Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program Awardee
: School of Pure and Applied Sciences, Mount Kenya University
, Lecturer, Department
of Biological Sciences.
Project: A Collaborative Project focusing on Mosquito-Proofing Houses for Malaria Control in Kenya
Thika, May, 2018 – Mount Kenya University was selected by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP) to host an African Diaspora scholar from the United States to work with on a collaborative project on the mosquito-proofing of houses for malaria control in Kenya. The project will exploit the highly conserved mosquito host seeking behavior to inspire house designs that limit mosquito entry while maintaining the cultural values of African communities and enhancing shelter quality. Dr. James Mutunga will lead the project, together with Dr. Esther Obonyo, a Fellow from Penn State University in PA, USA.
Project goals and impact
Previous studies have shown that both full house screening and ceilings alone provide valuable protection against anemia and exposure to malaria transmission in Africa and therefore house modification is important in driving malaria towards elimination. In an effort to implement a house modification strategy in Mwea irrigation scheme at the slopes of Mount Kenya, the project intends to document the different house designs in a rice irrigation scheme; this will target areas where malaria mosquito numbers are found in high densities all year round. The project will undertake pilot installation of house modifications in selected homes within the study area using variable designs and assess efficacy in preventing mosquito entry and malaria transmission. The project will collect data on the internal environmental micro-climate conditions associated with different house modifications in comparison with non-intervention houses as a proxy for improved shelter conditions. We will also report on the community’s social acceptability and affordability to ensure sustainability of interventions.
The project is hosted by the Biological Sciences Department in the School of Pure and Applied Sciences (SPAS). As part of the project, the visiting fellow will hold a seminars with teaching and technical staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students in SPAS. Discussions will focus on project activities and findings, grant writing skills and scholarship opportunities in the USA. As a benefit to the community, the project will disseminate findings as brochures distributed through the County Department of Health. The project will engage other stakeholders for mass roll-out of identified and proven designs for mosquito proofing of houses. This will offer a benefit to the community in reducing the malaria burden while ensuring sustainability of the project initiatives.
The Mount Kenya University project is part of a broader initiative that will pair 55 CADFP scholarswith one of 43 higher education institutions and collaborators in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda to work together on curriculum co-development, research, graduate teaching, training, and mentoring activities in the coming months. The visiting Fellows will work with their hosts on a wide range of projects that include controlling malaria, strengthening peace and conflict studies, developing a new master’s degree in emergency medicine, training and mentoring graduate students in criminal justice, archiving African indigenous knowledge, creating low-cost water treatment technologies, building capacity in microbiology and pathogen genomics, and developing a forensic accounting curriculum. To deepen the ties among the faculty members and between their home and host institutions, the program is providing support to several CADFP alumni to enable them to build on successful collaborative projects they conducted in previous years.
The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, now in its fifth year, is designed to increase Africa’s brain circulation, build capacity at the host institutions, and develop long-term, mutually-beneficial collaborations between universities in Africa and the United States and Canada. It is funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in collaboration with United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) in Nairobi, Kenya, which coordinates the activities of the Advisory Council. A total of 335 African Diaspora Fellowships have now been awarded for scholars to travel to Africa since the program’s inception in 2013.
Fellowships match host universities with African-born scholars (individually or in small groups) and cover the expenses for project visits of between 21 and 90 days, including transportation, a daily stipend, and the cost of obtaining visas and health insurance. .
See full list of 2018 projects, hosts and scholars and their universities.