13 June 2016
University of the Sunshine Coast staff and students had the chance to exchange ideas and cultural insights with Kenyan government officials who made a special visit to USC recently.
The First Lady of Homa Bay province Rocila Awiti and Homa Bay’s Director of Culture, Tourism and Social Services Zilper Opapo toured the University as part of a cultural exchange trip to South-East Queensland.
Ms Awiti and Ms Atieno discussed ideas for partnerships with USC’s International Development team as well as sharing lunch with USC Sustainability students.
The visit was organised by USC Arts/Science student Samantha Willcocks, who has worked with the Homa Bay officials in her activities with not-for-profit organisation The One World Collective.
“I’ve been helping to support a number of development projects in Kenya, and we wanted to organise an Australian visit to Australia to see the USC campus and talk about some potential partnerships,” Ms Willcocks said.
“We discussed a sustainability project in which local people in Kenya are employed to make reusable, washable sanitary pads, which are difficult for many Kenyan women to access.
“The ladies thought the facilities at USC were incredible and they loved the architecture. It was a great insight into Australian culture for them.”
Ms Atieno said it was a pleasure to meet the USC staff and discuss potential collaboration opportunities, including visits by USC students to the Homa Bay region.
“Our meeting was very engaging and fulfilling,” she said.
“We were very impressed by the display of organisation and sense of purpose by the University of Sunshine Coast fraternity and the International Development team.”
Tami Harriott, the Global Project Development Manager within USC’s International Development team, said she hoped to see a strong partnership grow between USC and Homa Bay, with her team currently looking at ways to support development initiatives in Kenya.
— Gen Kennedy