n Wednesday, January 24, Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza led a USIU-Africa delegation to a meeting with H.E. Mr. Kwon Young Dae, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Kenya, at the Korean embassy in Nairobi, to explore a partnership between USIU-Africa and the embassy given its potential to effect positive change in society.

The agenda of the meeting was to create and foster strong collaborations with the embassy in the following areas: Faculty Development; Faculty and Student Exchanges; Development of STEM Disciplines; Student Recruitment; Establishment of a Research Park; Resources for Equipment and Infrastructure; and Unrestricted Funding for Development.

While both parties are poised to be enriched with knowledge on language and culture as a result of collaboration, USIU-Africa students would benefit by receiving scholarships, internships and placements based on linkages with the embassy, while our faculty would gain access to training programs offered by Korean agencies, and finally both parties would benefit from the language institute as well as research collaborations.

Accompanying Prof. Zeleza were Amb. Prof. Ruthie Rono (DVC - Academic & Student Affairs), Mr. James Ogolla (Director of University Advancement) Dr. Paul Okanda (Director of ICT), Prof. Munyae Mulinge (Associate DVC – Academic Affairs), Prof. Njeri Wamae (Dean - School of Pharmacy & Health Sciences), Dr. Michael Kihara (Ag. Associate Dean ­ School of Humanities & Social Sciences), Dr. Elijah Munyi (Assistant Professor of International Relations), Dr. Naom Nyarigoti (Assistant Professor of Pharmacy), Ms. Carren Jumba and Ms. Joanne Alividza of the Office of Fundraising. 

One immediate benefit accruing from the meeting was the visit on Wednesday, January 31, by Handong Global University (HGU), which was facilitated by the Korean embassy.
Information Systems and Technology (IST) and Applied Computer Technology (APT) seniors and recent graduates from USIU-Africa and other universities around Africa, will soon have an opportunity to join a 6-month skill development program. The program - dubbed AppFactory - is a collaboration between the School of Science and Technology (SST) and Microsoft Skills4Afrika, and will be officially launched this coming Wednesday, February 7 at the Incubation and Innovation Center.

The AppFactory is designed to be an engine for development of skilled talents, capable of responding industry needs and effectively contributing to the regional entrepreneurship ecosystem. The program is also expected to serve as a research and development lab for developing innovative ICT projects, and forming part of the digital transformation program for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The Skills4Afrika Initiative is Microsoft’s business and market development engine in Africa launched in 2013, which aims to unlock and accelerate Africa’s potential as well as create technology not only for the continent, but for the world. The initiative focuses on world-class skills, access and innovation to empower people to turn great ideas into a reality, enhance livelihoods and accelerate Africa’s digital transformation.

The School of Science and Technology intends to use the program to further prepare for, and link its Information Systems and Technology (IST) and Applied Computer Technology students with industry, as well as increase their employability, by giving them the skills to break down business problems and design solutions for industry partners using cutting edge technology.
On February, 1 2018, 25 executive members of the Alumni community attended a forum held at the IBM Innovation Center, and organized by African Process and Performance Institute (APPI) in partnership with USIU-Africa’s Chandaria School of Business and the Office of Alumni Relations.

The event aimed at empowering executives to embrace smart processes in their businesses as well as adopt design thinking. Design thinking is a proven and repeatable problem-solving protocol that any business can employ to achieve extraordinary results.

In his welcome remarks, Prof. Peter Lewa (Professor of Management Dean - Chandaria School of Business), mentioned that the partnership with APPI will enable USIU-Africa produce individuals that are well equipped for the work environment. Through his presentation, Mr. Humphrey Odhiambo, Editor CIO East Africa, encouraged the participants to identify gaps between their strategies and execution, problems driving them and come up with ways of bridging them.

APPI Managing Director, Mr. Emeka Okonkwo, urged the audience to embrace Consistent, Responsive, Efficient, Profitable, Effective and Sustainable (CREPES) thinking, while Mr. Silas Macharia from IBM, through his presentation reiterated that design and process thinking is very vital for any business.

The African Process and Performance Institute (APPI) program is uniquely designed to develop and enable the next generation of Africa leaders to be driven by performance results.

This career-focused program is tailored to prepare and empower governments, businesses, and organizations across Africa with cutting-edge skills and knowledge in Business Process Management (BPM) and Performance Analytics to make better decisions and thus achieve stated goals.
Members of the Educate Your Own (EYO) student initiative, are inviting applications for the award of three scholarship grants each worth KES 25,000, for the Spring 2018 Semester, to students who meet the selection criteria. Those who wish to be considered for the award are advised to apply through the Office of Financial Aid by Friday, February 9, 2018.

The student-led initiative is seeking to reduce the number of student who fail to complete their education at USIU-Africa due to financial difficulty. The latest round of scholarship grants, will raise the total number of beneficiaries from the scholarship fund since its inception in 2016 to 17.

