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History, Culture and Faith

Faculty-LedFaculty-Led | Social Science Kenya

Module Overview

Kenya’s 42+ tribal groups (spanning three of the four African language groups) along with its breath-taking landscapes, iconic wildlife and rapidly modernizing cities, make this one of the most diverse countries in Africa. As a nation, Kenya is only 54 years old, meaning that its colonial history and subsequent independence is still fresh in our collective mind.  Its history, beliefs, diversity and resilience have brought its people where they are; and will continue to dictate where they head in the future as a nation.  A country built on Muslim-Arab trade along the coast, Christian missions in the interior and a primarily agricultural and tourism driven economy, Kenya is now rapidly changing, providing a fascinating case study for globalization, religious influence on culture and modernization in a growing economy.

This module is for students studying a social sciences qualification to experience the history, culture and faith of Kenya. This is done through interactive talks with veterans of the Mau Mau uprising, which ultimately led to Kenya’s independence; home visits, group sessions, counselling and a meal with members of a local organization working with HIV/AIDS patients; Maasai village visit and lecture on Maasai culture, history and modern challenges; wildlife viewing in the world-famous Maasai Mara ecosystem; interactive talk with Wanjira Maathai, daughter of the late Nobel Laureate, Wangari Maathai, to discuss history, gender equity, environmental stewardship and more.

Location

This module is based in two locations. Firstly, students stay in Nairobi, Africa’s fourth largest city and the economic hub of East Africa. Nairobi is a vibrant and exciting place with fascinating attractions: its café culture, unbridled nightlife, young business atmosphere and notably just, 20 minutes from the city center – wild lion and buffalo roam in the world’s only urban game reserve.

Secondly, students then travel to Mara Naboisho. Located in Kenya, adjacent to the Maasai Mara National Reserve, this private conservancy is a ground-breaking project of tourism benefiting conservation and community. With its high concentration of wildlife, and generous personal space and freedom on offer, visitors enjoy exceptional wildlife encounters. Imagine setting up camp on the plains of the African savanna and waking up to the sounds of a herd of zebra right outside your tent, or tracking a pride of 20 lions without catching sight of another group of camera-toting predators. Imagine venturing out into the unknown at night. The Mara Naboisho Conservancy in Kenya is home to the big cats – in impressive numbers – and herds of elephant, giraffe and wildebeest. Unlike its neighbor, the Maasai Mara National Reserve, this private conservancy strictly monitors the number of tourists who enter the area, reducing the number of vehicles and the human impact on the environment and wildlife.

Educational Outcomes

Practical: Exposure to local culture, food, faith and history; engagement with people from a wide spectrum of Kenyan society – from Maasai cattle herders to urban humanitarian workers; viewing some of the most abundant wildlife on earth up-close.

Theory: Witness poverty and how HIV/AIDS affects urban Kenyan society; gain an understanding of the roles that non-governmental organizations and responsible businesses play in the economic empowerment of a developing country; learn about community-based wildlife conservation.

Module Length

The minimum duration for this module is 6 days.  The maximum length is 21 days (longer modules may incorporate additional study locations).

Contributors

Wanjira Maathai

Wanjira Maathai is the Director of Partnerships for Women’s Entrepreneurship in Renewables (wPOWER) and Wangari Maathai Institute (WMI). She previously directed International Affairs at Green Belt Movement (GBM), which was founded by her mother, the late Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai.

There she managed international outreach and resource mobilization. For six years prior to joining GBM, Maathai worked as Senior Program Officer at the Carter Presidential Center (USA), monitoring and evaluating disease eradication programs. She Chairs the Green Belt Movement and is a Board member of WMI, Wangari Maathai Foundation and Resonate. She is also a World Future Councilor, Advisory Council Member (Global Cookstoves Alliance), Member of the Global Restoration Council and Member of the Earth Charter International Council. Maathai is Kenyan and a graduate of Hobart & William Smith College. She earned graduate degrees in Public Health and Business from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and Goizueta School of Business.

John McKelvey

John graduated from Kansas State University and completed an MBA from the University of London. He also holds a CPA certification from the United States. He worked for an investment firm in the USA before moving to Kenya in 1990. He has since worked in 23 countries on the African continent.

While a business man, John’s passion lies in humanitarian work and socially conscious business practice. From 2008 to 2010 John was the Kenya Country Director for Samaritan’s Purse working in relief and community development. He is now the managing director for Brackenhurst Kenya Limited and the financial director for an investment holding company with offices in Limuru, Arusha, Harare, Cape Town and Mauritius. John is the co-founder of Woodland Star International School and has been deeply involved in biodiversity preservation and reforestation projects with Plants for Life International, both based on the Brackenhurst campus.

Daniel Sopia

Daniel Sopia is a professional safari guide with over 12 years of experience. He has a Silver certification from the Kenya Professional Guides Association and has worked with Rekero Camps in the Maasai Mara Ecosystem. He is a member of the Motorogi conservancy, Board member at Olare Motorogi Conservancy Trust and the vice chair at Olpurkel Ltd.

He is also a co-founder and chairperson of the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancy Association. Daniel represents conservancies in Narok County.

Customize Your Program

Thank you for your interest in this module and developing a faculty-led program with EDU Africa. We pride ourselves in our ability to customize a program that will meet your requirements, exceed your expectations and make your vision come to life.


Featured Experiences

Kiambethu Tea Farm

Touring the Kiambethu Tea Farm gives insight into the colonial history and economics of Kenya, as well as the process undergone to transform the leaves of a tea bush into one of the most well known beverages of all time. The tour includes a walk through indigenous forests rich with medicinal trees, as well as a delicious colonial luncheon on the lawn.

River Rafting Rapids Camp

River Tana is the perfect place for white river rafting, with rapids ranging from grades three to five. It is also the only place in for white river rafting in Kenya. Upstream and downstream currents, including waterfalls, provide different technicalities that challenge beginners as well as more experienced rafters. Rafting River Tana is a worthy adrenaline rush!

Big Cat Monitoring

Incredible wildlife is one of Africa’s most appealing icons, and is desperately in need of protection through conservation and educational projects. Many conservation efforts give rise to amazing volunteering programs, such as the opportunity to research and monitor big cats. Taking part in this project gives students a chance to deeply experience and engage with some of Africa’s most powerful and breathtaking wildlife.

Brackenhurst Botanic Gardens

Brackenhurst Botanic Gardens is a vibrant gateway into the world of pre-colonial climate diversity. Rising out of misty, rolling hills of emerald-green tea, these gardens stand as a testament to the power of environmental restoration and protection. The project began in the year 2000 and includes an arboretum of rare tree species that are critically endangered across the continent. 


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