Mount Kenya University has won an international grant for the restoration of Brackenhurst forest in Limuru, Kiambu County.
The Sh110m Erasmus Plus grant was won by the university’s School of Pure Applied Sciences (SPAS). The school will carry out the grant’s terms of reference in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University (NTU) from the United Kingdom, and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
The grant will facilitate the assessment, documentation, and protection of indigenous medicinal plants at the forest, and determination of the medicinal components of the plants.
It will also be used in the determination of soil fertility, agroforestry, and tree species with a view of assessing food/fuel security. The impact of restoration of the forest on farming communities in Limuru will also be assessed.
Dr. Mary Muriuki, Dean, SPAS will be the MKU Lead researcher while Dr. Charles Warui will be the coordinator-cum- academic collaborator.
The grant’s activities will benefit both Postgraduate and undergraduate students. The students will be involved in the field and laboratory research. Ten students and six faculty members will benefit from an exchange program with NTU in the duration of the three-year grant period.
“I wish to congratulate the MKU SPAS for winning this grant,” says Dr Muriuki. “This project will not only benefit the University but the community at large since it addresses the issue of forests, which impacts on our climate.”
Another International recognition
In July 2020, the Thika-based institution also won the Talloires Network Innovative Civic Engagement Award for its efforts in improving the health of children and access to safe water during the COVID-19 pandemic.
MKU distributed over 10,000 water backpacks that provide access to safe water transport to thousands of people through a project titled “Co-creation strategies for improving the health of children and access to safe water in a time of crisis”.
MKU also advocated for the eradication of jigger infestations in Marsabit and Kilifi Counties, by treating over 1000 jigger infested pupils.
Other activities that were considered during the award included the involvement of MKU staff and students in community outreach programs and mobility programme.