Meanwhile, EYO’s Project Finje has commenced collecting micro donations as part of their semester-long fundraising activities. The project, which derives its name from the ‘sheng’ word for KES 50 successfully mobilized significant funds during the 2016-17 financial year.
As part of USIU-Africa’s move to become paperless, as well as seek innovative solutions that will enhance efficiency and effectiveness, the Division of Information Communication and Technology, Legal Services and Finance divisions, together with Coseke Ltd trained members of staff on how to use the new Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) on Friday, January 26.

EDMS is a software system that provides a comprehensive solution for managing the creation, capture, indexing, storage, retrieval, and disposition of records and information assets of an organization.

The EDMS system which will be up and running from March 1, 2018, seeks to streamline, improve and simplify the University’s procurement process by placing it onto an online platform, where users will be able get email alerts once the procurement process is initiated, when digital signatures are appended at various approval stages, and LPO reference links are updated, to inform the client, that the vendor is already working to deliver the goods or services.

In addition, the system will also digitalize the contract renewal and policy management processes, in which client departments will receive alerts when a contract or a policy is due to expire or at the beginning of the contract or policy renewal process, digital signatures appended at various approval stages and downloadable reports on the status of the contract or the policy.
Dr. Kioko Ireri, Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication together with four MA in Communication Studies students have published a research paper in the current issue of African Journalism Studies (AJS) - Africa’s leading journal in the field of journalism and mass communication, with the current impact factor of 0.171

Dr. Ireri, together with Mr. Eannes Ongus, Ms. Edna Laboso, Ms. Kangai Mwiti and Mr. Jared Onsongo  authored the article titled, “First-Level Agenda Setting: A Study of Press vs. Public Opinion in Kenya” which examined media agenda-setting effects in a Kenyan context in 2013 and 2014.

Focusing on the first-level agenda-setting, the study investigates whether two national daily newspapers (Daily Nation and The Standard) influenced public opinion on six issues of national importance: corruption, devolution, economic crisis, insecurity, poverty, and unemployment. Moreover, the study examined whether the newspapers’ agendas were related in connection to the coverage of the six issues.

Findings indicated that the two newspapers had little influence on the opinion of the Kenyan public regarding the six issues. This was based on a low correlation of +.30 between the two newspapers’ agendas and the public agenda. However, the agendas of the two publications were strikingly similar—yielding a perfect correlation of +1. This means in their news coverage, the newspapers gave similar weight to the six issues, which however didn’t resonate with Kenyans’ opinions.

An earlier version of the paper was presented at the third East African Multidisciplinary Annual Research Conference (EAMARC) held in USIU-Africa, from November 18-20, 2016.
Thursday, February 1 marked the official launch of this year’s Black History Month celebration at a ceremony attended by former Minister in the South Sudanese government Hon. Mabior Garang’ de Mabior, former Somali Minister of Finance and Treasury Mr. Hussein Abdi Halane, and their host Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza.

The Black History Month is an international observance that started in the United States of America, with the aim of promoting self-actualization in African-American communities and share with the world the rich cultural background and achievements of black people.

At USIU-Africa, the Black History Month offers an opportunity for students, members of faculty, staff and community partners to gather and discuss the achievements and challenges affecting African communities on the continent and in the diaspora. This celebration is observed every year during the month of February.

This year’s theme: The Impact of War on the African Youth, will engage the university community in exploration of past and current conflicts in Africa and their impact on the younger generations that now make up a majority of the population.

In his introductory remarks, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza discussed the origins of Black History Month in the United States and its spread to other parts of the world including Europe, with large African diaspora communities. He highlighted the significant contribution of the historic diaspora to the development of the Pan-Africanist movement that incubated the territorial nationalisms that led to decolonization across the continent. He also noted the significant contribution of the new diasporas to African economies through remittances that surpassed $67 billion in 2017, thus making the diaspora Africa’s biggest donor. He concluded by underscoring the importance of peace and the role of the youth in cultivating integrated, innovative, democratic and developmental states and societies, noting that the continent needs to ensure that the current youth bulge is turned into a demographic dividend rather than a demographic disaster, by providing the youth with high quality education and employability skills.

Current Black History Month Organizing Committee President Mr. Tut Marial (IBA Senior) believes the theme is relevant in Africa, “Conflict will always be an element of human civilization, and understanding its mechanism can mitigate the negative impact”, a fact underlined by the existential crisis facing Africa’s youngest country – South Sudan.

Hon. Mabior’s keynote address dwelt on the complex evolution of the civil war currently engulfing his country, emphasizing that, “There is no military solution to the conflict”. In his view, “The only way to end the war is for the people of South Sudan to have an honest and mature dialogue about the future of their country.” Hon. Mabior concluded by encouraging South Sudanese youth to arm themselves with knowledge as “knowledge is power!”

