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Thursday, Nov 14th

Partnership to equip Kenyan students with e-waste skills

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A UK based university known for its electronic waste management training worldwide has entered into partnership with nine institutions of higher learning in Kenya to train students.

This comes at a time when e-waste levels in the country hit 3,000 tonnes annually, owing to what is described as the high take up of ICT equipment in the increasingly tech-savvy nation.

Northampton University; therefore, hopes to work with Kenya's ministries of higher education, environment and mineral resources - together with environmental watchdog National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) - to help curb this issue.

The institutions of learning to assist in finding solutions to e waste include the likes of the University of Nairobi and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

While the lifespan of most personal computers used locally is three years, the computers find their way into local markets where they run for up to four more years until they stop working and are eventually dumped unsafely, say experts.

“Kenya is the first African nation we have started working with, although we are working developing nations from other continents. We hope to bring more African states on board,”said Prof Margaret Bates, the manager of the Centre for Sustainable E waste Management at Northampton university.

Under the agreement, there is planned to be an exchange programme, joint research, joint supervision and conferences among the involved institutions.

“Under the training programme with Northampton University, our students will also be equipped with skills of identifying personal computers and other electronic gadgets that are way past their sell by dates and offer Kenyans lessons on the environmental and economic dangers of keeping old electronics,”said Prof. Michael Watiri from the University of Nairobi.

The course will run for between one and half years and two years.

NEMA intends on collaborating with the trained students to install an e-waste factory that is said to sit on a 10 acre piece of land. The facility is planned to replace the only e-waste recycling plant in the country.

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