Climate-smart curricula for Kenyan universities

Four universities in Kenya—Murang’a University of Technology, Taita Taveta, Laikipia, and Chuka Universitieshave designed and implemented university curricula for agricultural extension systems, building foundational knowledge and skills to manage climate risk. 

Universities play a significant role in educating the next generation about climate change. However, they face significant challenges in meeting the demand for relevant curricula that address contemporary issues like climate change, not least how to inform and resource such courses.  

Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) project has been collaborating with Kenyan universities to enhance the quality of higher education in climate change, making them relevant and research based. 

In collaboration with AICCRA, four universities in Kenya—Murang’a University of Technology, Taita Taveta, Laikipia, and Chuka Universitieshave designed and implemented university curricula for agricultural extension systems, building foundational knowledge and skills to manage climate risk. 

Demonstration farms act as learning sites for both students and farmers have been established to bridge the gap between theory and practice of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) technologies such as zai pits, basins and irrigation among others. 

At these sites, students gain hands-on learning experiences, allowing them to apply what they've learned in the classroom to real-world situations. This practical approach is effective in engaging students and enhancing their learning experience.

The AICCRA project facilitated the curriculum development process, utilizing expertise in curriculum development and climate change. 

The Department of Earth Sciences at Laikipia University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AICCRA to co-design a bachelor's course in climate-smart agriculture and a master's course in geography for sustainable resource management. 

“This approach of co-designing and co-development of curriculum between the University and a research entity is of great importance in ensuring that the two curricula meet the current needs of society as well as market demands.” 

Dr. Barnabas Kurgat 
Chair of the Department of Earth Sciences
Laikipia University

Climate-smart curricula developed by Kenyan universities

With the Murang’a University of Technology (MUT), a master’s course in CSA is now being offered to build the capacity of professionals with backgrounds in agriculture, environment, water, geography, or natural sciences to advance their academic and professional careers in agriculture and climate change.

“MUT can now offer tailor-made short courses on climate modeling in agrifood systems….to retool extension workers, policymakers and practitioners to contribute effectively to climate change management in agriculture.”

Prof. Dorothy A. Amwata
Dean School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences
Murang’a University of Technology


A course brochure from Murang'a University of Technology

In 2022, Taita Taveta University (TTU) was looking to develop new academic programs to address agricultural challenges and opportunities in fragile land ecosystems. So TTU and AICCRA co-developed three accredited academic programs – an MSc in Climate-Smart Agriculture, an MSc in Rangeland Ecosystem Management and a BSc in Rangeland Ecosystem Management. 

“We can confidently say that our graduates—mostly women—will be leaders in natural resource management, strategy, and policy formulation. We are now looking to establish TTU as a center of excellence in rangeland ecosystem management.” 

Dr. Mwamburi Mcharo 
Dean of the School of Agriculture, Earth, and Environmental Science
Taita Taveta University

AICCRA partnerships are bridging the gap between knowledge generation and application. By connecting students to robust and contemporary knowledge, while tailoring higher education courses for professionals and researchers, they can translate knowledge into practical solutions for smallholder farmers and the agriculture sector more broadly. 

AICCRA is focused on filling the “missing middle” by bridging the gap between the organizations that generate and make available climate knowledge and CSA technologies as well as the organizations and individuals that make use of the climate information and climate-smart technologies which enhance the resilience of Africa’s agriculture and food systems in the face of climate change. 

“Training in climate change will meet the great demand for scientific expertise in developing and applying appropriate climate change adaptation measures to enhance sustainable crop production, nutrition quality, and environmental protection.” 

Dr. Grace Abucheli
Senior Lecturer Department of Plant Sciences
Chuka University 

AICCRA is strengthening the technical, institutional, and human capacity needed to move CGIAR innovations off the shelf, so that with the help of other partners they can achieve impacts at scale in African countries eligible for support from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA).

Developing socially inclusive and climate-smart curricula is essential in our fight against climate change. In collaboration with research institutions and industry, universities must continue to innovate and adapt their curricula to meet the demands of the present and the challenges of the future, through ongoing training to stay current with educational best practices and technology and to sustain partnerships that enhance learning opportunities and resources.

Dr. Grace Abucheli with Adams Kwaw (right) and Alex Nduah (center) from the AICCRA team, during a recent visit to Chuka University 
Photo credit: Chuka University


Esther Nzuki, Communications Analyst, Climate Action

Owen Kimani, Communications Analyst, Partnerships and Communication

Contributors: Caroline Mwongera, Noel Templer, Boaz Waswa, Alex Nderi, Dorcas Jalang’o, Stella Kasura, Ivy Kinyua

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