Varsity plays key role in Chama Awards
Mount Kenya University played a key role in the success of the inaugural Chama Awards 2014. The university was the knowledge partner in East Africa’s premier competition for investment groups, which was organized by Rafiki Microfinance Bank.MKU’s pivotal role included developing criteria for selection of the winners, as well as being part of the judging panel.
Mount Kenya University Chancellor Prof. Victoria Wulsin during The Chama Awards presentation. She is joined by MKU Officials who were among the judging panel for the awards; The Head judge was Prof. Peter Wanderi MKU Director of Quality AssurancePremium Ventures Kenya Limited, a company that rose from the ashes of the Westgate Terror attacks in Nairobi, won Ksh1 million and an acre of land. There were over 24,000 entries in the competition that attracted “Chamas” from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, South Sudan and Rwanda.
“I congratulate the Rafiki Microfinance Bank team for a job very well and very professionally done,” said MKU VC Prof. Stanley Waudo in a speech read on his behalf by Prof. Evans Kerosi, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Campuses. “I wish to assure you of MKU’s continued support not only in this initiative but in other projects in future with the view to benefiting Kenyans.”
MKU’s involvement in the Chama Awards followed the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the bank. The university has over the last few years established mutually beneficial MoUs with several institutions.
“Such partnerships are aimed at putting synergies together in support of the micro and small enterprise development in Kenya in order to create more jobs, and increase productivity and income security as very well expressed in the theme, Power of Many,” said Prof. Kerosi.
Investment groups (or Chamas as they are popularly known), have been credited with boosting entrepreneurship and fighting unemployment through pooling of resources. MKU has established some initiatives such as the Enterprise Academy with the aim of developing a model to train the MKU alumni and other youth to be “job creators not job seekers.”
“There is a dire need in Kenya to develop conducive policy, legal, and regulatory environment, infrastructure and entrepreneurship spirit through improvement of Medium and Small Enterprises’ productivity, access to capital, access to markets and market information, as well as encouragement of their formalization,” added Prof. Kerosi.
Bob Karina, the Vice Chairman of Nairobi Securities Exchange, said Chamas “ will be the next big tools for economic transformation in the society.” Other winners during the glamorous event held at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, included Coast-based Umoja Muslim Women Group (Most Innovative Investment and Best Investment Group in Social Responsibility), Bethosawa Development and Investment Ltd (Fastest Growing Investment) and Zephania Gitau, Chairman, East African Cables, who bagged the Lifetime Achievement Award.