The Kisumu National Polytechnic Student’s Association last week underwent training on leadership at the St John’s Manor Hotel in Kisumu under the auspices of the institution’s administration led by The Dean Lucy Khoja. All department heads also participated in the workshop, a move that was aimed at sharpening their leadership skills within the divisions they run.
The two-day training that took place on August 3rd and 4th involved six sessions with various instructors including Dr Okumu Bigambo of Moi University who covered communication skills, Bishop Daniel Aoyi who spoke on leadership and integrity, Peter Abuto who discussed HIV/Aids control and prevention among others. “How you speak and present yourself before your stakeholders determines whether they will get and accept your message and if you’ll succeed in leading them through various initiatives. Communication therefore involves what you say, how you say it and how you look while saying it,” said Dr Bigambo in his discussions regarding messaging. Bishop Aoyi reminded the student leaders and department heads present that hard work and talent may elevate a person into leadership but it is integrity that will keep him/her in that position.
Others who addressed the gathering included the new deputy principal Mr. Lomolo and principal Joyce Nyanjom. “This workshop has been a great value addition exercise and everyone is leaving with something new that they have learned. I urge you all to share and implement the knowledge acquired during the training to improve your performance in your respective roles,” Mr. Lomolo said.
The annual workshop that usually takes place after the KINAPOSA elections aims at improving the skills of all leaders within the institution to enable them serve their stakeholders effectively and efficiently. “This event has been a success. It was well organized and attended and I’m proud of all the participants who took their time to be here. Every time I attend, I learn something new that touches me at a personal level,” said Ms Khoja.
The government is seeking ways of cutting down production costs in the textile sector in partnership with technical institutions around the country in its efforts to boost manufacturing as part of the Big Four Agenda. Speaking at Kisumu National Polytechnic last Friday when he held a roundtable meeting with textile industry entrepreneurs in the region to deliberate on how to rejuvenate the sector, Vocational, and Technical Training Principal Secretary, Dr Kevit Desai said the textile industry has been identified as one of the key drivers to help realize the industrialization goal of the big four agenda. “We are looking at the whole value chain of the sector to enhance production, competitiveness and revive the industry which has collapsed,” said the PS.
He said the meetings will examine the seed-to-shop problems that hamper development in the textile industry, such as high energy costs and limited markets. “Institutions such as the Kisumu Polytechnic, with its training and incubation hub, need to create the requisite skills to improve productivity … The more capacities within the industry, the more the right production techniques are utilized and this extends to marketing and value chains,” he added.
Dr. Desai revealed the government has boosted the competence of technical institutions to offer world-class training and research to improve the industry, pointing out that many have rolled out training courses and research to invigorate manufacturing. TKNP houses the Sh1.5 billion African Centre of Excellence in Textile that the World Bank-sponsored and will enroll students from across the region starting in 2019. The center is integral in the East African Community’s policy to phase out second-hand clothes beginning next year.
TKNP Principal, Mrs. Joyce Nyanjom revealed that the college has already introduced short courses covering textiles to build capacity for professionals seeking jobs in the industry. The programs will boost skills to improve productivity and creativity in the industry. “The biggest problem our SMEs face is lack of skills and we hope to address that through these programs,” she said.
Solomon Omondi Abeti is the indefatigable optimist, with a deep gaze expressing an honest, all-or-nothing demeanor. With Mr. Abeti, life is simple and straightforward, what you see is what you get.
Born in the hilly countryside of Kabondo in Homa Bay County, the lanky KINAPOSA secretary general became an orphan at an early age and was committed to Asumbi Orphanage from where he attended Suna Primary School then Wang’apala High School. He had to drop out from the latter institution in form 3 due to fee challenges after his sponsor pulled out. Thereafter he joined Owiro Mixed High School in Kabondo after the Deputy Principal Dismas Ombogo took him in and sponsored his education through form 3 and 4 where he graduated in the class of 2013. Thereafter he joined Bridge School International in Riga as an untrained teacher and held the position for a year. In early 2015 he moved to Gideon’s Orphanage to work as an administrator under Apostle Newton Atela. The same institution accepted his proposal seeking college sponsorship, allowing him to enroll at The Kisumu National Polytechnic in January 2016 where he joined the Business department.
