The Kick-Off meeting for CEMEREM project was held on 14th -16th May 2016 at Taita Taveta University. Among those present included; the host Prof. Hamadi Boga, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Grischek- Team Leader, Germany (HTW-Dresden), Prof. Jan Bongaerts – TU Bergakademie Freiberg, and Dr.UlrikeFeistel- Project Coordinator, Germany.
The meeting which was used as a platform to officially launch the CEMEREM project attracted external stakeholders which included; Representatives from Ministry of Mining – Kenya, Taita Taveta County Government, Kenya Chamber of Mines, Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis, local mining companies and community based organizations.
In his introductory remarks, Prof. Boga appreciated the support from DAAD and other strong partnering Institutions in Germany that collaboratively worked together to initiate the CEMEREM project.
Prof. Boga said that, there is need for CEMEREM to be a unique model that will overcome bottleneck of weak integration of the existing German-African Academic Centers of Excellence into the Universities systems by seeking suitable and inclusive project ownership models.
Prof. Thomas Grischek gave a brief on the history of HTW-Dresden and the academic departments (8), placing emphasis on practice-oriented training (Fachhochschule). He remarked on the need to involve various departments to support the training of mining experts at TTUC, given the interdisciplinary nature of mining and resource education. He cited agriculture and soil and nutrient analysis as key examples of the focal teaching and research areas to target under CEMEREM. He declared that HTW-D is in CEMEREM for the long-term, with Kenya as the country of focus.
Prof. Jan Bongaerts took the participants through the rich history of TU-BAF, beginning with basic sciences in the 18th century and later advancing to mining and becoming the oldest mining university in Germany. A notable point was that more than 50% of TU-BAF’s budget is financed through research funding brought in by the staff.
Prof. Christine Onyango – Deputy Principal (Academic, Research and Outreach) presented on programme accreditation including the requirements, institutions, structure, and guidelines from the Commission for University Education (CUE). She explained on the Quality Assurance measures, including the quality-assurance policy on campus through student feedback and tracer surveys.
Dr Ulrike Feistel (CEMEREM Project Coordinator in Germany) presented the planned schedule and responsibilities towards achieving the curriculum-related deliverables under CEMEREM.
From the public policy research and analysis front, Hannah Wangombe from the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) challenged CEMEREM to strive to be the central repository of mining and mineral data, an impact-oriented skills development centre with alumni as part of the key assets, a key player in championing and implementing business models that attract market for unique products and tourism, and a centre that accommodates gender aspects including friendly infrastructure for lactating mothers who are students.
The stakeholders from various groups called for innovation and research-based culture to be an integral part of CEMEREM. It was noted that the Centre’s transformation into a centre of excellence would be accomplished through milestones as staff capacity and infrastructure development continue unabated.
The team plans to engage with various stakeholders to firm up working partnerships with CEMEREM, so that the centre can draw from the strengths and opportunities accruing from collaborations with government, think tanks such as KIPPRA, private sector, and community-based organizations.
The expected support is to run up to the year 2020, when CEMEREM is supposed to have been firmly established as a centre of excellence.