Launch of the Danida Kenya Alumni Network
Kenya is the latest country to establish a local chapter of the Danida Alumni Network. On February 8th 2018, about eighty former Danida fellows gathered at the Danish Ambassador’s Residence in Nairobi to establish a formal Danida Alumni Network in Kenya. The network’s goal is to further strengthen the bonds between Kenya and Denmark by promoting cooperation, networking and the sharing of ideas among professionals and Danish partners.
Since 2000, more than 1,100 Danida fellows have benefitted from further education and capacity training programmes planned and coordinated by the Danida Fellowship Centre. About 197 Kenyans are members of the Danida Alumni Network.
The event took place in the afternoon and featured discussions on various topics:
- “How far are we?” by Mr Philip Visendi Lumwamu, the Coordinator of the Danida Kenya Alumni Network (currently doing a PhD at Roskilde University)
- “An update on Danida alumni activities and possibilities”, by Ms Lene C. Mosegaard, Danida Fellowship Centre
- “The organisation of alumni networks and their benefits”, by Ms Dorothy Ansgar, the Coordinator of the Swedish Institute Alumni Network, Kenya
- “Collaboration between Danish and Kenyan universities”, by Professor Karuti Kanyinga (PhD in Social Sciences, Roskilde University in 1998)
- “Business opportunities between the alumni and Danish companies”, by Patricia Jumi of GrowthAfrica (MBA at Copenhagen Business School in 2008)
- ”Perspectives on Kenyan and Danish collaboration over the years”, by the Danish ambassador, Mette Knudsen
“Such an alumni network is a great advantage for the embassy. I see the Kenyan alumni as friends of Denmark and as Kenyan Danish ambassadors”, said Ambassador Mette Knudsen
Many good ideas on how to organise the network and its future activities came up during the group discussions. The overall opinion was that the promoters behind the Kenya alumni chapter should keep up the good work and continue as the coordinating committee until an election is held in one or two years.
Some of the ideas that came up are listed below.
- Create awareness and advocate for green growth, climate change, green technology, and renewable energy.
- Start targeted mentorship programmes in school/colleges.
- Hold capacity building trainings/workshops for the transfer of knowledge.
- Identify charities and give back to the community.
- Take up social activities such as visiting children’s homes or planting trees.
- Set up exchange programmes between countries to transfer knowledge.
- Set up exchange forums to promote food sovereignty, beyond food security, and farmers’ access to markets.
- Organise thematic study tours, e.g. about health issues.
- Hold education fairs with the participation of alumni and Danish universities.
- Involve alumni in relevant activities at the embassy or in connection with delegation visits.
The afternoon concluded with a reception where the participants were encouraged to actively engage with one another to ensure that they maintain a robust community that will further strengthen the existing bonds between the countries across different sectors.
“The residence grounds offered an ideal environment for both the official launch and the social interactions. It was a great pleasure to see alumni mingle and share pleasant memories of Denmark. The experience reminded me of the RUC (Roskilde University, ed) motto 'in fluctu vita' (“in movement there is life”), said the alumni coordinator, Phillip Lumwamu.
It is still possible to join the Danida Alumni Network in Kenya. The network is for current and former Danida fellows who have pursued Master's or PhD degrees, or completed qualifying courses for professionals at Danish institutions of higher and further education. You can register for the overall Danida Alumni Network here and for the Kenya Alumni Network by contacting Philip Lumwamu : email@example.com