By KATTI Writer
In March last year ,since the first Covid-19 case was reported in Kenya, the government moved swiftly to contain the spread of virus by closing down all learning institutions across the country.
This closure meant that over 18 million trainees across the country whose learning were thrown into limbo threatening the loss of education gains and the implementation of a new competency based curriculum.
While other students resorted back into their villages, a group of science student from the Kisiwa Technical Training Institute invented a new idea that will place their institute into global arena.
Edinah Wamalwa, Emily Waliama and Sylvia Wabomba saw an opportunity to tackle the virus heads on.
“We approached our Head of Department and suggested that we have an idea that will help not only the institute but also the entire Bungoma County. We invented our own hand sanitizers, hand soap and fumigation liquid which are key in the fight against Covid-19 as per the government instructions, “says the students.
Under the leadership of George Makokha, the Head of Applied Sciences at the institute, the trainees’ innovations unlocked the institute’s entrepreneurial drive.
“With a simple innovation using just ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, glycerin and water they were able to come up with their own Covid-19 sanitizers,” comments Mr. Makokha.
Currently the Head of Applied Sciences at the institute has a total of 20 students. There are 10 female tutors, while males are 10 with a single lab technician.
Makokha added that , “STEM courses is not attracting most students within this institute and Kenya at large because ,these STEM courses requires one to be among the most smart in order to qualify for it. Here in Kisiwa our numbers always ranges between 20-30 students per intake. We have seen a number of female students taking up courses in Science Laboratory Technology which is a key indication that the field is no longer male dominated.”
Since the innovation of the sanitizers in early April, their products were accredited by the Kenya Bureau of Standards in May same year.
“After we received the standardization mark we are supplying our products to the entire western region and this has now become a key avenue for income for the institute. Actually the pandemic initiated the entrepreneurial drive within the department. Today we have a production capacity of 3000 of litres of sanitizer per day,” adds Makokha.
The institute is known as the Centre of Excellence Electrical Engineering.
“It’s no doubt that we stand out as an institute when it comes to Electrical Engineering and some of our graduates are currently working with the biggest government’s state parastatals and others have ventured into entrepreneurship,” insists Makokha.
The institute traces its roots from Dominic Wetangula and Sylvester Kituyi as the undaunted innovators who had dreams empowering youth with skills for self-reliance and employment in shoe making, Carpentry and Masonry and turned them to reality. Since then, the institute has undergone Metamorphosis to assume the status of a Technical institute a decade ago.
The growth of KISTTI demonstrated that from Kabuchai Hills to China, Korea, America and Germany and points in between, KISTTI students, graduates, and staff have proven that anything is possible if you start strong, stay strong, and finish strong. The transition of the institute witnessed the first nine (9) students enrolling for Automotive and Masonry. The inception and growth of KISTTI dates back in 2009 when the local community had a vision of having a Technical Institute. Subsequently, the Institute introduced a variety of courses in artisan, craft and diploma levels in technical and business courses.
The institute is located on the Eastern side of Kabuchai Hills, West Nalondo Location, Kabuchai Constituency of Bungoma County.