Meeting with our client

Today was our first day of formal client meetings.  The group working with the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) presented their work team in the morning and did an excellent job.  They will be working on integrating Information and Communications Technology into the curriculum development process, creating a framework for global partnerships, and benchmarking global best practices in the area of curriculum development.

Meetings in Kenya are an interesting affair.  You must take time for greetings and introductions before getting down to business.  Developing a personal relationship is very important in business here.  Tea is also a very important part of most meetings.  It’s a lovely tea usually brewed with milk, and often accompanied by some snacks such as little cakes or mandazi, which are delicious little pastries similar to a beignet.

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After a good lunch at the KICD, we went on to have our first face to face meeting with our client the Department of Youth Training.  This department was formerly part of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, but with the recent change in government administration, it has just become part of the Ministry of Education.  I’ll go into more details on our project later, but our primary mission is to draft a policy document on Youth Polytechnics in Kenya, and the hope is that this will become an approved government policy and eventually law.  In addition to this, we are looking at best practices for vocational education within Kenya and abroad, and working to develop a framework for benchmarking with other institutions.

Our primary client sponsor is Dr. Dinah Mwinzi, and she is a true visionary whose passion for her work is contagious.  We presented our initial work plan to her and her broader client team, and it seemed to be well received so we were pleased with the day.  We are all very excited to work with her and her team.

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Our team with Dr. Mwinzi

Dr. Mwinzi also gave us a presentation on the status of Youth Polytechnics in Kenya.  It’s clear that the Department of Youth Training has done an incredible amount of work in a short period of time since 2007 advancing vocational education in Kenya.  The programs have enrolled over 100,000 trainees, employed 3000 instructors, developed new consistent curriculums, and won an MDG Award on Youth Empowerment In Agribusiness.

There are still many challenges with vocational education in Kenya, however, and we hope that our work will play some small part in helping to address them.

Because we stayed a bit late with our client, we got caught in the Nairobi traffic and it took us nearly two and a half hours to get back to our hotel.  We are definitely getting to experience the reality of Nairobi life!

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