Maasai Mara University has commenced reaping from International Collaborations and Partnerships accruing from outreach efforts protracted by the University Council chaired by Dr. Samuel Agonda Ochola, and the University Management steered by the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Mary K. Walingo.

This was actualized on Monday, 22nd July 2019 and Tuesday, 23rd July 2019 when the Senior Lecturer, Employability Lead and Research Investigator at the University of the West of England (UWE), Dr. Emmanuel Adukwu made a special visit to Maasai Mara University so as to pursue and cement collaboration and partnership opportunities.

The MMU’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Student Affairs Prof. Bulitia Godrick Mathews was instrumental in leading a team that identified prospective areas of collaboration and partnership between MMU and UWE.  These areas are Teaching, Researchand Knowledge Transfer.

Maasai Mara University steered by the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Mary K. Walingo is hopeful that the collaboration and partnership in the said areas will materialize hence the academic propulsion of MMU and UWE. 

 

 

Until recently, five ebolavirus species were known, with three of these – Bundibugyo, Sudan and Zaire ebolaviruses – associated with large human outbreaks. The latter is responsible for the devastating 2013-16 outbreak in West Africa and the ongoing outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, the reservoirs of ebolaviruses have remained enigmatic, though fruit bats have been implicated and demonstrated as the reservoir for related Marburg virus. Last year a sixth ebolavirus species, Bombali virus, was reported in saliva and feces from bats in Sierra Leone.  

The new research focused on developing enhanced preparedness for emerging infectious disease threats, by researchers from University of Maasai Mara University, the University of Nairobi and the University of Helsinki, has now identified Bombali ebolavirus in an Angolan free-tailed bat (species: Mops condylurus) captured at Taita Hills, southeast Kenya. No ebolaviruses have been previously reported from wildlife in Kenya or other countries along the east coast of Africa. The researchers recovered high amounts of Bombali ebolavirus in bat tissues, including its full genome, confirming that productive infection does occur in this species. The bat was also shown to have antibodies towards the virus. 

There is no current evidence that Bombali virus infects people. Evidence against apparent human infection was obtained by screening febrile patients reporting to clinics in the Taita Hills who have had contact with bats: no signs of Bombali virus infection or past exposure were uncovered. However, vigilance and ongoing monitoring are important to understand this viral infection and the risks it may pose to people, and further research is ongoing. Given the vast distance between the identification sites in Sierra Leone and Kenya (ca. 5500 km) and that the bat species involved are not believed to travel large distances, Bombali virus is likely to be transmitted across its range in much of sub-Saharan Africa. Although recently found, it is obvious that Bombali virus along with other ebolaviruses have been around since ancient times. The bat biologist expert of the team, Dr. Paul Webala from Maasai Mara University, emphasizes that despite being occasional virus carriers, bats are essential components of global ecosystems, serving critical functions such as insect pest control, seed dispersal and plant pollination, and their conservation is vitally important. Bats can indeed transmit deadly diseases like rabies and Nipah to humans, though transmission is exceedingly rare and easily avoided. In fact, having a virus in itself does not necessarily mean that they will automatically spill over to humans, endangering their health. Therefore, Dr. Webala avers that there is no justification whatsoever for their persecution as doing so will only harm bats and efforts to conserve them, and may compromise their roles in providing invaluable ecosystem services that benefit humans, wildlife and the environment. Previous eviction and culling attempts in response to possible disease outbreaks have backfired and may actually expose humans to potential risks of transmission.

The bat samples were collected at the University of Helsinki Taita Research Station and processed in Biosafety Level-3 laboratories of the Veterinary Faculty at the University of Helsinki. Positive samples were transferred to a Biosafety Level-4 facility in Stockholm for further investigation. The findings have been published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. 

It is the pride and intention of Maasai Mara University led by the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Mary K. Walingo to provide ample infrastructure to its clientele hence realize the bountiful acquisition of knowledge. Besides, it strives to equip students with coveted skills in innovation especially in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Owing to this essence, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Students Affairs {DVC (A&SA)} Prof. Bulitia Godrick Mathews toured respectable institutions in China that embody efficient and affordable building technologies.

According to Prof. Bulitia, Maasai Mara University’s yearning to advance its lecture room teaching and presentation styles have been warmly welcomed by China. Among these technologies is the use of portable finger touch interactive whiteboard where one uses his finger to write on the board rather than using whiteboard pens.  

Computer Science and Information Science students and those pursuing courses that necessitate skills in Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) will have their knowledge enhanced through collaborations with high-tech universities in China. This will culminate to innovations and creativity in the field of manufacturing, a key component of the Big-Four Agenda; students will interact to exchange ideas in the manufacture of Mobile phones.

This also supports the wake of the new Competency-Based Curriculum being rolled out in the Kenyan education sector where talent, creativity and innovation will be prioritized.

Use of robots as messengers in faculties is another green area where delivery of information and services in departments, faculties and different units in the university will be efficient, fast and free from flaws whatsoever.

Moreover, a cheap and affordable means of constructing lecture rooms is evident in China where containers are erected as lecture rooms, offices and even purpose-built academic libraries to suit the needs of a university. This is a technology to be borrowed too. 

Prof. Bulitia also interacted with the Deputy Minister, Republic of Iraq, Ministry of Construction and Housing and Municipalities and Public Works, Istabraq I. Alshouk. He promised to offer professional support and even make arrangements to visit Maasai Mara University to actualize a healthy relationship that will see Iraq support MMU. 

     

 

In Geneva, the latest Global Assessment Report 2019 on Disaster Risk Reduction was launched. Professor Jacqueline McGlade, Director of the Sekenani Research Centre at the Maasai Mara University, as a Lead Author of the Report was invited to present key findings to governments, civil society and business. The report which has been prepared by leading researchers and policy specialists from around the world presents the latest knowledge and understanding about the multi-hazards facing the world and ways of building resilience and reducing risks and vulnerabilities. The report is designed to help to raise awareness about the complexity hazards and the cascading impacts on a wide range of issues including food insecurity, migration, political destabilization, currency fluctuations and conflicts.

Main Report

Maasai Mara University in partnership with Africa Psychosocial Support Initiative (APSSI) will launch a new certificate programme on Community Based Work with Children and Youths (CBWCY) starting July 2019. The programme targets practitioners and those who have interests in working with children and youths. For more information and application click this link

CERTIFICATE IN COMMUNITY-BASED WORK WITH CHILDREN & YOUTH©

ABOUT THE PROGRAMME

The Programme is an innovative response to regional demand for quality training in child and youth work. It specifically focuses on practical skills for social and emotional (psychosocial) support, child protection, promotion of children's rights and community development. It helps to ensure that vulnerable populations receive professional care and support.

WHO IT IS FOR

The Programme is designed for people who are working with children and youth or who are interested in working in, but not limited to the following fields in the social services workforce: community workers, community caregivers, programme officers, teachers, police and social workers, who work with children in a variety of organizations and settings in East and Southern Africa. 

Download the APSSI APPLICATION FORMS   Download the APSSI FLYER

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