“All these trials and tribulations helped me discover that I have a passion for servant leadership, a sentiment that propelled me to become class representative the year I joined TKNP,” he says. His experiences as a representative also helped him identify the gap in leadership that came about due to selfishness among executives. He wanted to vie for the Secretary’s post in 2017 but stepped down for Bruce Ochieng who didn’t succeed. This year he consulted and strategized with other students in his department and decided to vie for the post, “I want to serve the student’s interests very well, standing firm with my colleagues and working with the administration, not fighting against them. I also want to lay a firm foundation in this post for future office holder”, he says.
His top priorities as secretary include uniting KINAPOSA leaders to speak in one voice; ensuring students get subsidized and affordable meals as happens in other institutions and to re-establish the role and importance of the student union. In his first 100 days in office he hopes to get KINAPOSA leaders to speak in one voice through weekly executive meetings and a fortnightly general assembly as happens in other colleges; he also hopes to secure subsidized meals for students via a union controlled canteen at the Student’s Centre Hall in partnership with the administration.
“If I can secure these simple but powerful developments for the students, whoever takes over from me will inherit a powerful and useful office”, he says.
Musa Ochieng Rabong’o, 23, is a cool and calculating young man who speaks in measured words and tones, rarely getting excited, but always making his point. His demeanor fits his preferred career, an accountant in the business department since joining The Kisumu National Polytechnic in September 2016. Rabong’o spent his childhood in South Nyanza, studying at Yogo Primary School in Rangwe then Migori Boys, from where he graduated in the class of 2015. He fondly remembers his high school years when he played soccer for the school team as a defender and how the team won the Migori zonal championships in 2014.
Once he was in TKNP he came to realize that the first step to KINAPOSA leadership was by becoming a class representative, which he quickly achieved in his first semester. It is from this position that he witnessed firsthand, student complaints about funds misuse, erratic internal bursary distribution from the union and diversion of union funds to executive entertainment. It is this fiscal indiscipline within the last two KINAPOSA offices that inspired him to help students take charge of their funds and spend them well
The treasurer’s top priorities over the next 12 months is to bring transparency to students’ funds by sharing financial details through open collaboration with other KINAPOSA executives, enhancing accountability to students about their funds. “I also want to introduce equity in funds allocation because previously some KINAPOSA departments and student initiatives never got support simply because the treasurers didn’t get along with the leaders,” he says.
In his first 100 days in office he hopes to rejuvenate the internal bursary scheme for students and make it a regular and predictable benefit. He also hopes to change the student entertainment location in partnership with the entertainment secretary, from Lakers restaurant on Busia Road to Jumuia Hotel which is closer to TKNP, more spacious and safer.
For John Achola Ouma, 26, life has always been a tale of struggle and triumph over adversity. The first born son in a family of two, he became an orphan in 2003, after his father’s death, a situation that left him and his younger brother in the hands of relatives and well wishers. Ouma attended Lianda Primary School in Awendo, Migori before joining Kanga High School, an institution he only enjoyed for a year before dropping out due to lack of school fees. A year later he joined Manyatta High School where he eventually completed his secondary education, doing his KCSE in 2011. At Manyatta his outstanding performance earned him the Assistant Headboy position while in Form 3 and 4, enabling him to exercise the leadership roles he would later apply in college. From 2012 to 2015 he worked at Ogenya Girls as an untrained teacher, holding the post until he had saved enough money to join college. Eventually he joined Kisumu Polytechnic in 2016 and enrolled into the Civil Engineering class, deferring in 2017, to resume studies this year. “My inspiration to leadership is my uncle Nicholas Koriko who is the Finance CEC in Homa Bay County. I also have a passion for serving the community, especially the vulnerable who suffer hardships like I did earlier in life”.
The ever smiling Ouma has four goals he is determined to achieve within KINAPOSA over the next 12 months. First is to improve communication between the association and the students about projects and initiatives, unlike previous executive offices that kept silent about their activities. Second, he hopes to broaden the revenue sources for KINAPOSA through income generating initiatives such as a student operated canteen and student run tuck-shops that operate from early in the morning to late at night as happens in universities across the country. Third, he wants to coordinate with the administration to secure external accommodation and affordable transportation for students to minimize commuting costs and times. Finally, Ouma wants to forge leadership linkages with student associations in other institutions of higher learning so as to pick ideas that can improve life for poly students. On top of this the chairman hopes to have security improved in and around the institution within his first 100 days in office.
