Mentorship and networking symposium for university students

Organised by the Commonwealth Scholarships Alumni Association of Kenya (CSAAK)

To mark Commonwealth Day 2019, and in line with the its objective of mentoring young scholars, CSAAK organised a symposium on the role of mentorship in fostering development, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

52 attendants sitting down in a room together, learning more about Commonwealth Scholarships offered by the CSC

Attendants learning more about the Commonwealth Scholarships on offer from the CSC

52 students representing 7 universities participated in the event alongside Commonwealth Alumni and staff from Kenya Methodist University (KEMU). The sub-theme of the event was ‘Maximising on Commonwealth Opportunities for Mentoring Future Generations’, drawn from the Commonwealth Day theme ‘A Connected Commonwealth’.

The event opened with welcoming remarks from KEMU Vice Chancellor and Commonwealth Alumnus, Prof Okoth (2009 Commonwealth Academic Fellow, Physical Chemistry, University of Strathclyde). Prof Okoth gave an informative presentation on the Commonwealth Scholarships Alumni Association of Kenya (CSAAK) and outlined the process of applying for Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships. He discussed the benefits of Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships and the impact these opportunities can have on an individual’s professional development and the sustainable development of their country. He urged the students to be inquisitive, ready to learn and network, and to be ready and humble enough to be mentored.

A lively panel discussion on ‘The impact of Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows in different sectors of development and their role in mentoring students’ followed. The panel addressed the impact of Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows in different sectors of development and their role in mentoring students. The panel comprised the following:

  • Moderator: Philip Waweru Mbugua, Executive Director, National Organization of Peer Educators (NOPE) (2005 Professional Fellow, Volunteer Management, Community Service Volunteers)
  • Joshua Ongwae, Regional Coordinator for DSW (2007 Distance Learning Scholar, MSc Education for Sustainability, London South Bank University; 2012 Distance Learning Scholar, MSc Global Health and Non-Communicable Diseases, University of Edinburgh)
  • Prof Maurice Okoth, Vice Chancellor KEMU (2009 Commonwealth Academic Fellow, Physical Chemistry, University of Strathclyde)
  • Prof Henry Bwisa, Lecturer, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology

The panellists discussed how to connect the knowledge, expertise and experience gained by Commonwealth Alumni with the current generation of students. Panellists

Attendees taking part in the Q&A session

Attendees taking part in the Q&A session

shared their personal experiences and how following their scholarship they had impacted different sectors of the economy, including health, food security, entrepreneurship and employability.

Following the panel discussion, guest speaker Dr John Kitui, Country Director Christian Aid, delivered a keynote speech on the importance of mentorship to the younger generation. He challenged Commonwealth Alumni to utilise the wealth of knowledge acquired in their studies to improve the country through mentoring the youth and being accountable role models. Breakout sessions aimed at providing students the opportunity to network with Commonwealth Alumni and each other followed.

Margaret Nyokabi, Head of Secretariat CSAAK, and Mark Mutuma, member of the Secretariat, gave a vote of thanks to the CSAAK Secretariat, attendees, guest speakers, panellists, and KEMU for hosting the Commonwealth Day event.

Photos from the event are available on CSC Flickr

Photos on flickr

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