For a full list of alumni chapters and contact information please visit the alumni chapter section of the CSC website.
CSC Kenya alumni chapter launched
Report by Dr Maurice Oduor Okoth (Academic Fellow, Chemistry, University of Strathclyde), Chapter Co-ordinator
Kenya has joined other Commonwealth countries in launching its CSC alumni chapter. This colourful and eventful occasion took place on 21 February 2011 at the Sarova Stanley hotel in the heart of Nairobi. The meeting brought together 54 alumni and some current Commonwealth Scholars. The gathering not only displayed the rich Kenyan diversity and representation but also assorted professional backgrounds that the CSC has invested in and nurtured.
The plan to start a CSC alumni chapter in Kenya was mooted by Dr Maurice Okoth, a 2009 Commonwealth Academic Fellow at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, from where, coincidentally, he had earlier graduated with MPhil (1998) and PhD (2003). In October 2010, Dr Okoth, who is a senior lecturer of Chemistry at Moi University in Kenya, initiated communication with the CSC Alumni Officer, who helped him set up the chapter. A perfect opportunity for the chapter launch presented itself when it was confirmed that Dr John Kirkland, the CSC Executive Secretary, would be in Kenya in February 2010 to attend a conference. This was how the CSC alumni Kenya chapter was born.
The meeting started with a word of prayer, then self-introduction of all the members present, followed by opening remarks by Dr Okoth mainly on chapter formation background. Thereafter members had a brainstorming open forum session during which they put forth what they expected of the chapter. Some of the highlighted key issues were:
- the development of the chapter logo and constitution
- organising an annual dinner to bring together families of alumni
- hosting conferences and workshops
- being part of cooperative responsibility activities of affiliate organisations like the British Council, DFID, High Commission
- participating in exchange programmes
- discussion of how members can be goodwill ambassadors or advocates for the CSC
- member recruitment and networking among others
Election of office bearers was a relatively smooth exercise. The executive officials were elected as listed below;
- Dr Maurice Oduor Okoth (Coordinator)
- Ms Flacia Wanjiru Nyamu (Deputy Coordinator)
- Ms Lucy Waruguru (Events Officer)
- Mr Philip Waweru Mbugua (Membership Officer)
- Mr Joshua Ongwae (Regional Officer)
Other non-executive members are:
- Dr Rachel Rukaria (Member)
- Dr Hazel Gachunga (Member)
- Mr Jonathan Chelanga (Member)
- Ms Caroline Oyugi (Member)
The inaugural meeting had guests representing organisations that work with the CSC. In his remarks, the Royal Commonwealth Society representative Mr James Patrick Trefry Foster urged all relevant organisations (CSC alumni included) to come together and work towards improving the relationship between Kenya and the Commonwealth. The British Council represented by Mr Mutuku Nguli promised to second an officer from the Council to work with the CSC Alumni office. Ms Pauline Gangla has since been nominated by the Council.
In his keynote address as the chief guest of the inaugural meeting, Dr John Kirkland welcomed the formation of the CSC alumni Kenya chapter. He urged the new officials to steer the chapter to levels of policy formulation and decision making in the country. Dr Kirkland spelt out the challenges that the CSC faces and gave tips to the new chapter committee on how they can scale greater heights in lobbying for more fellowships and scholarships, in universities within Kenya.
The CSC Alumni Kenya chapter is up and running and soon it will roll out its activities. The chapter wishes to invite all Kenyans who have benefited from the prestigious award of a Commonwealth Fellowship or Scholarship, past and present, to join the network on Facebook page. The screen name is Commonwealth Alumni-Kenya. The chapter is also on email through email@example.com
The Alumni Kenya chapter is optimistic about its future and looks forward to being the most vibrant of all the CSC chapters worldwide. Special thanks to the CSC for supporting the launch.