The annual meeting to introduce and orient new scholars was held on October 12, 2013. In attendance were Deb Gust, President; Mbaabu Mathiu, Vice-President; Catherine Kaimeni, Student Coordinator, Monicah Wairmu, Alumni Coordinator; along with the current scholars, alumni Ken Otieno and Nafisa Ayuka, and invited guests. In addition to the new scholars orientation, the meeting provided an opportunity for discussion of current status and future directions, plans for the alumni group and the presentation of awards for accomplishments over the past year.
There was an outstanding set of applicants this year, so five students were selected to
begin as scholars in the fall semester. This is the largest class in PATHWAYS history.
The new scholars are: Catherine Kabaire who will study Medicine at the University of
Nairobi, Vivian Achieng who will study Sociology and Psychology at the University
of Nairobi, Shadrack Shitseswa who will study Education at the University of Nairobi,
Kevin Obede who will study Actuarial Science at the University of Nairobi and
Eric Lemungesi who will study Environmental Health at Kenyatta University. The
PATHWAYS community welcomes these scholars and looks forward to productive
association with them.
The following awards were presented: Brian Kilonzi was chosen as PATHWAYS
Scholar of the year based on excellent performance in all areas during the past year,
Dennis Magiri Mutwiri, Michael Murigi Njorige and Alphonce Oginga each received
an award as Role Model Scholar, Jemimah Peters was identified as the Most Improved
Scholar, Eunita Akim was named the Outreach to Sponsor Scholar, Marylyn Nyabuti
was honored as the Outstanding Initiative Scholar, Hussein Abdhallah was selected as
the Writer/Communicator Scholar, and Justus Salach and Martin Mwiti each received a
Special Incentive Award in recognition of outstanding first year accomplishments.
The meeting highlighted the many accomplishments to date, outlined plans for future
activities and the group departed with renewed enthusiasm for the coming year.
With kind assistance and expert consult from Mr. Otieno and Mrs. Kaimenyi, the PATHWAYS Alumni Association was officially launched at a gathering of current scholars, graduated scholars, and leaders of the PATHWAYS organization. It was quite an auspicious occasion as the launch was the culmination of much discussion of its structure and mission. PATHWAYS alumnus, Alphonce Oginga, effectively presented the mission and bylaws of the PATHWAYS Alumni Association and greatly impressed and motivated the interested group. Monicah Wairimu, the most senior alumnus, will serve as the Chairlady. The first project of the PATHWAYS Alumni Association will be the creation of a PATHWAYS microfinance institution. Pictured from left to right are the PATHWAYS alumni present at the launch, Alphonce Oginga, Ken Otieno, Monicah Wairimu, and Michael Murigi cutting a ribbon to commemorate the beginning of this group and its journey to improve Kenya.
Five PATHWAYS scholars (Brian Kilonzi, Marylyn Nyabuti, Eunita Akim, Jemimah Peters, and Justus Lelenguiya) traveled to Murang’a to visit PATHWAYS fourth year scholar, Michael Murigi’s, cassava project. Brian reports, “We had a very successful visit to Michael’s project. We all learned a lot about this drought resistant and nutritious vegetable and took cuttings to plant at our home projects.” Michael’s project has been very successful in transitioning his community members from planting maize, that can fail in this dry area, to cassava that is not only drought resistant but nutritious. This will go a long way in ensuring food security. The five scholars are to be commended for reaching out to Michael to learn more about cassava to improve their own community projects. Well done!
The 8th annual conference was special this year as its emphasis was on the growing alumni group. Three of the alumni Aphonce Oginga, Denis Mtwiri and Michael Murigi organized and planned the entire event. Student Coordinator Catherine Kaimenyi can be proud as she has mentored the scholars to do just this. Third year scholar Hussein Said reviewed the mission, vision, and goals of PATHWAYS.
With the growing emphasis on the alumni group, a guest speaker with over a decade of experience in project implementation, Fred Otieno, was brought in to provide suggestions on the way forward. He noted the levels of engagement in an alumni organization and exactly how to erect an alumni posture from scratch. His message encompassed issues on alumni leadership, structure of the alumni association and the ways of interaction/communication, and even offered the usual misconceptions that tend to be associated with such entities. Kudos, Fred, you did a handsome job! After two days of activities, a quote that the group walked away with was, ‘The best way to predict your future is to create it” –Abraham Lincoln. Many thanks to Dr. Mbaabu Mathiu, Vice President of PATHWAYS, Catherine Kaimenyi, Student Coordinator, and Monicah Wairimu, Outreach Coordinator, for their dedication and commitment to the scholars and the PATHWAYS mission.