Sunday, January 10, 2016

Rose Mwonya: Professor of home economics

Professor Rose Mwonya is on course to becoming the fifth vice chancellor of Egerton University and the institution's first ever female vice chancellor when she officially takes over the reins from Prof James Tuitoek next week.

Today's Sunday Nation (10 January 2016) contains a feature on Prof Mwonya's academic journey and her rise to the top.

Below is an excerpt of the article by Elvis Ondieki.

Prof Mwonya spent her formative years at Ndenga Primary School in Siaya County where she studied up to Standard Four before her father took her to Asumbi Girls Boarding School in Homa Bay County. From there she joined Nyabururu Girls in Kisii and later enrolled at the Embu Institute of Agriculture.

Afterwards, she worked under the Agriculture ministry before she applied to the government to secure her an admission to pursue a diploma at Egerton University, then under the University of Nairobi.

She finished her three-year-course in Agriculture and Home Economics in 1975 then was later posted to Kakamega district as a District Home Economics Officer. She worked in that position shortly before going to Bukura Institute of Agriculture in the then Western province as a lecturer to fulfil her dreams.

Later, she received a scholarship from the United States Agency for International Development to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture at the Iowa State University which she completed in one and a half years. 

She also pursued an MSc and PhD in Home Economics Education at the same institution until 1984. Prof Mwonya majored in home economics, a discipline that incorporates child development and adult education among other aspects.

Congratulations to Prof Rose Mwonya on her appointment as Vice Chancellor! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sheila Okoth: Professor of mycology

I recently came across an article in the Business Daily newspaper that highlighted the work of Professor Sheila Okoth, the first female professor of mycology at the University of Nairobi and just one of the few mycology professors in Kenya.

Prof Okoth is interested in aflatoxin research and has published widely on the subject. She has also set up a postgraduate laboratory for mycology and mycotoxin research through a grant she was awarded after winning the prestigious African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) fellowship.

Read the feature article by Sarah Ooko, UoN first female 'fungi' professor targets aflatoxin

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Happy International Women's Day 2015

Here's wishing all women and all readers of this blog a very Happy International Women's Day 2015.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Prof Ruth Oniang'o receives Distinguished Service Award at 2014 Agribusiness & Food World Forum

As part of the 2014 Agribusiness & Food World Forum held in Cape Town, South Africa on 15-19 June 2014, Professor Ruth Khasaya Oniang’o received the Distinguished Service Award for her influence on the development of nutrition training and agricultural research and development throughout Africa.

Far beyond her home country of Kenya, Professor Oniang’o has participated in international activities which have helped to generate decisions that have shaped and furthered global food security and nutrition.

The recognition of Professor Oniang’o as part of the first World Forum on the African continent is particularly fitting. Jointly hosted by the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) and the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), the Agribusiness & Food World Forum focuses on Africa as a region of limitless opportunity, where agribusiness has the potential to be the engine that drives dynamic, unprecedented economic growth and development.

Read more in this press release

Congratulations, Prof Oniang'o!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Prof Mary Abukutsa-Onyango wins 2014 Edinburgh Medal

Mary Abukutsa-Onyango, professor of horticulture at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) was awarded the prestigious 2014 Edinburgh Medal.

She received the award in recognition of her two decades of research on sustainable production and utilization of leafy African indigenous vegetables to tackle malnutrition and obesity as well as empower rural communities in Kenya.

The Edinburgh Medal is a prestigious award given each year to men and women of science and technology whose professional achievements are judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity.

In her Edinburgh Medal address titled Horticultural biodiversity, repositioning the hidden treasure, she advocated for strategic repositioning of nutrient-rich African indigenous vegetables, and explained how farming and consumption of this ‘treasure’ holds the key to long-term food security for the continent and for better health, nutrition and improved livelihoods for millions of people.

Past recipients of the Edinburgh Medal include Prof Jane Goodall (1991), Prof Wangari Maathai (1993), Prof Amartya Sen (1997) and Prof Peter Higgs and CERN (2013).

Kudos to Prof Abukutsa-Onyango on this award!

