East Africa

German University of Kassel students visit ILRI

Twenty six German Students from the University of Kassel visited Kenya in an excursion, where they were hosted by ILRI on the 8th of March 2011. On hand to welcome them was Dr. Jan de Leeuw of PLE on behalf of ILRI management, who did all the required introductions.

The day kicked off on quite a high note. The students arrived early and were energized and eager to learn more from the presentations that were to be made. Speakers of the day included: Dr. Polly Ericksen, Dr. Mohammed Said, Phillip Osano, Jane Gitau, Dr. Rob Skilton, Brenda Wandera and Dr. Delia Grace.

A talk on climate change and pastoral systems by Polly Ericksen started off the discussions for the day. The students were very interactive, asking questions on every bit they did not understand. Other talks followed including one on conservancies in Kenya by Mohammed Said, Payment of ecosystem services in pastoral lands by Phillip Osano, Milk and Markets by Delia Grace, and Science Communication by Jane Gitau.

The science communication presentation was highly appreciated by the students because although communication is the core of every activity that we undertake, it is often a neglected area of pursuit.. Our willingness to communicate scientific vocabulary to people with little or no understanding about science greatly determines how interested they will be in the topic of discussion. It should not be one way because the greatest single stumbling block to real communication is the one-sided nature of speaking.

Two video presentations from Bio sciences Eastern and Central Africa (BECA) and Index Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI), broke the monotony of slide presentations. BECA, an initiative developed within the framework of Centers of Excellence for Science and Technology in Africa is hosted and managed by (ILRI). On the other hand, IBLI’s main objective is to help pastoral and agro-pastoral populations to manage drought-related livestock mortality. The project was pilot tested in Marsabit.

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