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Where in the World? Kenya – For International, Interdisciplinary Student Learning Opportunities

Research associate Michelle Arnett and Sarah Toevs, director of Boise State University’s Center for the Study of Aging, recently completed an exploratory trip to western Kenya to identify international, interdisciplinary learning opportunities for students.

Students and local children in Kenya

July 11-23, the duo traveled from Nairobi to Kisumu, Funyula, Kakamega and Mt. Elgon National Park to establish connections with members of the Eco2Librium organization, the Vumilia Children’s Home, the Grandparent Embers Project and faculty at Masinde Muliro University in Kakamega.

These connections will serve as the foundation for future international learning experiences for students and faculty in the fields of public health, health sciences, environmental studies and engineering, among others.

The business model embraced by Eco2Librium addresses natural resource conservation and social inequities. The organization has developed several innovative products – including an energy efficient cook stove designed to reduce deforestation and improve air quality in the home, biomass fuel using waste from sugar cane processing and a solar-power business plan for individual, home-use applications.

Women making pottery in Kenya

Based on the partnerships forged during Arnett and Toevs’s trip, future student research projects could include: assessment of indoor air quality and health impacts of using the energy-efficient cook stoves; qualitative research on the impacts of cook stoves on quality of life; qualitative research on the impacts of micro-lending on family economic security; examining the impacts of carbon credit market on clean development and control of global emissions; teaching English to students living in the Vumilia Children’s Home; supporting grandparents raising grandchildren; or projects with students in sports science and health promotion through Masinde Muliro University.