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Graduate Student Successes

Daraja Academy – a top girls secondary school ‘up country’ in Kenya approached Kesho to assist with their 2011 recruitment and 2 girls were selected.  Well done! 

Kemri Internship – Ngoma, a Kesho graduate, was top (out of around 1700 students) in the district when he graduated from secondary school in 2009.  In January he was selected by the KEMRI/Wellcome Trust Research Unit for a 3 month internship programme aiming to promote careers in science.  He said ‘the experience changed my whole life’.  He’ll start University in August to study Medicine. 

Lemic and Johnston, top secondary graduates in 2010, applied for full scholarships at the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa to take the IB Diploma.  Thanks Kelly and Mac for helping them in their applications.  Johnston was successful – what a wonderful opportunity.  See other blog post.  

Emanuel spent 3 months in the UK and in Sept 2010 started his Diploma in Business Management at the Kenya Institute of Management in Mombasa.
Queen is doing great and is now in her 2nd year of Law at Moi University.

Well done to Ambrose Mwango and Ngoma Duncan, 2 more Kesho students have joined Nairobi University this month (September 2011).  Read more about them in their own blog page.
Johnston really settling in to Aga Khan

Johnston really settling in to Aga Khan


I went to visit Johnston Kirimo at the weekend.  Mac and Kelly had been encouraging and inspiring him for a while so it was a good opportunity to say Hi in person.  He showed me around his boarding house and introduced me to all his new mates.  Everyone seems to know him – he can barely turn around without someone greeting him!   We went out for lunch (burgers and chips!) at a restaurant nearby, picked up my kids from a cricket tournament (where he knew even more people as Aga Khan had put in a team too!) and afterwards did a bit of shopping at Nakumat.  

He’s super busy and signs up to lots of weekend activities – last week he went bowling at Nyali Cinemax, and found he was pretty good at that too.  

He’s finding the academic work quite easy because he’s bright (though he’s far too modest to say that) and because he’s covered a lot of the material in his KCSE particularly in Maths and Science (he did say that!).  He learned at the UK University Fair at Whitesands that he needs to major in English to be considered for any overseas university scholarships.  He sensibly switched and is now doing Swahili as a core subject and English as a Major.  English is the most different as it’s English Literature rather than English as a foreign Language, but he’s enjoying it all the same.

He’s involved in lots of community projects as part of the IB ethos and curriculum and the latest one involves interviewing and videoing local people about their needs.  They’re presenting the work on their computers and setting it to music and the works.  He’s loving it!   

The only thing Johnston really needs is his own lap top computer.  All the other students have one and it’s proving difficult for him to complete his assignments (there is a lot of project /course work on the IB programme).  He only has access to the library computers which are not always available.  I believe this is a problem not unique to Johnston and one which is going to be an issue affecting all our students moving to University or Diploma education. 

Some thoughts on how we can meet their needs would be worth some careful consideration. 

Well done Johnston – we’re all cheering you on at Kesho!

Kesho student Duncan Ngoma completes School Leavers Attachment @ Kemri

Students form the School-Leavers’ Attachment Scheme leave for University 
The first cohort of students under the School Leavers’ Attachment Initiative recently left the programme to join various universities within Kenya. The students, who were drawn from Kilifi, Kaloleni and Ganze districts, had been attached to the programme since November 2010 for a four month programme where they were they got the opportunity to gain valuable work experience which will be useful in their future careers. 
The School Leavers Attachment programme, coordinated by Alun Davies, is a pilot initiative that seeks to nurture the interest of talented students in health research careers as well as contribute to the broader KEMRI-Kilifi community engagement strategy by promoting mutual understanding between researchers and the community. 
Selecting the six attachment students involved liaising with the District Education Officers (DEO) for Kilifi, Ganze and Kaloleni to identify 30 students who achieved B+ or above in the 2009 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations (KCSE).  These students were invited for an open day at the programme where they got an opportunity to learn about locally conducted research and complete an application form for the attachment.  Twelve students were selected for face-to-face interviews based on the application forms and from this, six successful candidates were selected.
The six were Katana Kombe James from St. Georges High School, Gona Rehema from Ribe Girls Secondary School, Mrima Lucky Mgandi from Majaoni Secondary School, Kilifi, Ngoma C. Duncan from Ribe Boys High School, Kazungu F S Huldah from Ribe Girls Secondary School and Mrima H Patrick from St Teresa, Kaloleni. 
The attachment programme involved two week job rotations within six different departments and clusters including Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Operations (Human Resources, Finance, Procurement), Socio Behavioural Research  and Community Liaison Groups (SBR & CLG), Field studies (EPI-DSS), Wards and Labs. 
During these rotations, students got the opportunity to shadow members of staff; develop their critical thinking skills through reading and discussing research articles and other documents; and to attend team meetings, seminars, journal clubs, SSP, SCC and CCC. In addition to this, students attended fortnightly tutorials aimed at consolidating some of the learning at each department/cluster, and developing professional skills. Tutorial workshops included: Qualitative and quantitative research methods; communication and presentation skills; writing a Curriculum Vitae, a cover letter; and preparing for a job interview.
As the students head out to university, plans are in place to invite them for a further one month attachment per year during their vacation periods until they graduate. This will be useful to monitor students’ progress and sustain their interest in pursuing science related careers over the period of their tertiary education. 
By Alun Davies, Kemri-Wellcome Trust Research Unit, Kilifi, Kenya – 2011