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Date: May 19, 2023 08:00 AM - 9:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


This event provided simultaneous interpretation in Spanish to English and English to Spanish.

In this workshop, three Engaged Research Fund recipients in Africa will address the barriers to access to education in their countries. Peter Kirira will give insights on how an intervention to support primary school pupils in low resourced communities in Kenya to access safe drinking water in school has contributed to students’ academic performance and school attendance rates. Joseph Oloba & Martha Awati will focus on financial literacy in the North Bukedi Sub-region of Uganda. Financial literacy is a crucial life skill that impacts mental health, the education experience, and the long-term quality of life. Martina Jordaan will reflect on the education pathways at the University of Pretoria, Mamelodi campus, and the project she is doing with the Historical Society of Mamelodi.

Speaker Biographies:

Martina Jordaan

Head of Community Engagement and Postgraduate Students, University of Pretoria (South Africa)

Martina Jordaan is Head of Community Engagement and postgraduate students at the University of Pretoria, Mamelodi campus. She is a qualified teacher and was trained for the early childhood development phase and intermediate phases. She holds a Doctorate in History and a Master's degree in Development Studies. She started her career as a teacher a Laerskool Tuinrand. She was appointed as head of the senior phase at Laerskool Rietfontein-Noord and became a senior researcher at the Transvaal Education Department. She was also head of the Education Museum in Pretoria and, after that, responsible for developing pre-schools in informal settlements next to Pretoria and skills development of staff of various schools in Pretoria. After that, she developed and lectured a new module, the Community-based Project Module, for the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and IT at the University of Pretoria. Her research interest is in community engagement, service-learning, and e-community engagement. She is a co-author of published chapters in books and articles in accredited journals and has presented various papers at national and international conferences.

Peter Kirira

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Planning and Institutional Advancement, Mount Kenya University (Kenya)

Dr. Peter Kirira is the acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Planning and Institutional Advancement at Mount Kenya University since 1st August 2022. Professionally, he is a Pharmaceutical Chemist and holds an MSc in Organic Chemistry from Kenyatta University and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Nagakaki University, Japan. In addition to his PhD, he undertook a 2-year post-doctorate fellowship programme in Synthetic Chemistry at Kyoto University, Japan. Dr. Kirira is an accomplished researcher with interest in drug research with a focus on malaria and cancer projects. In addition, he has taken a leadership role in the implementation of individual and consortium projects on community engagement, entrepreneurship, innovation and graduate employability. For instance, since 2017, Dr. Kirira has implemented research projects in collaboration with Partners for Care (PFC), an NGO, in the area of safe drinking water handling, distribution and storage. He also carried out research to determine the relationship between quality of water and the recovery time of Malnourished Children Enrolled in a Nutritional Feeding (Plumpy'Nut®) Programme in Parkishon Region, Marsabit County, Kenya providing recommendations that informed policy and practice. Dr. Kirira has over 30 peer reviewed publications, holds three patents, and has won over 10 individual and consortium grants with the latest being the Engaged Faculty Scholar Research Grant 2022 by the Open Society University Network (OSUN) Civic Engagement Initiative and the Talloires Network of Engaged Universities. He was featured in the 2022 AD Scientific Index of the Kenya Top Scientists. In the course of his career, Dr. Kirira has successively supervised several postgraduate students. He is a peer reviewer with scientific journals as well as an external examiner of postgraduate students’ theses from various Universities in Kenya.

Joseph Oloba

Lecturer, LivingStone International University (Uganda)

Joseph Oloba is a Lecturer at the School of Business, LivingStone International University (LIU) in Budaka, Uganda. He holds an MBA [finance] graduate, whose focus is on financial literacy, recordkeeping, and data. Since 2021, he has facilitated the introduction of new recordkeeping systems at Harding Christian Academy, Jinja. He founded Fellows Analytics in 2020, a network of individuals that provide data & recordkeeping services to researchers, scholars, businesses, and other individuals. He has also introduced ikopaFARM, a vibrant force that envisions economic progress for every African farming community through VSLA Training, Loans, and Research. Since 2018, he has been the Treasurer for the LIU’s Research & Grants Committee and he has served as the Technical Advisor on Curriculum Design and Development since 2019. From 2018 to 2021, he consulted with Wise Choices for Life in recordkeeping and worked with CRDI in training community leaders on business planning and financial literacy. From 2016 to 2018, he served as the Assistant to the Quality Assurance Director and as the Academic Records Manager at LIU. He has assisted more than 50 Masters Graduates and more than 5 PhDs as a research Data Analyst. Over the years, he has also assisted Uganda Christian University and Soroti University with technical expertise in curriculum design, evaluation of teaching and learning, as well as the design of students’ transcripts for Trinity Biblical Institute. His vision is to witness financially successful farming communities in Africa.

Martha Awati

Student of Business Administration, LivingStone International University, Uganda

Awati Martha holds a National Certificate in Human Resources attained from the Management Training and Advisory Center (MTAC) in Nakawa. Martha has previously worked with the HIV/AIDS Support Network Mbale as a Counselor. She is currently pursuing a Diploma in Business Administration at LivingStone International University. She is also the current Chairperson of the Student-led Savings and Loan Association Project at LivingStone International University, which was started in October 2022 with a few students that were facing financial constraints in terms of meeting tuition dues and other finances related to student life at Campus. In this project, students save and borrow from each other through the Savings group. She is also serving as a Volunteer with Red Cross Mbale, since May 2022.