Read more in this announcement by JKUAT.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Jacqueline Oduol: Professor of communication and gender expert

Prof Jacqueline Oduol is a well known Kenyan gender expert. She is also specialized in child protection and children's rights, leadership, peace building and conflict resolution. She has played key roles in developing gender policies to increase women's participation in development activities in Kenya, and was among the first members of the National Gender and Equality Commission when it was set up in 2003.

Prof Oduol holds a Bachelor's degree in Linguistics, English and Literature (1979) and a Master of Arts in Linguistics and African Languages of Education (1981), both from the University of Nairobi. Her PhD in Linguistics (1990) was researched at both the University of Nairobi and Bayreuth University in Germany.

She taught at the Department of Linguistics and African Studies at the University of Nairobi and rose through the ranks to the position of senior lecturer. In 1994, she joined the United States International University (USIU) as a lecturer in comparative linguistics, critical thinking, intercultural communications and gender studies. It was at USIU where she was appointed a professor.

Prof Oduol has undertaken several consultancies on gender for a number of reputable international agencies such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (UN-DAW).

She has also prepared policy papers for the UN gender agency, UNIFEM, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Association of African Women for Research and Development (AAWORD).

In 2007, Prof Oduol quit her teaching post to vie for a parliamentary seat in Alego-Usonga constituency but her bid was unsuccessful. However, in April 2008, she was appointed the Secretary for Children Affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development, a position she held until May 2013.

In 2008, she received a Head of State Commendation, the award of Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear (EBS), in recognition of her work on gender mainstreaming.

Source: Ng'ang'a N. (2002, December 2). Gender agenda in politics. Sunday Nation. Retrieved from

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Prof Miriam Were: A community health champion

The Business Daily (Friday 8 Nov 13) has a feature story of Prof Miriam Were's journey to becoming a leader in the field of community health.

Here's the link to the story: Making of a community health champion.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Naomi Shitemi: Professor of linguistics and Kiswahili studies

This blog post pays tribute to a renowned Kiswahili scholar, the late Professor Naomi Shitemi of Moi University, who passed away recently after an illness.

Today's Saturday Nation featured a moving tribute by Prof Kimani Njogu, the executive director of Twaweza Communications and the chairman of Chama cha Kiswahili cha Taifa (CHAKITA). Here is the link to the feature article, Prof Shitemi: Unsung heroine who fought hard for Kiswahili language.

Rest In Peace, Prof Naomi Shitemi.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Collette Suda: Professor of sociology

Prof Collette A. Suda
Prof Collette A. Suda
Collette Suda, an associate professor of sociology, is a well respected Kenyan sociologist with a wealth of research experience in issues of gender and development, children in especially difficult circumstances, social development, agricultural/rural development and community development.

Prof Suda earned her PhD in rural sociology from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1986. She also holds an MSc in rural sociology and an MSc in community development from the same university.

After her PhD, she embarked on a career in lecturing and research at the University of Nairobi's Institute of African Studies (now the Institute of Anthropology, Gender and African Studies), focusing on various gender and social development themes including women in development, social change and development, and agricultural development policies, programs and projects.

Prof Collette Suda is widely published and has several peer-reviewed journal articles, books and book chapters to her name. She has also held senior leadership positions at the University, serving as director of the Institute of African Studies from 1999 to 2002 as well as the director of the Board of Common Undergraduate Courses from 2002 to 2007. In 2002, she was promoted to the position of full professor.

In addition to her university teaching and research career, Prof Suda served the Government of Kenya as the Secretary for Gender and Social Development in the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development from 2007 to 2012. In June 2013, she was appointed the Principal Secretary for Science and Technology in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

Prof Collette Suda is also an Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear (EBS), a civilian service award given by the President of Kenya in recognition of distinguished service to the nation.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Prof Judi Wakhungu nominated to Kenya's new Cabinet

Congratulations are in order to Prof Judi Wakhungu on her nomination as Kenya's new Cabinet Secretary in charge of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.

President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled his new Cabinet earlier this week. The nominees now await vetting by a parliamentary committee on appointments.

Congrats Prof Wakhungu!