Blogs

Alan Anderson

Kenneth D. Njoroge, an AMSEN student at the University of Nairobi, is a lonely voice calling for a stronger steel industry for Kenya – a country, like most in Africa, with only limited ore reserves and rudimentary steel technology. The country is almost entirely dependent on imported steel billets and local scrap to feed its small local industry, which produces mostly nails, wire, rebar, and pipes, and most of its industry is owned by Indian or other foreign interests.

Alan Anderson

Even in some of the more traditional academic areas, such as civil engineering, RISE students are finding innovative approaches to ongoing needs. For example, John Mwero, a PhD student at the University of Nairobi, faced the familiar challenge of building new, high quality buildings at lower cost and with reduced environmental impact.

Alan Anderson

Stanley Wambugu grew up in the Laikipia District of central Kenya, in the arid town of Ol-jorok. His parents were smallholding farmers who raised maize, beans, goats, sheep, and cattle. He went to the rather limited primary school in his home town, but had the good fortune to travel to the larger town of Nanyuki for high school. This town, some 125 miles north of Nairobi, is near Mt. Kenya.

Alan Anderson

Irene Kamanja of the University of Nairobi joins several other RISE students in pursuing a strong interest in traditional remedies – both for the good they can do and also the need to reduce the toxicity that many remedies bring. One Kenyan remedy is made from Clerodendrum myricoides, a common blue-flowered verbena used by traditional healers to treat venereal diseases, especially gonorrhea. But with its acknowledged effectiveness as a medicine comes its equally well-known toxicity; overdoses have been known to be fatal.

Alan Anderson

Joseph Mwanzia Nguta is clear about his objective in the field of natural products: “I would like to build a career of research to find safe, efficacious, and affordable cures for malaria.”

Alan Anderson

Bridging the gap between academic science and traditional healing is a ticklish but critical task. Many of the remedies used by herbalists and the people themselves are widely used and apparently useful, but the active ingredients are largely unknown.

Alan Anderson

Irene Naigaga’s mother was a midwife and her father director of a medical center, so it was often assumed by her family and neighbors that she would seek a career in medicine. “In fact I hated medicine,” she remembers. “At home a little girl with mental problems used to burn herself, and the only person she would let clean her wound was me. But I didn’t like doing it.”

Alan Anderson

Joseph Erume is unusual in several ways. Most prominently, he is the first postdoc to work at Makerere University. This is primarily because postdoc funding is extremely difficult to secure in sub-Saharan Africa. Second, he may be the only water researcher at Makerere (or perhaps anywhere else) to drink from the same spring he is studying for pollution.

Alan Anderson

John Odda recalls growing up as a “village boy” in the Tororo District of Uganda, where his father was a road overseer working for the Department of Public Works and his mother a housewife who was “really deep in folk medicine.”

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