ANSER - Kenya Collaboration Captivates the Kenyan Embassy Delegation to UGent


ANSER‘s presence captivated the Kenyan Embassy in Belgium delegation at the pitching of UGent research in Kenya event held on 17 May 2022, at the Het Pand in Ghent, Belgium. The event, organized by Dr. Annelies Verdoolaege, Coordinator Africa Platform Ghent University Association gave a platform for UGent professors to pitch their research in Kenya. The delegation from the Kenyan embassy was led by Mr. Evans Maturu, the Deputy Head of Mission. Accompanying him was: Mrs Peris Litunya, the Education Attaché and Mr. Weston Mbae the immigration Attaché and Josephine Njambi, the 2nd Secretary. UGent Vice Chancellor Prof Mieke Van Herreweghe graced the event by welcoming the delegation from the Kenyan embassy and stating the aim of the meeting: Ghent’s global collaboration activities, focusing on Kenya. Discussions centred on UGent’s involvement with various institutions and organizations based in Kenya. Presentations on UGent’s collaboration were made by program leads from various focus areas that included: Reproductive health, African Literatures, Biology, Bio-Engineering, Biotechnology, Food Safety and Mycotoxins and Biogeochemistry.

Emilie Peeters of UGent & Joyce Omwoha, from Technical University of Kenya were honored to present ANSER activities to Kenya. Emilie introduced the Academic Network on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Policy (ANSER); identifying the membership that includes four members from Kenya: the Aga khan University East-Africa, the University of Nairobi, the Technical University of Kenya and the International Centre for Reproductive health Kenya. She explained the activities the network executes to reach its goal to build evidence for SRHR policy making and gave three examples of what has been done specifically in collaboration with the Kenyan partners. First, the bi-annual ANSER Doctoral School that will be co-organised for the 2nd time in collaboration with representatives from the Technical University of Kenya and the University of Nairobi in October 2022. Second, the different activities were carried out to inform policy makers on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM) and the medicalization of it. Through a knowledge clip and a policy paper, several ANSER members worked together to inform policy makers on this complex issue. And third, a joint study ADAPT that was done to compare the Kenyan and Ugandan situation in SRHR policies for adolescents.

Joyce presented her perspective on ANSER as a Kenyan partner. She noted that ANSER’s partnership with the Global Mind Fund was a stepping stone towards her securing a Short Research Stay Fellowship at ICRH (International Centre for Reproductive Health), enabling her to strengthen knowledge and skills of how to conduct Sexual and Reproductive Health Research. She noted too that ANSER has provided an avenue for inter disciplinary collaboration; where, in her ongoing research on adolescents sexuality and discourses on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE); she inteds to collaborate with academics who are ANSER members from other Universities like Karolinska Institute, ITM Antwerp, AKU Kenya, and ICRH Mozambique. ANSER’S inter disciplinary collaboration also enabled Joyce to publish as one of the authors of a recent publication in the Reproductive Health Journal titled: A comparative human rights analysis of laws and policies for adolescent contraception in Uganda and Kenya. Here, inter disciplinary collaboration was made with other ANSER members from ICRH Ghent University, University of Amsterdam, Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development Uganda, and the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Clinical Pharmacology Utrecht, and the Technical University of Kenya.

The speech by H.E Kenya’s Ambassador to Belgium Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi was read by Mr. Maturu, the Deputy Head of Mission. The speech focused on global education and research networks that UGent has formed; commending the efforts of Ghent University and its Kenyan partners towards for their excellence in these areas.

The event ended with pomp at an informal reception organized by UGent.

Dr. Joyce Omwoha (Technical University of Kenya)