On 10 February 2011, representatives from UNESCO-IHE, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Egerton University, and many invited guests celebrated the opening of new facilities for Egerton University in Njoro, Kenya. Egerton University is one of three partners in the joint MSc in Limnology and Wetland Ecosystems (LWE).
The facilities, consisting of refurbished laboratory infrastructure and new equipment, upgraded student housing and a tour bus, were sponsored by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS) and the Austrian Development Agency, which were represented at the event by three distinguished guests, Mr. Hans Doctor ( Dutch Deputy Ambassador to Kenya), Mr. Matthias Radosztics (Austrian Deputy Ambassador to Kenya), and Ms. Gertraud Findl (Austrian Development Agency).
Mr. Docter spoke for the group, saying “we are really impressed by the facilities that have been refurbished and re-equipped and we feel a new generation of scientists is being prepared here.”
Mr. Radosztics was impressed by the cooperative nature of the programme and said he was “convinced that participants would get the best out of each collaborating institution.”
The 18-month programme begins at UNESCO-IHE in Delft, with a sequence of foundation modules in environmental science.
Participants then move to Egerton University for in-depth modules on aquatic ecology, water quality, fisheries and aquaculture, all enhanced by regular fieldtrips to aquatic ecosystems in Kenya’s Rift Valley.
The third component of the programme takes place in Austria, where participants study microbial processes and conclude the taught portion of the programme with modules in conservation and restoration ecology, integrated water resources management, and system monitoring using bioindicators.
Participants then enter the research component of the programme, ideally returning to their own countries to develop their thesis project.
The event and ribbon-cutting ceremonies were Chaired by Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Egerton University, Prof. J. M. Mathooko. Dr. N. Kitaka, Egerton Coordinator of the LWE Program, summed up the event.
“Today was one of our peak days, our best part of the project launching the facilities we’ve been organizing for one and a half years. It was a great moment for the project.”