The new chairman’s biggest desire on the job is to leave a tangible legacy that students can see and remember for years to come. “Many of my predecessors never delivered on all or some of their promises. You just can’t see what they did after all those years. I hope to change that”, he declares.
John Ouma Acholla is the new chairman of the Kisumu National Polytechnic Student’s Association. The Building Department student beat his closest competitor Evance Owino Ojwang by 485 to 454 votes to emerge the winner after a grueling campaign that saw candidates pulling all stops to secure victory. He will now take over with his running-mate Lavendah Ethel Namunzi of the Business department in a combination that is likely to yield balanced representation in the student’s body.
Solomon Abeti Omondi won the contest for the Secretary General’s post with 589 votes in a tight contest that saw Bob Wasonga Nyakiti emerging second with 568 votes. In finance Bernard Rabong’o from the Business department sailed in unopposed and will form join the triumvirate of student leaders along with other representatives.
This election marked the second year running when the Kisumu National Polytechnic has held an electronic vote, distinguishing itself as a leader in Information Technology and democratic processes within the country. The exercise began on schedule at 7 am with polling centers scattered across eight departments of the institution and was to end at 4 pm but was extended for an hour after a surge in voter numbers immediately after classes ended. Security officials reported no incidents of violence, malpractices or illegal campaigning as the student fraternity displayed maturity and focus.
“I urge all who participated to remember one thing we said in the morning: only one winner can emerge from an election contest and that is what has happened. To those who lost, accept it graciously or use the correct channels to express your grievances. To those who won, be gracious and work with your rivals and everyone else to improve the polytechnic. Even Uhuru reached out to Raila after last year’s hotly contested elections,” said Principal Joyce Nyanjom amidst laughter in the tallying centre where aspirants gathered for the results.
The student leaders will be sworn in tomorrow Saturday, June 9, 2018 at 10 am and will then commence a term that lasts one year.
FIND BELOW A PARTIAL LIST OF WINNERS
- Internal Security – Ochieng Alloys Okumu
- Entertainment and culture – Aketch Odhiambo Maxwell
- Health – Ilary Opiyo Shem
- Sports – Nyarath Baridi Brian
- Assistant Academic Affairs – Jaka Pauline Kwekwe
- Academic Affairs director – Ochieng Brian
- Assistant Finance – Ouma Adhiambo Edna
- Finance – Bernard Rabong’o
- Deputy Sec Gen – Oluoch Brian Otieno
FOR A CONCLUSIVE LIST INCLUDING DEPARTMENTAL REPRESENTATIVES, KINDLY VISIT THE DEAN’S OFFICE
Campaigns for the Kisumu National Polytechnic Students’ Association reached their climax today as aspirants intensified their vote hunts ahead of the elections scheduled for tomorrow June 8, 2018.
Candidates approached voters using an array of innovative wooing strategies in a bid to tilt the support base in their favor ahead of the exercise that begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. With crowds of cheering supporters backed with banners and posters, aspirants combed the nooks and crannies of the institution in search of voters who for once became masters of the leadership game. Blaring vuvuzelas, whistles and drums rent the air as competitors engaged each other in a show of strength. Well endowed candidates even brought along vehicles mounted with speakers to convey their message to voters. The aspirants who only a day earlier concluded vetting and hit the campaign trail gave speeches about their plans for the student body, seeking to surpass the performance of their predecessors whose terms come to an end immediately after the election.
Voting will be through electronic secret ballots with registered electors expected to cast their votes at their respective departments. “Each candidate is expected to be stationed at the Hospitality Building throughout the exercise and must have one agent at all the polling stations, which are eight in number. There, they can observe the live streaming of results because every time a ballot is cast, the variation will reflect immediately”, said Lucy Khoja, the dean of students.
This election marks the second occasion when the institution has used electronic voting after introducing it in 2017, providing a platform for students and candidates to participate in a free, fair and transparent exercise devoid of complaints and mistrust.
“The results will be announced at 4 pm, immediately after voting closes and the swearing-in of the winning candidates will take place the following day”, Mrs. Khoja added.
A total of 44 candidates are fighting it out for 13 posts with only 23 expected to win and form the student’s body.
The Technical, Vocational, Education Director Dr. Meshack Opwora commissioned Mechanical Engineering equipment worth Sh130 million at the The Kisumu National Polytechnic yesterday.
