A story by Joseph Jabu Mbudzya- Egerton University
When I began attending the PBL professional teacher training programme organized by the PBL-BioAfrica Project in early 2021, I did not know how the journey would be. I actually thought, it was such a boring idea to be taught how to teach when we were already teaching anyway. To make matters worse, the training was online perhaps due to the pandemic which restricted physical meetings.
However, as the amazing trainers (Ulla-Maija Knuutti and Eija Laitinen) took us through the course, I began to understand why it was critical to actively participate in the course. It was amazing to learn how we could create and maintain an inspiring teamwork-based learning environment to motivate students to actively participate in designing solutions for real-life problems. My participation in the AgriSCALE student challenge held in April 2022 at Egerton University also provided a practical experience for the PBL teacher training.
I received first-hand experience on how to create diverse student working groups by providing effective mentorship to the group as well as creating a good learning environment for the students. The idea of providing a platform for students to solve real-life challenges gained from these two great learning experiences motivated me to start a radio show dubbed “Kilimo Bora”. “Kilimo Bora” is a Swahili word loosely translated to Good Agriculture.
It is planned to be a one-year agricultural show hosted on Egerton Radio 101.7 FM / online streaming at https://www.egerton.ac.ke/radio.The show is also supported by the TAGDev program. Transforming African Agricultural Universities to Meaningfully Contribute to Africa’s Growth and Development’(TAGDev) is a partnership program between MasterCard Foundation and the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM). The program is implemented at Egerton University (Prof. Patience Mshenga is the Assistant Coordinator of the Program), Kenya, and Gulu University, Uganda.
The show is anchored on three main objectives; to enhance students' experiential learning, to supplement the university community engagement activities, and expose the students to the problem-based learning model. Students were recruited in a competitive process that sought to identify talented, self-driven, and academically excellent students. Students are usually paired with others from different courses based on assigned agricultural-related topics. The show premiered on Saturday, 7th May 2022, and airs every Saturday from 1000HRS to 1200HRS EAT. The show has so far benefited a total of 16 undergraduate and post-graduate students from the faculties of Agriculture, Education, Veterinary medicine, and Environment with a target of 45 students by the end of the project.
In addition to the radio show, the program also conducts monthly farm visits. These visits are conducted on individual or group farms. Students are involved in the identification of existing challenges facing farmers in the community. A pre-visit is conducted by the student and the mentor to ascertain the actual situation and collect data before they retreat to analyze and come up with possible solutions. The students thereafter visit the farmer(s) to communicate their findings. The program has so far conducted 9 radio shows and 2 farm visits. In totality, the program has directly and indirectly benefited over 5000 small-scale farmers in Nakuru county and its environs.