In July 2018, research capacity assessment at the University of Nairobi (UoN) was undertaken by the Centre for Capacity Research. As part of its capacity building activity, the HORN Project funded the full refurbishment of Oloitoktok laboratory (Kajiado county), and the purchase of various laboratory equipment, with the aim of turning the space into a fully functioning lab.
COVID-19 caused delays to the purchasing and shipment of laboratory items from the UK to Kenya, and the refurbishment of the lab space by a local Kenya supplier (Geotide) were also affected; however, on the 19th October 2021 the container unit housing the incinerator and fuel tank, the incubator, centrifuge, microscopes and many other lab items, was finally delivered to Oloitoktok.
To oversee the delivery of the unit, a meeting was organised and attended by the sub-county commissioner, the ward administrator and police superintendent, and technical heads from veterinary, livestock and agriculture. In addition, the sub-county community mobilisation and participation representative attended.
Following the official meeting, the container was opened and the contents checked, before a commemorative tree was planted to commemorate the event. Dr Ndihui and Dr Dismas Ongore proceeded to inspect the laboratory in the company of Dr Sururu and the constructor from Geotide. It was confirmed that all the essential repairs and modifications had been completed and that events could now proceed to operationalise the full functionality of the laboratory.
The next steps are the delivery and installation of the generator, the unpacking and installation of the laboratory equipment, and the requisite training and orientation required to operate a fully functioning incinerator. The latter to be organised at haste, through the UK supplier.
An additional pleasant surprise was touching base at the lab with Grace Watene and Maryanne Usagi – some of the HORN Projects very first Sandpit cohort! – who were just concluding their data collection on the Milk project in Oloitokitok!