A Sustainable Approach to Livelihood Improvement (ASALI) conference has kicked off today April 10, 2018 at the Noble Hotel in Eldoret town.
The three-day conference is being hosted by Moi University in collaboration with South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU) and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VUA), The Netherlands.
The ASALI conference brings together delegates from different countries and institutions and offers an opportunity for entrepreneurship development, sharing of research findings and knowledge and corporate marketing in the area of sustainable livelihoods.
Speaking during the opening of the conference, Moi University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Isaac S. Kosgey, noted that participants will have an opportunity to interact with Moi University faculty, postgraduate students and the academic community.
“It also offers an opportunity for the Kenyan scholars and the business community to share and network with the participants and deliberate on possible inter-university-industry partnerships,” said Prof. Kosgey.
He added that the University is committed to the objectives of ASALI project – natural resource management, sustainable entrepreneurship, renewable energy and health, food and nutrition security.
SEKU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Geoffrey Muluvi, said the location of his University is strategic as it falls within the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) that are home to 25% of Kenya’s population, over 70% of the livestock and most of the game reserves.
“Land degradation in the ASALs is largely characterized by inappropriate land use, poor farming practices and overgrazing. Through ASALI project, the University has received automatic weather station that will enhance research in related areas,” said Prof. Muluvi.
He noted that the project has facilitated outreach to Maasai communities in Kajiado County by setting demonstrations on range rehabilitation through reseeding and training of farmers on reseeding pasture and grazing management.
He added that ASALI project has also supported research on dry-land crops that address food security which is one of the four key development agenda for Kenya.
Dr. Henk van den Heuvel, Acting Director for the Centre for International Cooperation at VUA, said Universities around the world have come to realize that they have to work together closely and on equal footing in facing the global challenges and contribute food security, health issues, sustainable energy, entrepreneurship and employment for young people.
“As Universities, we have to work together in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals. These SDGs may be ambitious and very challenging, and they may have some flaws and weaknesses, but they also offer a framework, by which Universities can make a difference,” said Dr. Heuvel.
Uasin Gishu County Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno who presided over the opening of the conference on behalf of Governor Jackson Mandago, said mankind has not taken good care of the environment and hence it has turned unfriendly.
“We must stand up. The crops that we used to grow a few years ago are no longer there and yet the crops that we have today need to be modified. Overtime our soils have become acidic and therefore we need to change. Having such a meeting is quite handy in solving the problems afflicting us,” said Mr. Chemno.
The Deputy Governor noted that Kenya should tap the advanced technology of The Netherlands to get answers to its problems in order to attain the Vision 2030.
“As a County, we are out to ensure that food security as a key Government pillar of the big four agenda; we are getting crops that suit our environment and are affordable to all. We are also looking at cheap sources of energy. Kenya is losing out on business because our energy is so expensive. We are now looking at new sources of energy such as solar,” said Mr. Chemno.
The ASALI project started officially in February 2014 upon signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by Moi University, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and South Eastern Kenya University.
ASALI project objectives and thematic areas are linked to the Kenya Vision 2030 which provides a framework in which Kenya will be transformed from a low income, agrarian economy into a newly industrialized, middle income country by 2030, providing a high quality life to all its citizens in a clean and secure environment.
Courtesy Moi University