Mr Halane’s brief remarks expounded on the role played by education in empowering the youth in Somalia, and the hopes invested in the young population.

Other events in the Black History Month calendar include a Discussion Panel on February 7, and the Closing Ceremony on the last day of February. Student campus organizations have also been invited to collaborate with Black History Month’s Organizing committee to host additional events on different dates throughout February.
PROF. NANCY MUTURI is back in the School of Science and Technology, this time on a sabbatical appointment as a Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication, in the Journalism and Communication Studies programs. Prof. Muturi is no stranger to USIU-Africa, having spent three months of 2017, as a Carnegie Africa Diaspora Fellowship Program Fellow. She joins us from the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Kansas State University where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in public relations, communication theory, research methods, health communication and gender issues.
Prof. Muturi attained her Bachelors and Masters in Sociology from the University of Nairobi before joining the University of Iowa, for a Masters and Ph.D. in Mass Communications. She brings a wealth of international experience having worked as a Lecturer, Health Communication Specialist, and graduate studies director at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication, University of the West Indies.
She also worked as a Health Communication Fellow at the American national health agency - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prior to commencing her academic career.

RACHAEL DIANG’A
has also joined the School of Science and Technology as USIU-Africa’s very first Assistant Professor of Film. Dr. Diang’a, who holds a PhD in Film Studies, has accumulated over ten years’ experience in film research and scholarship. She is the author of the first book on Kenyan cinema – African Re-creation of Western Impressions: A Focus on the Kenyan Film (2011) and several journal articles/book chapters on post-colonial and African cinema.
Dr. Diang’a’s film production interests in scriptwriting, directing and producing, are evident in the several films she has produced and/or directed including: Our Strength (2012), The Invisible Workers (2013) and Drugnets (2015), and contribution as a film workshop trainer and mentor, film critic and adjudicator in several film festivals.
She is also a member of Nordic Association of Romantic Studies, Association of Media Women in Kenya, Kenya Film and Television Professionals Association and currently the Secretary of the Association of Film Producing Educational Institutions in Kenya.

AWUOR OGADA
has joined the Chandaria School of Business as a Lecturer of Accounting and Finance. She has been a member of the USIU-Africa for some time, having been a member of the inaugural graduating Doctor of Business Administration class of 2016, and had previously received her International Business Administration degree from the same School.
Dr. Ogada has close to ten years of teaching experience at Multimedia University including teaching here at USIU-Africa has an adjunct faculty. She has also accumulated over ten years of industry experience with Wrigley Co (EA) as their Accounting Manager, Orbit Distributors as their Chief Accountant, and Across Africa Safaris as their Financial Controller. She is also a Certified Public Accountant.

Karibuni!
Five School Deans will this Friday, February 2, provide the university community with updates on each school’s key initiatives, and activities in the current Academic Year, as well as the achievements, and challenges that their Schools faced in the 2016-2017 Academic Year.

Beginning September 2017 with the Vice Chancellor’s Convocation, the University adopted a strategy of keeping the university community informed on

Institutional progress as guided by the University’s vision, mission, core values, and the current Strategic Plan (2015/16-2019/20).

In November 2017, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Amb. Prof. Ruthie Rono also held a Convocation where she enumerated the key achievements by the division she heads, as wells as the top priorities the division will pursue in this academic year.

All five School Deans have taken up their appointments within the last five months beginning with the Dean of the new School of Graduate Studies,

Research and Extension Prof. Amos Njuguna, Dean of the Chandaria School of Business Prof. Peter Lewa, Dean – School of Science and Technology Prof. Valerie Adema, Acting Dean – School of Humanities and Social Sciences Prof. Angelina Kioko, and Dean – School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Prof. Njeri Wamae.

Prof. Rono has invited the entire community to attend the Convocation, and to be seated by 10am in the auditorium, for the presentations expected to last until 12.30pm.
Concluding an eventful 2017, members of the Educate Your Own (EYO) student initiative held a self-evaluating exercise on Friday, December 1, 2017. The exercise aimed to present a report to their partners who they worked together through the year, and also gear up for the year 2018.

Targeting to raise KES 2 Million, the initiative had organized car washing activities and a thrift market held consecutively on campus. Contributions received from members of the university community enabled the initiative to provide scholarships to two students to bring to a total of 14 – the number of students receiving financial support from the Fund.

EYO’s vision for the New Year was reenergized following the release of a report, containing alarming statistics with regard to the rate of school drop-outs nationwide. The report which was published in the Daily Nation, revealed that 600 students dropped out of universities in Kilifi County in 2017.

The initiative will soon launch the 2018 edition of “Project Finje”, as well as seek monthly subscriptions from members of the university to be channeled directly to the scholarship fund.