Improving Capacity, Quality and Access of Geoinformatics Teaching, Research and Daily Application in Taita Taveta County, Kenya (TAITAGIS)

Photograph: Tino Johansson. Participants of the final planning meeting at the Taita Taveta University College, Voi, Kenya.
Academic Disciplines Geography (geoinformatics), mining and geology, environmental sciences
Project Budget € 698 272, 11 with MFA funding, total project budget € 872 840, 13
Project Duration 1.3.2017 - 30.3.2020
Coordinating Institution University of Helsinki, Department of Geosciences and Geography
Contact Details Project director prof. Petri Pellikka, petri.pellikka@helsinki.fi
Partner Institution(s) Taita Taveta University (TTU), Kenya
Websitehttps://www.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/taitagis
Fact SheetTAITAGIS_fact sheet.pdf

Description of the Project

TAITAGIS project aims to develop Master’s degree programme in Geoinformatics for the young under and postgraduate students at the Taita Taveta University (TTU) (partner HEI), and building teachers capacity through Training of Trainers (ToT) education in Geoinformatics, which aims at improving technological and methodological capacities of the TTU staff members. This programme will also develop a Certificate programme in Geoinformatics for the Taita Taveta County stakeholders including in-service professionals working at the county government, corporate bodies, such as the Kenya Forest Service, ministry offices, research institutes, NGOs and CBOs in the county in Kenya.

By strengthening geoinformatics teaching, research and decision-making capacity in TTU and other stakeholder organizations in Taita Taveta County, staff members of these are better capable of collecting and analyzing environmental and climatic data and disseminate their findings to various policy makers. Based on this more accurate and relevant information, policy makers can make more informed decisions on regional planning, sustainable use of natural resources, adaptation to climate change, preparations for natural disasters and environmental protection.

The jointly developed Master’s Degree Programme in Geoinformatics and the Certificate Programme in Geoinformatics are expected to boost the use and application of geoinformation by different actors and sectors in forestry, agriculture, water resources, housing, health, education, and commerce to name a few. At the TTU emphasis is also given to entrepreneurship skills, which will ensure that the graduates from the programme are capable of establishing small and medium enterprises of GIS and geoinformation to serve local, regional and international clientele, bring growth to local economy and create employment especially for the youth.

Key Results to be Achieved

1. Improved access of postgraduates and life-long learners (experts from county government, research and development institutes, NGOs and CBOs) to Higher Education in Geoinformatics in the Taita Taveta County.

2. Improved research and teaching capacity of the teaching staff and postgraduates in Geoinformatics at the TTU through the new self-sustained high-quality MSc and Certificate programmes, which will train skilled experts to HEIs, county governments, research & development institutes and businesses as well as other sectors to give their contribution to the development of Kenya.

3. More trained scientists and GIS experts to cooperate with various research and development partners in the area.

The long-term impact of the developed MSc Programme and Certificate Programme in Geoinformatics will reach far beyond the Taita Taveta County. We expect the programmes to be self-sustaining after the project’s performance period (donor funding period) and serve as pilots of modern instructional design, high-quality syllabus and facilities in Geoinformatics research and teaching in Kenya. To put the words as one of the staff member from the TTU wrote: “If this collaboration becomes fruitful, Taita Taveta University could become a Hub for training GIS for Costal region and Northern Tanzania because we are not far from Moshi and Arusha where many Tertiary Institutions are located. Secondly this collaboration is because all the mapping activities are done in Nairobi. TTU can develop a Mapping Center to serve many individuals to save time on going to Nairobi.”