8 March 2021, Thika, Kenya – To further advance the implementation of the Agenda for Sustainable Development and particularly Goals 4 of Quality Education, 16 of Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and 17 of Partnerships for Development, the Division for Peace of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has entered a new strategic partnership with Mount Kenya University with the official signing ceremony having taken place on the 8th of March 2021 in the blended format. Both institutions, represented by Mr. Nikhil Seth, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UNITAR Executive Director, and Mr. Deogratius Jaganyi, Vice-Chancellor, Mount Kneya University, signed a Memorandum of Understanding based on mutual trust and in spirit of cooperation. The signing was preceded by a keynote address by Mr. Evariste Karambizi, Director of UNITAR Division for Peace, who touched upon the “The Role of International Partnerships in Advancing Sustainable Development Goals”.
The objectives of this Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) are to provide a collaborative framework within which the parties can develop and implement research, development and training activities, as well as to utilise their existing resources for the benefit of the target beneficiaries. The areas of cooperation will include curriculum development, design, adaptation and delivery of master's and postgraduate training programmes, including online and blended courses; organisation of high level meetings, conferences, workshops and seminars; collaboration on research activities, publications and other forms of promotion of joint projects; institutional capacity building; and community outreach. Moreover, this collaboration will play a leading role in informing and educating stakeholders on the role of international partnerships in empowering people and transforming lives.
The Mount Kenya University is a chartered university and has diverse strategic partnerships with Higher Learning Institutions across the world and industry including United Nations Volunteers (UNV) as a vital means of achieving the university triple – pronged mandate of teaching, research and community engagement. The University is a member of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), the Association of African Universities (AAU), the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), the Kenya Private Sector Association (KEPSA), Linking Industry with Academia (LIWA), Talloires Network of Engaged Universities, and hosts the UNESCO Chair in Digital Education, Interdisciplinary Teaching and Sustainable Development. The University promotes access to higher education by establishing Campuses and Open, Distance and E-Learning (ODEL) Centres in different geographical areas in East Africa and beyond. The University Main campus is located in Thika town, with other Campuses in Nairobi, Parklands, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret, Meru, and Kigali Rwanda. The University has ODeL Centres located in Malindi, Kisumu, Kitale, Kakamega, Kisii and Kericho and marketing offices located in Isiolo, Nyeri, and country offices in Kampala in Uganda, Bujumbura in Burundi, Hargeisa in Somaliland and Garowe in Puntland.
With 57 year of experience in capacity building, one of the core principles of UNITAR's work is getting closer to beneficiaries through a global network of partners on the ground: a principle that ensures the relevance, ownership, sustainability and impact of UNITAR's training initiatives. Driven by its commitment to delivering quality education to vulnerable populations, UNITAR brings to the table not only its training expertise, but also its commitment to and experience in building strong, resilient and impactful collaborations. The pooling of resources and knowledge between UNITAR and Mount Kenya University will enable the partners to achieve much more and much faster in these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The partnership emphasises the vital link between development, peace and quality education through building the capacities of county government leaders, the military, the police, the private sector, youth, schools and communities, the Ministry of Health and the Postal Cooporation of Kenya.
A range of interactive presentations that took place on the 8th of March showcased the vast scope of new opportunities to empower people and transform lives, which this new collaboration presents.