shewa and Dr Dereje Tsegaye. Kenya had three, ETH Zurich 2 and KU Leuven 6 resource persons.

At the outset, Dr Simon presented the report of previous field work hosted at AMU. He said, this time, number of programs and students have been increased. Sharing his observation, he adds, the field work is same, but the difference between them and us, I have noticed that we are practicing in different agro-ecology that includes low, high and mid-land, whereas Kenya has plain land, from logistic points of view it might be better, but in terms of practice ours is the best.

He informed in 2019, when we host next edition of this program, we will maintain ecological heterogeneity and teams will be divided accordingly. We have banana belt with maize; in mid and highland we have mixed Enset-based agro-ecosystem, it will help students to know the dynamics of our heterogeneous agro-ecology spread all across.

He said, this project won’t have second phase because the idea is to learn and take it forward; it’s all about sharing knowledge & experiences, networking and knowing respective communities. This is the window from where we must get our things globalized without seeking assistance from outside.

The sole idea behind this project is to support students how they practice in the class or emphasize more on practical aspect. He said AMU may introduce and integrate such practical courses in agriculture, business & economics, social science & humanities, irrigation engineering, biology, etc. We are about to revise curriculums so that such courses will be integrated; wherein students would choose them in the second year of first semester, he revealed.

He said adding, the agro-ecological system in Kenya is different from Ethiopia; the good thing is that in Rift Valley we have moisture stress and temperature is high. They practice sprinkler irrigation to enhance crop production; stream, river, and other sources while there is need to upgrade ourselves.

The land policy over there is different; it belongs to people and they can do whatever they like. University of Eldoret has sprawling campus of 1000 hectares of land while ours is just 200 hectares. The condition of farmers is better for they grow everything under the sun, he quipped.

AMU researchers, Dr Dereje Tsagaye and Mr Amanuel Shewa had joined the field course from 11th to 18th November, 2018, at Bungoma district, Kenya and being part of it, Dr Dereje in particular exemplified the soil profile of that district to the students. He also gave insight into how the livelihood of community looks like and how could it be after improving natural resources i.e. soil and biodiversity. When you have fertile soil you can have goods productivity that will ensure food security and strengthen livelihood, he added.

He said it’s always good to share experiences and knowledge with your partners. It was an eye-opening kind of interaction where we came to know that Kenya has midland while our agro-ecology is altogether different; their soil is more fertile and in some cases acidic soil needs some management as well.

Amanuel Shewa, relating his experience said he dealt into rural development and socio-economic aspect while Dr Zenebe Mekonen made agronomy component easier for students. It was learnt that in 2019, AMU will be hosting the second edition of international program at AMU.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)