The Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology is among three Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions in Kenya that have been nominated for various awards by the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP).
WFCP 2023 Awards of Excellence recognises outstanding contributions from member institutions, individuals and associations' exceptional initiatives which are strengthening applied learning and research outcomes.
The 43-year-old institution has been nominated for the Sustainable Development Goals Award.
The awards ceremony will be held in Montreal, Canada, on Tuesday.
“If we get bronze we shall be happy. The fact that we have been nominated is good enough. It is an award that is telling the world that RVIST has done a good job. It goes into global records that we made a mark,” said Principal Sammy Chemoiwa.
Other nominees include Kenya School of TVET which has been nominated for the Teacher Professional Development Award and Nairobi Technical Training Institute which has been nominated in the Applied Research and Innovation Award category.
“As an institution, we have been championing mitigation of climate change through various avenues and we include it in the training of our 12,000 students. We inculcate life skills so that all activities that students undertake they will use them to ensure we have a climate-friendly environment,” said Mr Chemoiwa.
He stated that the institution has programmes like sustainable agriculture which is intended to protect the environment, expand the earth's natural resource base, and maintain and improve soil fertility.
“We also work with Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network Global and the United Nation where our staff and students have volunteered to learn skills that they impart to their communities in the fight against climate change,” added Mr Chemoiwa.
He added: “We do that for the marginalised communities and we also do it within the institution where we do various activities including ensuring that the environment is clean.”
He also revealed that the institution engages students from marginalised areas who are doing outreach to their communities.
“We train students from marginalised communities to identify seeds and trees they can plant in their regions here at the institution and then take them home to plant during the rainy season,” he added.
The global award nomination comes in the wake of a flurry of activities at the Nakuru City-based institution where it has intensified the fight against climate change.
“We collaborate with a number of institutions and we are working with Geothermal Development Company (GDC), and Triple X among others to leverage on value addition from renewable energy,” added Mr Chemoiwa.
“We involve our research unit to impart skills to our students so that when they complete their studies they will help the communities boost food production. We train communities how to use borehole water and steam instead of discarding boreholes with hot steam.”
GDC is drilling steam wells at Menengai Crater and RVIST is working with the state agency to tap into the skills and pass them to the students.
In climate change, RVIST is working with other community-based institutions operating in marginalised communities like Maa Trust in Narok, and Baringo to raise climate change awareness.
The institution trains students in sustainable agriculture, agriculture engineering and renewable energy.
“We have picked students from Baringo and trained them how to raise seedlings.”
Mr Chemoiwa said every student is given 100 tree seedlings that they go and plant in their environment.
“In our next financial year, our target is to have a million tree seedlings. We sell 60 per cent and 40 per cent we donate to the community as part of our contribution to the government's ambitious project to plant 15 billion trees in the next five years,” said the Principal.
He revealed that climate change activities at the institution have intensified in the last five years leading to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with state agencies like KenGen on research.
RVIST also hosts the annual Agri-business expo and participates in Agricultural Society of Kenya trade fairs.