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UCM Develops Partnership with South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc for Education and Workforce Development

By Janice Phelan, September 10, 2020

SEKEB Digital MeetingStudents from Lee’s Summit and Kenya participate in a video conference on July 23. Also participating were Curtis Cook of Summit Technology Academy, John Musau (at left) of Digloso and Joe Mullins (at right) of UCM. 

Thanks to a virtual project involving Lee’s Summit area students working with students and officials from Kenya, an international partnership is launching this fall. The partnership under development includes the University of Central Missouri (UCM), the South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc (SEKEB), Makueni Innovation Centre, Eastern Kenya Integrated College and Digloso Ltd.


During a July 23 video conference, representatives from UCM, SEKEB, Makueni County Government (who run the Innovation Centre), Digoloso Ltd., Eastern Kenya Integrated College and Summit Technology Academy participated in presentations and discussions regarding the potential partnership’s next steps.


“This unique collaborative effort will allow UCM Extended Studies to work with the university’s Kenyan peers on education and workforce program development,” said Joe Mullins, UCM Workforce and Professional Education and the chief development person for the partnership.


Through the project, partners will leverage technology to foster global collaboration in resolving local challenges. The partners will work together to develop real-world sustainable solutions for students and adults. Students will also gain hands-on experiences in areas such as Internet of Things, virtual reality, telehealth and entrepreneurship -- just to name a few -- while working on industry-recognized certifications and accelerated degree programs.


“The Makueni Innovation Centre will provide an avenue for young people within the county, the SEKEB Region and beyond to develop skills and innovations that are necessary in creating an economic ecosystem,” said Professor Kivutha Kibwana, governor of Makueni County in Kenya.


”Unemployment is a major challenge in Kenya, especially among the youth, and I believe the experience they will receive through this partnership will create employment opportunities for them. They will get a head start in exploiting the Konza Techno City digital space, which is coming up within the SEKEB Region. We will play our part in making this dream a reality for the benefit of our young people.”


This proposed partnership has benefitted from the involvement of Digloso, a company focusing on providing emerging populations with technological infrastructure and modular application platforms.


“It remains clear that lack of access to technology has hampered workforce development for most youth as well as obscured exposure to essential technology-based community services,” said Digloso’s founder and CEO John Musau. “So through Digloso’s CSR arm, the Global Classroom Exchange, we have established academic, industry and public partnerships as the force to support Project Based Learning to apply a series of goal-oriented academic programs that augment workforce development. Students collaborate to develop solutions that lead to sustainable and diverse community economic ecosystems in an effort to reduce poverty, preserve natural resources and protect the environment.”


Musau is a native of Kenya and has located his company’s headquarters in Machakos, Kenya.


Business, individuals and organizations have the opportunity to collaborate in the project, which is actively seeking partners to help with solutions. For more information, contact Joe Mullins at


The University of Central Missouri operates campuses in Lee’s Summit and Warrensburg, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certificate programs, professional education courses and customized corporate curriculum. UCM and Summit Technology Academy have shared space and resources in the award-winning Missouri Innovation Campus facility since its opening in fall 2017. The South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc includes three counties: Kitui, Machakos and Makueni with an combined estimated population of 4.7 million. The Bloc was created to provide social and economic development for its citizens.


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