ST. JOHN’S, NL
– The partnership between College of the North Atlantic (CNA) and Kenya Education for Employment Program (KEFEP) has proven to be beyond the expectations of a group of educators from Kenya following their visit to Newfoundland and Labrador, and they will put into practice many of the things they have learned while they were here.
CNA hosted a six-member delegation from post-secondary institutions in Kenya, as part of the KEFEP, an initiative of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan).
KEFEP supports technical and vocational training for young people across Kenya. The initiative is designed to build the capacity of government agencies and Kenyan polytechnics in delivering high quality, relevant and accessible training programs for youth.
After spending time at New Brunswick Community College (NBCC), CNA’s partner on this project, the six-member group came to Canada’s most easterly province and primarily toured the Avalon region. Highlights of the trip included tours of Prince Philip Drive and Ridge Road campuses; presentations from CNA’s faculty and staff on matters such as curriculum and program development, as well as the industry engagement process and techniques; tours of local industry partners, Hickman Motors and Lemur Vehicle Monitors; tree plantings hosted by both the City of St. John’s and CNA; classroom and shop shadowing; and, a generous donation from Telus Mobility of new iPhones for the visitors.
For Joshua Kalola, Principal of North Eastern National Polytechnic in Garissa, Kenya, this was his first time coming to Canada. The visit provided information beyond his expectations, and was solidified by the warm hospitality and welcoming culture of the local people. His delegation was happy for the chance to pay a reciprocal visit to their Canadian counterparts.
“The purpose of our visit was to see what happens in the training institutions that we are visiting while in Canada,” he said. “We visited College of the North Atlantic and we were able to see so many things. When we compare the training programs that we give and the training programs that are given here, they are almost similar. But the problem that we have is that our training programs are not as equipped as you have here. We have been able to see loads and loads of equipment and training of jobs. We have been able to see state-of-the-art equipment in most of the workshops that we have visited and compared it to our institution. It was a very fruitful and successful venture that we’ve had here.”
“We have enjoyed this trip – I can call it a dream,” said Geoffrey Maina, Head of the Mechanical Department at North Eastern National Polytechnic. “It’s a good experience that we have had. Thank you very much for the warmth and the welcome to make us feel at home away from home.”
The group agreed in conversation amongst themselves that the partnership between the industry and the college is strong, and is something they want to emulate in their own country. They have committed to do whatever they can to make sure the project is successful.
“We promise we will do whatever we can within our ability to make sure we can deliver on this project, and we’ll make you proud,” smiled Vincent Otieno, Lead Faculty of Electrical Engineering with Kabete National Polytechnic in Nairobi, Africa.
Elizabeth Vincent, CNA’s Director of International, and her team helped in the preparation of the Kenyan visit, and spent the week with them. At one of their gatherings, she praised the group for their dedication to their careers and to the project overall.
“We realize you are all brilliant, nice, smart people,” she said to the group. “You have the education. You have the desire. You have the attitude. Right now, you are the engine of change. You are the ambassador for your campuses and for your country, and we are delighted to be working with you and to have you as our partners. I have no doubt that we are going to be successful. Building on what the principal said, always remember it’s good to have donations and gifts, but it’s about time – spending time together. We really appreciate it, both the time we spent with you in Kenya, but also the time you’ve spent with us here. We want you to know that you have a home here with us, and we will be successful.”
College of the North Atlantic