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The two-day event was graced by the Registrar Planning Research and Innovation Prof. Alice Ndiema. In her address, Prof. Ndiema pointed out the need for innovators in our country to ensure progression of newly generated ideas and concepts.

mmust 12SPIIC Director, Prof. John Muoma making a presentation during the workshop.

“Innovation is the foundation of every institution and country. A nation can never develop if it has no creative minds coming up with new ideas that contribute to the growth of its economy or solve problems that burden the community,” said Prof. Ndiema.

 She urged the innovators to move from the development of research and expand to commercialization of products in order to contribute to solving specific problems. Further, Prof. Ndiema encouraged the innovators to develop proposals from the workshop which will respond to the donor funding community and attract funding to the University both locally and internationally.

Speaking during the workshop, the Chairperson Science Park Board, Prof. Edwin Wamukoya pointed out the need for sensitizing the community on available products innovated in the University and their specific benefits upon consumption. This he said will not only raise awareness levels of the available products but also increase purchases, which in-turn will generate revenue for the University.  He asked the innovators to be keen to ensure availability of the same products for purchase by the community alongside return on the investment put into their development.

The Director SPIIC, Prof. John Muoma commended the innovators for the effort and determination they have put into innovation and the University for the immense financial support since the establishment of SPIIC.

“The establishment of SPIIC has enabled the University to work with the community through knowledge sharing, directing research work and innovations towards the needs of the community and increasing the sustainability of the researches as they get passed to other generations,” said Prof. Muoma. Further, he urged the innovators to ensure they protect their inventions through patenting, getting trademarks and moving their innovative products into the market.

 MMUST’ top innovator Prof. Asenath Sigot, a professor of Nutritional Sciences in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Public Health, Biomedical Sciences & Technology (SPHB&T) was privileged to make a presentation on her research ‘Utilization of Oyster Mushroom, Value Addition and New Product Development for Improved Nutrition and Food Security in Western Kenya'.

“The oyster mushrooms are a popular type of mushroom linked to several health benefits. Its high nutritive value promotes heart and immune system health, encourages healthy blood sugar control and also provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects,” said Prof. Sigot.

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Prof. Sigot led her team of innovators to showcase other invented products such as the ‘MMUSTMUG’ breakfast porridge which has medicinal and nutritional mushroom species. The other products innovated by her team comprised the pancake flour mix, mushroom soup mix, mushroom crunchies with nuts, mushroom powder, Clazee Tamirillo Jam, Chia seeds, Simsim, Lemon grass and ginger tea and Rosella Tea.

She noted the need to empower the local farmers to accommodate and practice nutritive foods farming. Prof. Sigot shared the mushroom growing techniques and waste management methods for mushroom farming.

Additionally, MMUST’s Medical Parasitologist, Dr. Christine Wanjala, made a presentation on ‘Formulation of Pumpari Milk for Management of Malnutrition and Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis in School Going Children under Five Years Old.’

“Malnutrition rate is still high globally. In Kenya the stunting rate of malnourished children stands at 26%, and is often associated with soil-borne worms that cause helminthiasis. F-75 and F-100 therapeutic milk formulas used in hospitals to counter malnutrition are not only imported but have been expensive for sustainable use in resource-poor settings in developing countries,” stated Dr. Christine Wanjala.

She noted that this prompted her team comprising of Prof. Charles Mutai, Dr. Jane N. Situma and Ms. Lilian Butsolo to innovate the ‘Pumpari Milk’ to aid in deworming the young children and manage moderate malnutrition. This product is also vital in prevention of severe acute malnutrition in the children. The ‘Pumpari Milk’ is made from powdered milk, paw- paw seeds, pumpkin seeds, vegetable olive oil, rice flour and combined mineral vitamin mix.

Ms. Mariam N. Were, an innovator pursuing a doctorate degree in Crop Protection at the Department of Biological Sciences (MMUST) made a presentation on ‘Development of a Diagnostic Tool for Cassava Brown Streak Disease in Kenya’. She noted the drastic drop in cassava production that is being replaced with the less sustainable maize farming. This, she said, prompted MMUST to join partners such as ‘Muhogo feeds’ in minimizing losses through their innovation.

Sharing her findings, Ms. Mariam Were suggested that the problem can be countered if there is adequate supply of healthy planting material as well as a detection and monitoring strategy involving accurate laboratory-based diagnosis and large-scale surveillance. Her team of innovators included the Plant Molecular Virologist, Prof. Hassan Were, the Entomologist Dr. Millicent Ndong’a, Horticulturist, Dr. Vitalis Ogema and Crop Protection expert, Mr. Antony Mabele.

The innovation dissemination workshop attracted questions and answers sessions, insights and comments sharing from the participants.

Other MMUST innovators and notable personalities present were, the Coordinator Short Courses and Webometrics, Dr. Dennis M.W. Ochieno, Director Corporate Communication and Marketing Dr. Lydia Anyonje, Dean School of Education Prof. Moses Poipoi, the Biotechnologist Dr. Rose Onamu, as well as a guest from the community with interests in innovations, Mr. Walter Chege Najoli, who works with the United Nations Strategic Air Operations Center, Brindisi, Italy.

SPIIC was established in the year 2005 as Science & Technology Park and Industrial Linkages (STPIL) with a mandate to start, develop and manage the University Science and Technology Park (STP) and incubation of innovations emanating from the research activities in the university.

 By Caren Mutoro and Charity Idaya


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