MMUST Prolific Researcher Dr. Rose Opiyo Champions for Sustanability of iHELP Project through Stakeholders’ Workshop

Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology prolific researcher Dr. Rose Opiyo has championed for the sustainability of the iHELP project through mobilization of stakeholders from diverse institutions. This was during a stakeholders’ workshop that was conducted on 2nd March, 2022 at Bishop Nicholas Stam in Kakamega County. The workshop drew personalities from various institutions including Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD)County Government of Kakamega, Building Resilient and Sustainable Societies (BRESS), Community Centre Managers and Project Advisors.

The workshop was graced by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Solomon Shibairo who applauded Dr. Opiyo for seeing the need to bridge the existing gap in Child Care by rolling out the project to support needy communities. He assured the participants that MMUST is ready to support the project to ensure its sustainability.


The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Solomon Shibairo giving his remarks at the workshop.

The Director, International Relations and Academic Linkages Dr. Catherine Aurah, who represented the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Planning Research and Innovation, Prof. Charles Mutai, reaffirmed that indeed the project has put MMUST among the Universities that touch lives.

In her remarks, Dr. Aurah, appreciated all the stakeholders for participating in the event,  stating that the iHELP project is a very important initiative since it is geared towards supporting young lives. “This project is bound to provide quality education and care giving of our children. It is also in line with the Competency Based Curriculum therefore I urge you all to support the programme,” stated Dr. Aurah.

Speaking during the workshop, the Coordinator, Webometrics and Short Courses, Dr. Dennis Ochieno encouraged the research team to digitalize the project by creating a profile on the University website. This will increase the visibility of the project and create more linkages. 

The Chief Child Protection Officer- Kakamega County, Ms. Yvonne Atsenga pointed out that the County Government has set aside funds to put up a caregiving centre in collaboration with MMUST to nurture early childhood education and responsive care. “We have set aside funds to establish a child care centre that will support MMUST young mothers in nurturing their children. We also plan to establish other Child-friendly centres that will house needy, children living with disabilities and street children. Further, the County Government will carry out capacity building to mothers and caregivers,” she added. Ms. Atsenga expressed delight about the project, saying that she is ready to support the children living with disabilities that have been identified in the iHELP Centres.


A section of the workshop participants.

According to the iHELP Project Advisors, Ms. Martina Adega and Mr. Steve Ikonya, there is a need to train mothers and caregivers on how to make children play and learn using equipment from the locally available materials such as bottle tops. They stressed that a business plan should be adopted for income generation and economic sustainability. The duo also emphasized on the importance of strengthening referrals to health experts especially for children with disabilities. “I urge managers of respective Centres to break existing barriers among children to ensure their safety and comfort. There is also a need for developing, monitoring and carrying out children assessments to enable early interventions,” encouraged Ms. Adega.

The Director, BRESS Ms. Elsie Shisia pointed out that diet diversity for children should be upheld for sustainability of the project. She advised that kitchen gardens be developed in all the Centres.


The Principal Investigator, Dr. Rose Opiyo addressing the stakeholders.

Notably, the well-attended workshop highlighted key aspects that should be implemented to ensure sustainability of the project. Some of the significant recommendations made at the workshop included leadership training across all iHELP Centres, stakeholder mapping and engagement strategy, training caregivers on responsive caregiving, development of disability friendly manuals, nutrition specific follow-ups, networking, parental engagement and male involvement especially for children with disabilities.