The Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) has rolled out a programme to sensitize university students and lecturers on the importance of participating in government policy making process.
Speaking on Friday at Maasai Mara University, the KIPPRA Executive Director, Dr. Rose Ngugi said the programme intended to reach out to various stakeholders involved in public policy making process where universities were key participants in a bid to incorporate their ideas in the decisions made.
“Universities are where we come back to when we realize there are gaps in skills development, hence we are trying to promote exchange between universities and policy makers. We don’t only focus on lecturers but also on the students because they are the future leaders,” she said.
The programme that was rolled out three months ago also focuses on enlightening the students on government agenda so that they too could put in their contributions to the projects being rolled out by the government.
“We want the students to be familiar with the four agenda of the government and contribute towards the realization of the same. We expect them to carry out objective research and analysis on good security, manufacturing, housing and affordable health care, in order to help achieve this dream,” said Dr. Ngugi.
She dared the students to be vigilant in involving themselves with the challenges in the society so that they too could invent solutions on the same.
“We are hoping that since this is our first institution to visit since the programme was rolled out, we will be able to reach out to many university students around the country and start clubs and competition amongst the students,” she said.
The Maasai Mara University Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research and Student Affairs, Almadi Obore lauded KIPPRA, saying the programme would help mentor the students and create synergy between the academics and researchers.
“This university has started programmes to address the Big Four Agenda. In health, we have started programs on nursing and botanical gardens where we have medicinal plants. In manufacturing, we will be the first to start a manufacturing processing plant for medicinal plants. In food security, we have programmes on food nutrition,” he said.
He said the university has a host of outreach animal programmes where the community is sensitized on improving the livestock breed.
Bernard Adera from Technical University studying Economics said through the programme, he has learnt to think critically on the happenings in his environment.
“The programme instills a culture of wanting to know more. The way I used to think and the way I think now is different after the training. I now ask myself, who is responsible of what is happening around me? What can be done differently to change the situation? What is my role in the situation?” said Adera.
A fourth year Student University of Nairobi, Annette Wambui challenged university students not to sit waiting for their leaders to make decisions for them, some of which impacted negatively on them and instead challenged them to contribute in making the decisions.
“We should speak out so that what we want as young people can be implemented. But if we keep quiet, some policies that will be made could not be relevant to us or the society we live in,” she said.
By Ann Salaton