The best way to learn is through active experience. Hands-on learning develops an environment for critical thinking. Hands-on training helps people to incorporate what they have learnt into real-world situations. This was the basis for organizing a training workshop on microbiological techniques.

Photo of the facilitators and the trainees

The training was held from 12th to 16th September 2022 at the Medical Microbiology Laboratory, located at the College of Health Sciences (CoHES) Complex Building in JKUAT. The training was organized by the Innovation Centre for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (iCMoB), a sub-taskforce of the Africa-ai-Japan Project.

The iCMoB sub-taskforce, through the Africa-ai-Japan Project office under JICA-Kenya, supports various research and innovation activities as well as training in various fields such as molecular biology, biotechnology, microbiology, biochemistry and bioinformatics. The sub-taskforce also provides research funding opportunities and postgraduate scholarships for JKUAT and PAU staff and students through the Africa-ai-Japan Project.

The training attracted 24 participants from various institutions which included Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) (14), University of Nairobi (UoN) (3), Thika Technical Training Institute (TTTI) (3), Thika School of Medical and Health Sciences (TSMHS) (2), Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) (3) and one student from United States International University (USIU).

“As this is our first training workshop in microbiology techniques, I hope this course offers you a rare opportunity to develop hands on experience with microbiologist experts in JKUAT. It is also my hope that we shall be able to meet your expectations and, in the end, you shall enhance your employability within the science industry,” said Dr Caroline Ngugi, Chairperson of iCMoB Sub-taskforce, as she welcomed the participants.

The participants were taken through both theory and practical sessions on various topics such as Laboratory Safety Rules and Regulations, Sterilization and Disinfection, Growth Requirements and Isolation of Microorganisms, Enumeration of Microorganisms, Bacteriological Analysis of Water and Food, Identification and Characterization of Microorganisms and Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (AST).

Trainees during a theory session
Trainees during a practical session

“I had a wonderful time during the training, and I got a chance to learn new techniques that will be beneficial in my work, most important I am now able to work independently and more confidently in the lab,” said one of the trainees.

The iCMoB sub-taskforce chairperson appreciated the facilitators for efficiently conducting the training and for the trainees’ cooperation. While reiterating the success of the training, the Chief Technologist of the Medical Microbiology Laboratory, Ms Jane Kiarie, said that the training was a success, and the team was able to carry out all the experiments that had been set for the training. She also mentioned that the team was prepared to host the advanced training in microbiology techniques that will be held in mid-January 2023 and that she looks forward to seeing the trainees again.

The iCMoB sub-taskforce Chairperson, Dr Caroline Ngugi, also acknowledged the diversity of the trainees, stating that there is a need for further collaborations to enhance research and innovation in Kenya.

The training concluded with presentation of certificates to the participants.

Dr Caroline Ngugi (on the left), iCMoB Sub-Taskforce Chairperson, presenting a certificate to one of the trainees

iCMoB offers various short-course trainings every year. All those interested should look out for the advertisements.