Research institute steps up conservation efforts

Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife Dr Alfred Mutua awards a top graduate during the Wildlife Research and Training Institute graduation ceremony. [Courtesy]

More than 376 students graduated with diplomas and certificates in the fields of Wildlife, Environment, Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, and Tourism and Hospitality at the Wildlife Research and Training Institute (WRTI) in Naivasha on Friday.

The 21st graduation ceremony was officiated by Tourism CS Alfred Mutua, who congratulated the graduates and urged them to champion wildlife conservation efforts.

“The wildlife sector is facing many challenges amidst its efforts to promote socio-economic development nationally, regionally, and globally. I call upon our graduates to come up with innovative solutions to these challenges. You have received the best training from the institute, and you can venture into uncharted waters to realise your dreams,” he said.

The institute is fully accredited as a Technical and Vocational Education and Training Institution by the TVETA, with a mandate to conduct wildlife research and training.

Dr Mutua said the institute, which recently launched the National Wildlife Research Agenda to guide wildlife policy, was on the right path. He said there is a need to ensure the research conducted by the institute adds value to training through the factual dissemination of information.

“Training, on the other hand, should also add value by building the capacity of upcoming researchers and conservationists, developing curricula that address the current needs of the sector, and, through it, inculcating the necessary skills and attitudes.

"I wish to encourage the management to create an environment where researchers can train, and trainers can also research so that there is no disconnect between the two functions,” he said.

On his part, WRTI director Dr. Patrick Omondi celebrated the 376 graduates, saying they had undergone a rigorous examination process and are now equipped with employable and entrepreneurial skills.

Dr Omondi said the institute had finalised conducting a Training Needs Assessment to inform a planned review of the curriculum to make it relevant to the changing market needs and expand the niche by developing new programmes.