Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute (KWSTI) marked its 18th graduation ceremony on October 26, 2020, with 332 trainees being awarded Diplomas and Certifications in seven disciplines. The ceremony was supposed to have been held in June this year but was postponed due to the outbreak of Covid 19 pandemic.
A total of 241 trainees were awarded Diplomas in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Environmental Management, Wildlife Management, and Tourism and Hospitality Management. Another 91 trainees were awarded certificates in Aquaculture, Community Wildlife Management, and Nature Interpretation and Tour Administration.
The Principal Secretary in the ministry of Tourism and Wildlife Prof. Fred Segor presided over the graduation at the institute located in Naivasha at a ceremony marked with strict adherence to Covid 19 regulations, with only a handful of top students and selected guests attending the physical ceremony. The rest of the graduands, parents, guardians and relatives followed the proceedings online.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Principal Secretary, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Hon. Najib Balala regretted that the graduation had to be delayed for a number of months due to outbreak of the pandemic noting, “This pandemic has had far-reaching implications in many sectors of the world’s economy, with one of the worst-hit being tourism and travel and wildlife conservation”
He added “We have been forced to embrace new ways of doing things like today’s virtual graduation, virtual learning, and online meetings so as to conform to the new normal. Let us continue to strictly observe all the health and safety protocols to keep this dreaded disease at bay”.
The Cabinet Secretary expressed gratitude for the launch of the new Wildlife Research and Training Institute (WRTI) noting, “the Institute’s mandate will be to spearhead all research and training pertaining to wildlife conservation in the country. It will also build the research and training capacity both nationally and regionally as envisaged in section 50 of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013”.
Dr. Patrick Omondi, the acting Director of WRTI said the new institution has put in place a 5-year development plan with six focus areas namely: coordination and compliance in wildlife research, enhancement of scientific information and data, enhancement of local and international partnerships, development of institutional capacity, financial sustainability, and enhanced training and capacity development.
The Director General, KWS Brig. (Rtd) John Waweru in a speech on his behalf by the Director Strategy and Change Mr. Edwin Wanyonyi pledged KWS’ full support to WRTI to help the new research institute fulfil its mandate. He also wished the new graduates well in their future endeavours. The ceremony was attended by among others acting Board chairpersons of WRTI and KWS Dr. Winnie Kiiru and Betty Maitoyo respectively.