Blogs

Alan Anderson

Ronald Okindo Onzago, an MSc student at the University of Nairobi, started his graduate studies at the same time as his friend Zachary Rukenya, in November 2010. He reminded us that he, like all the other RISE MSc students, is formally known as Dr. Onzago, which is earned in Kenya with the completion of a bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. And he, like Dr. Rukenya, has now finished his coursework and is preparing to enter the research phase of his program.

Alan Anderson

When we first spoke with Stanley Wambugu, he was still in the planning stages of his PhD project – to explore the herbal remedies being used to combat joint pain in his home region of Kenya. Since then, with the cooperation of a group of experienced herbalists, he has moved rapidly through the field studies required for his thesis. As early as the first months of 2011, he and his advisors submitted a paper describing his work to the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, published by Elsevier, and the paper was carried in the September 2011 edition.

Alan Anderson

Johnson Nasimolo is one of the few RISE students who grew up in a big city – in his case Nairobi. His mother told her children that “education is the only thing I can give you.” She made sure that they all went to school and studied hard, encouraging them at every step. With so much momentum, he achieved the family goal of higher education, earning a bachelor’s at the University of Nairobi.

Alan Anderson

James Kuria began his MSc studies in November 2010, along with his colleagues Zachary Rukenya and Ronald Okindo Onzago, all at the University of Nairobi’s Kabete campus. Like them, he grew up in a rural village, but much closer to the big city of Nairobi -- in Kiambu county, part of the Central Province just north of the capital. The village was far enough from the big city to lack modern medical facilities, however, and he, like the others, had been exposed since childhood to a variety of herbal practices.

Alan Anderson

After a solid first year of coursework, Zachary Muthli Rukenya is now beginning to prepare himself for the research phase of his RISE scholarship. Already he has received an impressive grounding of natural products from his academic experience.

He began in the College of Biological & Physical Sciences at the University of Nairobi’s Chiromo campus, where he was introduced to the fundamentals of natural products science: chemistry, biology, ethnobiology, interaction with the environment, and the estimated effects of climate change.

Alan Anderson

This is an update on an earlier profile here.

Since Joseph Mwanzia Nguta first offered us a tour of the University of Nairobi’s Upper Kabete Campus two years ago, he has made substantial progress. He is no longer a student but a fully employed assistant lecturer earning a regular (if modest) salary. He has received his PhD and become a valued mentor to current graduate students. He has become one of RISE-AFNNET's first postdoctoral fellows.

Alan Anderson

PhD student Gaymary Bakari works closely with Faith Mabiki at the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), both of them searching for herbal cures for major poultry diseases. While Faith is a chemist in the Department of Science who is working to isolate and identify the most efficacious chemical compounds of the natural products, Gaymary is a physiologist in the Department of Veterinary Medicine who tests the effectiveness and safety of various dosages, including clinical tests on living birds.

Alan Anderson

For Tanzania, whose economy is dominated by small farmers, new remedies for agricultural diseases are urgently needed – especially remedies that are affordable for a society gripped by poverty. Some of the worst agricultural diseases afflict poultry; a farmer's flock can be virtually annihilated in a matter of days by a scourge as contagious as Newcastle disease.

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