ITCER e.V. (2017) and ITCER Kenya (2018) are non-profit, privately sponsored partner organisations in the tertiary education sector, focusing on science and academic learning in an international training centre in Siaya County in Western Kenya (see Location).
East Africa’s natural ecosystems are rapidly degrading due to unsustainable exploitation and mismanagement resulting from an unpreceded human population increase combined with land use practices that are not sufficiently adapted to global change challenges. Identifying solutions to the environmental problems requires a new class of managers with practical skills that enable timely identification and assessment of current and emerging indicators of unsustainable land use practices, which lead to land degradation.
- To offer high quality, use case-based training in environmental sciences for postgraduate students (MSc and PhD level) from Kenya and neighbouring countries.
- To act as an outreach centre for concepts and materials to implement up-to-date environmental knowledge in tertiary institutions as well as to inform key actors and the local community in Kenya and its neighbour countries.
Higher education curricula in institutions of higher learning, which currently focus on theory, have a gap in teaching of practical skills in newest methods. ITCER will fill this gap by providing relevant training units that combine practical expertise with skills for detection, quantification and analysis of environmental variables critical for sustainable ecosystem management. ITCER will launch a locally and internationally accredited training programme with courses designed to address current and future environmental and ecological challenges of the region, such as Biodiversity: Sustainable Use and Conservation; Water Quality and Soil Management; Climate Change and its Consequences; Landscape and Hydroscape Restoration; Human health and Ecosystem Services; Pollution and Remediation; Environmental Data Management; and many more. In general, the addressed topics are defined around the Sustainable Development Goals and the regional government agenda, including Africa 2063.
Educational Concept and Planning
ITCER bases its educational programme on lecturers mainly from Germany, but not exclusively, who voluntarily share their specific expertise in particular state-of-the-art methods used in environmental research to students from Kenya and its neighbouring countries. Courses are short-term and will take place at the training centre including lab and field work. The lecturers provide detailed information on their course offer, which will be assessed by a management committee comprising Kenyan and German ITCER members for conforming to the ITCER statutes and for quality control. Interested students are welcome to apply for a certain course and are selected based on their background. For needy students, fee structure may be subsidised based on need and available funds. Accreditation of the course programme by the Commission for University Education (CUE; Nairobi, Kenya) is strongly aspired to issue certificates showing credit points that are recognized by the students’ home universities. Evaluation of the actual course programme and student admission is constantly administered by the management committee.
The envisaged Academic learning programme is three-fold, as we will offer
- Teaching modules over a period of 2 weeks with up to 15 MSc and PhD students per course: these training courses combine diagnostics and measures by conveying skills in newest methods and their application in particular use cases.
- One-day educational seminars to target groups informing and sensitizing them on state-of-the-art methodologies and approaches, and on relevant scientific outcomes.
- Selected scientific talks and engagement with the local community to encourage participation in ITCER’s work on socially relevant issues of conserving and restoring the natural environment.
In addition, based on demands arising from the targeted training and the cooperation with universities in Western Kenya and beyond, scientific projects may be identified driving the use cases-based training approach to a further, more intense level of capacity enhancement in Kenya and its neighbouring countries.
Examples of Training Courses
ITCER courses offer training and skills in the fields of vegetation science and conservation, plant pathology and parasitology, omics-driven microbial ecology, soil science and hydrology, biological informatics and data management, GIS-analysis and remote sensing.
- Biodiversity and Conservation (cellular, species, and ecosystem levels) ... morewill centre around disseminating knowledge on restoration of degraded lands and declining native species, addressing questions related to invasive species and assessment of environmental health and ecosystem services of the existing ecosystems. The training will introduce techniques for quantifying ecosystem functions and structure.
- Soil and Water Conservation ... morewill address soil ecology, engineering, chemistry, and hydrology. Training is intended to provide sustainable solutions to the various forms of pollution and will be designed along biological control mechanisms. For instance, microorganism-bioremediation experiments for controlling plastic pollution in the environment will be conducted using fungi and bacteria to demonstrate the ability of the microorganisms to degrade plastics.
- Environmental Data Management ... morewill focus on data integration and management in environmental research. The complete workflow and data pipelines are explained based on use cases and by applying the free open-source software tool Diversity Workbench (DWB) with its various components and particular strength of implementing data standards. The training covers particularly the setting-up of a database from scratch, data exchange formats, schemas and data transformations as well as the DWB GIS tools for working with and managing georeferenced data.
Apply for a Course
(Functional as soon as training courses are announced)
Membership and Donations
ITCER welcomes everyone interested in contributing to the training and communication of environmental science relevant for local communities in East Africa. As non-profit organisation in the tertiary education sector, ITCER’s functioning depends on a lively community of active, academic and non-academic members and on financial support by the members and by donations. Financial resources are required for site management, further construction and equipment, as well as the support of training course participants.
Building I 20.01.2021
Building I 17.03.2020
Building I 25.05.2021
Water tanks 09.02.2021
Water tank tower 25.05.2021
ITCER staff to start activities 14.11.2020
ITCER staff to start activities 14.11.2020
Secretary room 20.05.2021
The Laboratory 21.05.2021
Seminar Room 20.01.2021
Seminar Room, Furniture Prototypes 10.07.2021
Round Table Discussion Meeting with Western Kenya universities’ representatives 12.02.2020
Inspecting the Land 17.05.2016
ITCER Site – S view 25.05.2025
The ITCER facilities are developing with time. While the plot of land was purchased in 2016 and construction of the first building (hosting lab and seminar room) started in June 2018 (both financed via private financial means), the final finishes to the building are expected for mid-2020. This allows us to now begin developing and arranging for the academic learning programme in collaboration with universities in Western Kenya and with responsible governmental bodies. In order to run the courses (the first foreseen in 2nd half of 2020), first donations are sought for equipping “Building I” with IT and scientific laboratory equipment. In addition, more funding will be required to build a dormitory and later also a lecture hall (see Donation).
LOCATION OF TRAINING CENTRE
ITCER is placed in Ng’iya along the road leading to Nyang’oma Kogelo. As such it is located in Siaya County in Western Kenya, 60 km by road from Kisumu at Lake Victoria (see Site map).
The location is characterised by a developed public infrastructure (transport, water, electricity). The site can be reached by public transport, and internationally from the airport in Nairobi with domestic flights to Kisumu. ITCER is placed in proximity to diverse natural ecosystems such as savanna, rainforest, and wetlands, which serve as training grounds for the field work.
ITCER e. V.
A non-profit association according to the German law
Seat of the association in Bayreuth, Germany
Registered by Amtsgericht Bayreuth in July, 2016
95444 Bayreuth, Germany
IBAN: DE02 7735 0110 0038 0896 11
A non-profit NGO according to the Kenyan law
Seat of the association in Siaya, Kenya
Registered by NGO Coordination Board Nairobi in September, 2017
P.O. Box 300
Siaya 40600, Kenya