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2004

In 2004, the small grants were funded by the Mellon Foundation and awarded to the following USHEPiA graduates.

  1. Dr Karori Mbugua
  2. Dr Rosemarie-Mwaipopo-Ako
  3. Dr Hassan Mwakimako
  4. Dr Goretti Nakabugo
  5. John Ochora (Funded by Carnegie)

Here are some of the Summarised Research Projects reports:

Dr Hassan Mwakimako, University of Nairobi

Topic: Devotional Landscapes: A National Portrait of the Mosque in Kenya

This report presents results of a base line survey of mosques conducted in the city of Nairobi. It is the first glimpse into the characteristics of the Muslim community that has existed in Nairobi for over a century, yet sometimes not fully acknowledged. This report makes available factual and scientific details on aspects of Islamic community of Nairobi centred on mosque characteristics including histories, sponsorships, location, management, sectarianism, networks, imams, women, leadership, social services and languages.

The aim of the research is to provide a comprehensive, detailed portrait of national mosques in Kenya for subsequently use by Mosque leaders, Muslin scholars and policymakers to envision the diverse ways in which the mosque serves the community and the nation. The study will also provide a public profile of Mosques that will hopefully further the understanding of the Muslim presence in Kenya.

Dr Goretti Nakabugo, Makerere University

Topic: The Pedagogy of large Classes- an action Feasibility Study in Ugandan Primary Schools

In 1997, the Government of Uganda embarked on the policy of Universal Primary Education (UPE). Four children per family were originally targeted , but later doors were opened to all school going age children in the country. This increased primary enrolment from 2.7 million in 1997 to 7.5 in 2004. Although this was followed by a slight increase in number of teachers and classrooms, the average pupil-to-teacher ratio remained at almost 80:1. Research has shown that large classes do not necessarily mean poor quality education. The real obstacle is creating a culture for organising large classes in such a manner that learning can be successfully mediated.

The grant enabled the department of curriculum, teaching and media in Makerere University to conduct action oriented research into possible forms of class organisation and teaching approaches, which are suitable for mediating learning in large classes. This was carried out in collaboration with two primary schools.

The research findings show that primary teachers are very willing to work with universities as partners, and are willing to try out new ideas in their class rooms. At the beginning of the research, several strategies of teaching and learning in large classes were explored with the teachers. Two teachers were asked to try out multiple approaches in their classrooms. However this did not work out. It was clear that teachers cannot be expected to make a number of changes at the same time. Out of the many strategies they were exposed to, they only choose to start with two and this worked out well. Observation was also made about how group work and peer-assessment changed the classroom environments. Children became excited and keen to learn in groups and when new instructional materials were used. This enhanced Children’s self-esteem and confidence. The relationships in the classroom (learner-learner and teacher- learner) also improved.

Dr John Ochora, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology (JKUAT)

Topic: Effective domestication and utilization of Kenyan orchids and ex situ conservation. III. Establishment of conservation botanical garden for terrestrial Orchids

Project continuing from 2002

The 2004/2005 Carnegie small grant award assisted in successfully accomplishing the following:

  1. Improvement of the botanical garden within which the greenhouse is located.
  2. Collection of more orchid materials from many different localities of Kenya and adapting them in the greenhouse and KENGO botanical garden.
  3. Participation and poster presentation at the WAITHRO CONGRESS, Safari Park Hotel, NAIROBI.
  4. Hosted the Kenya Orchid Society members to inaugurate the ex situ conservation of orchids at the greenhouse.
  5. Attended AOL (Electronic publishing) workshop at University of Nairobi about Book writing techniques.
  6. Enabled popularising Orchids in Kenya.

So far Dr Ochora collected and successfully conserved many populations of the following orchids: Aerangis brachycarpa, A. confusa, A. Somalensis, Angraecum erectum, A. giryamae, Acampe bachyglossa, Ansellia africana (the yellow and pink varieties), Rangaeris amaniensis, Tridactyle spp., Polystachya, vaginata, P. dendrobiiflora, Eulophia streptopetala, E. stenophyla, E. petersii, Epidendrum cinnaparinum, Oncidium, Laeria, Vanda, and Cympidium.

He has planted in the KENGO section of the Botanical garden the terrestrial Eulohpia petersii and many populations of Eulophia streptopetala and Eulophia stenophyla.

Dr Ochora managed to multiply Eulophia petersii by separation method and since they adapt faster he availed them for commercial venture by the University. Tissue culture (somatic embryogenesis) only succeeded for Aerangis spp. Out of this research Dr Ochora is writing a book entitled “Orchids-the hidden wealth”.