University of Helsinki Scientists Visited ESSA Project Activities in Kenya

A distinguished team of scientists, including Professor Petri Pellika, Associate Professor Enrico Di Minin, and Dr. Kiflemariam Y. Belachew, embarked on a 10-day mission to Kenya from August 23 to August 31, 2023.
News in brief

The scientific team's visit revolved around productive discussions and interactions with ESSA project partners, primarily KALRO and EIAR, focusing on the following pivotal areas:

  • Progress Report and Funding Challenges: Addressed progress report and issues related to the release of funding by the European Commission (EC) to KALRO.
  • ESSA Knowledge Portal's Role: Exploring the ESSA Knowledge Portal's pivotal role in advancing Agropastoral Development.
  • Utilization of ESSA Outcomes: Harnessing the potential of ESSA outcomes for the efficient production of policy briefs.
  • Enhancing Project Communication: Strategies to enhance project communication and dissemination activities.
  • Stakeholders Workshop in Ethiopia: Streamlining engagement and dissemination enhancement strategies for the upcoming Stakeholders Workshop in Ethiopia.

As a result of these insightful discussions, action points have been proposed to drive future project executions forward.

The visit to icipe, led by Dr. Kiatoko Nkoba, proved to be particularly engaging. Significant strides have been made in diversifying honeybee and stingless bee populations within the agropastoral community. Consequently, icipe has developed a wide array of products derived from honeybees and stingless bees, designed for direct consumption, household use, and even cosmetic purposes. Similar visits were also conducted at ILRI and RCRMD.

In Taita Taveta, the team had a crucial meeting with the County Government Office on August 28, 2023, and representatives from the Voi City Municipality, including the Vice Governor's office. Discussions touched upon various topics, including the challenges posed by climate change and environmental issues, with a focus on data sharing with the University of Helsinki (UH). Policy briefs will be disseminated in both printed and physical formats. The team also raised the issue of studying the ecological impact of Prosopis juliflora. A platform for further discussion will be established through annual and quarterly meetings organized by the Taita Taveta Watershed Coordination Forum, with the first such meeting scheduled for October 17-18, 2023, in Voi town.

Furthermore, the team visited the field activities conducted by the Taita Research Station in both Taita Hills and Taveta lowlands, reaffirming that project activities are progressing according to the established plans.