The equipment includes lathe machines, moulding machines and other equipment. “I am happy to preside over the official commissioning of the modern mechanical engineering equipment here,” said Dr. Opwora, adding that the equipment is part of various machines that the Government of Kenya procured for Technical Training Institutions across the country at a cost of Sh16.7 billion.
“Modernization of equipment at the polytechnics will enhance vocational and technical training in order to equip Kenyans with skills to create employment opportunities. This is the best way to prepare the youth to compete effectively in the job market” Dr. Opwora added, saying the Ministry of Education is committed to mainstreaming technical and vocational training in its education systems to provide skilled manpower to meet the nation’s technological needs.
“As a Polytechnic we would like to assure you that the equipment commissioned today will facilitate acquisition of knowledge and skills that will prepare the trainees here to meet the challenges of life outside this institution. We will endeavour to utilize the equipment both for training and manufacturing,” said TKNP principal Joyce Nyanjom. She also pointed out the need for more equipment and additional learning facilities to match the increased enrollment rate at the institution, “We appreciate the support from the Ministry, however we also note that with the ever increasing student numbers the Polytechnic still experiences shortages of equipment especially in Building and Civil Engineering department,” said added
Dr. Opwora urged students to take advantage of the Government’s commitment to expanding technical education to get the necessary skills needed in the job market. “We cannot import skilled manpower working on important projects like the Standard Gauge Railway, geothermal energy, roads construction…because of shortage of artisans and technologists in the local market. Our students must understand that for them to succeed they require skills which are critical for personal progression and that of the country not a university degree,” he said.
The Kisumu National Polytechnic was privileged to host Principal Secretary in the State department of Technical and Vocational Education and Training Dr Kevit Desai who visited the institution and met with leaders and stakeholders to share his plans for the TVET industry.
During the meeting Dr Desai requested industry stakeholders to partner with technical institutions in curriculum development to produce students with skills that would give them the competency necessary to deliver as expected, “when we partner with industry and incorporate their skills demands in the curriculum, it significantly reduces the duration fresh graduates have to adapt to work” Said Desai.
The PS explained that his remarks were a response to concern of industry players on the duration it took TVET graduates to adapt to industry and work independently, “they have to retrain them to use these machines. The gap can be filled by working closely with industry to understand their needs and accommodate these in the curriculum development process,” he said.
Dr Desai’s visit coincided with the National TVET fair for Science, Technology Innovations for Sustainable Developmentand Robotics contest where various qualifying institutions from the regional clusters came together to compete and share skills. Among those that participated were technical institutions from Western, Eastern, Nairobi and Coast. The Kisumu National Polytechnic exhibited its best innovations from the Liberal studies, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering departments to represent the Western region.
TKNP is among the two TVET institutions that the PS visited in the region to share views together with industry players and get a grassroots view after he recently joined the Ministry. Dr Desai holds a PhD in Robotics Control Systems Engineering from Shibarura Institute of Technology (SIT) Japan.
TKNP Chief Principal Joyce Nyanjom explained that the institution has already engaged industry players and visited them to assess their skill-requirements in order to understand the skills gap, “We have brought on board Equator Bottlers, Kibos Sugar and even Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company and hope to build a strong working relationship in support of the competency based training and in curriculum development”, she said.
Mrs Nyanjom appreciated the PS for choosing TKNP as an institution of excellence to share his views, industry partners for attending the meeting and the council members for their continued support and cooperation in the development of the institution.
In attendance were local industry players, entrepreneurs, the Governing Council and the staff of TKNP. Present at the meeting and representing the industry was Kibos Sugar Factory Managing Director Peeyush Kotia who welcomed the initiative and commended the Ministry and the institutions for the move to develop a competency- based curriculum. “We appreciate the efforts to involve industry in curriculum development, this shall reduce our training costs and improve the absorption rate of the graduates in these courses,” he said.
Dr Desai crowned his tour by touring the institution and visiting the robotics contest where various institutions showcased their mastery in the creation of robots according the year’s theme: Disaster Operation recovery Process. The institutions were to create robots to help in disaster mitigation and management , “ The robots are programmed to handle the rescue mission efficiently by detecting and moving along a path, clearing objects and finally evacuating the casualties,” explained Mr Ochieng Odek, the Robotic Contest Coordinator who is also the Research and Development Coordinator for TKNP.