Written by James Salinka
The Kenya government has promised to support the local association of science journalists’ bid to host the World Science Journalist Conference (WSJC).
Kenyan minister for Higher Education science and Technology Prof Margaret Kamar said the Kenya government would back the bid and assured the lobby for of total cooperation from her ministry.
“We fully back this bid by the MESHA and I’m taking this opportunity to assure you of our full support as government and from me as minister”, she said.
Speaking at the first African Science Journalists Conference in Nakuru, Prof Kamar said the move if successful would be another first for MESHA and Kenya.
The successful hosting of the ongoing event she observed was a major step in demystifying and breaking science for development of the both Kenya and the African continent.
“Once this bill to parliament, Kenya will have attained a fast, by allocating more than the recommended one per cent agreed upon by African countries, “She said.
She told science journalists that her ministry was in the process of drafting a major policy document setting a legal and regulatory framework that will see Science Technology and Innovation mainstreamed in national development.
The mass media she said must put more emphasizes in publicizing sciences and move away from giving undue attention to politics, entertainment and sports in order to set Africa on a growth path.
Written by Henry Neondo
The Egerton University’s plans to establish the first agro-based Science Park in Kenya has received a boost with the setting aside of extra Ksh3 million and 24 hectares on which the administrative centre will be based.
Started September 2011 with seed money worth Ksh4 million from the university, the flagship science park has so far has been able to nurture three ideas into new bean varieties, with other products in their various stages of development.
“We want to come up with a complex to house all work now scattered in various departments by 2030 when Kenya hopes to be a middle income developing country with science, innovation and technology being the main driver,” said Dr Inyagwa Muleke, project coordinator of the science park.
Dr Muleke said the university has decided to set up the agro-science park since its core vision is agriculture based.
The centre aims to put in a number of units including biotechnology centre, innovation unit, herbal medicine centre, seed unit, agri-food centre among others.
“We have already asked the government to support us with Ksh360 million towards the project and there are strong indication that the government will do so,” said Dr Inyagwa.
To kick-start the project, Dr Inyagwa said the university gave the idea Ksh4 million which was spent to support scientists move their ideas into market among which include here bean varieties namely, Tasia, Chelanga, Tasia and Sankui.
For sustainability, Dr Inyagwa said the agro-based science park will draw revenue from its royalties, office space rent and consultancies.
Written by Henry Neondo
Orange is now offering mobile phone access to Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia at no connectivity cost.
Any customer with an Orange SIM and mobile internet enabled phone will be able to access Wikipedia, the largest online encyclopaedia in the world, through their mobile browser. They can access the Wikipedia encyclopaedia services for as many times as they like at no extra charge as long as they stay within Wikipedia’s pages.
According to Telkom Kenya – Chief Executive Mickael Ghossein, Orange is keen on creating and raising awareness on the benefits of Wikipedia to the more than 70 million Orange customers in Africa and the Middle East (the AMEA region).
This move is the result of a major partnership signed in January this year between the Orange Group and the Wikimedia Foundation.
The partnership will see Orange customers in the Group’s affiliate countries easily access information from the world’s most comprehensive online encyclopaedia with nearly 500 million monthly unique visitors.
“Our subscribers can access Wikipedia services for as many times as they like at no extra charge, as long as they stay within Wikipedia’s pages,” said Ghossein, adding that the mobile phone remains the most preferred and convenient means of accessing the internet while in transit.
Users of this innovative service will also freely browse the millions of articles available on Wikipedia in the languages most widely used in Africa.
“In countries where access to information is not always readily available, we are making it simple and easy for our customers to use the world’s most comprehensive online encyclopaedia in both Kiswahili and English”, Said Mickael Ghossein.
By sponsoring the cost of data for its customers, Orange is supporting the Wikimedia Foundation's initiative of spreading free knowledge to the billions of people around the world, whose primary opportunity to access the internet is via a mobile device, as the global brand bolsters its image through value added service as its strong differentiator.
Kenya becomes the second country in Africa after Uganda to benefit from this major partnership signed in January between the Orange Group and the Wikimedia Foundation. Wikipedia also plans to enable a functionality soon that will notify users when they log on to the paid up pages.
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