Kenyan Students in Germany
While Ustadi’s aim is to support Kenyan undergraduate students in studying at a German university, the organization of the financial means turns out to be difficult, since scholarships for undergraduates from outside Europe are rare. Especially in the the more foundational sciences, like physics, the traditional scholarship organizations offer no funding for such extended periods of time. In the past the exchange initiated successful stays of Kenyan Ph.D. students in German research organizations like the Helmholtz center, funded by DAAD. This led in turn to a well received summer school on solar cell development at the JKUAT (see below).
We are currently evaluating the possibility of a shorter type of exchange, where Kenyan master physics students would work during a one month stay in a German research group on topics related to their master thesis. Moving to more specialized scholarship organizations with more flexible conditions should hopefully help to fulfill also our long-time goal of two Kenyan master students per year studying in Germany.
Summer School at JKUAT
In 2007 the Berlin-Nairobi exchange e.V., the predecessor of Ustadi e.V., realised a summer school on cost effective photovoltaic research at JKUAT . The course, with lectures both from Kenya and Germany, provided a theoretical background and applied know-how for young physicists to advance research in the East African region. Over 30 graduate students from more than seven countries across East Africa attended lectures, seminars and experiments on solid state physics, material science and electrical engineering in the two weeks lasting course. The summer school was a collaborative project of the Hahn-Meitner Institute (now Helmholtz Zentrum) in Berlin, JKUAT and the Berlin-Nairobi Exchange and was fully funded by the Volkswagen Foundation.
Meeting of the Alumni
The former exchange students meet several times in a year. Then we bask in memories, discuss new political developments in Kenya and collect new ideas for the exchange. During these meetings new German exchange students can clarify their questions prior to their study visit in Kenya. They profit from broad knowledge and diverse experiences of the alumni that goes far beyond organizational issues.