Cooperation and knowledge exchange in Kisumu
On 22-24 October the third KLIP Conference (Kisumu Local Interaction Platform) was held in Kisumu, with the purpose of strengthening cooperation and knowledge exchange between academia, industry and the community within the areas of ecotourism and marketplace development. The purpose was reflected in the presentations by doctoral students, researchers, business and regional representatives.
Professor Maria Nyström, Mistra Urban Futures connected in her presentation Kisumu to the centres other local platforms in Cape Town, Greater Manchester and Gothenburg. She also talked about how a joint academy, East African Urban Academy, can link the various universities in East Africa. Kisumu’s City Manager, Doris Ombara, gave an inspiring speech in which she argued that the only way to understand the city's problems is to get insight into how residents perceive it. Doris and her colleagues has on several occasions taken part in for example cleaning campaigns together with those who live and work in the area and marketplace Kibuye, to get those kind of insights.
Involve local residents
Daniel Okumu, chairman of the Lake Victoria Tourism Association, was one of those who represented the business community. He spoke about the importance of not only informing the local residents but about the development to welcoming them to be actively involved in the whole planning process. Several KLIP doctoral students got the opportunity to present their studies and receive feedback from conference attendees. Naomi Mgoria Apali, Maseno University presented an analysis tool that can be used to gather women's views on tourism development, a perspective that is often lacking today.
Throughout the conference two of the doctoral students held a workshop with the participants in order to gather their views on how tourism in Kisumu should be developed. During the third and final day of the conference the annual soccer tournament for youth in Kisumu was held. In conjunction with the tournament the doctoral students Helena Kraff, Eva Maria Jernsand, Franklin Mwango and Jennifher Otieno held a joint workshop to collect residents' opinions on ecotourism development and waste management in the city, two aspects that proved to have a strong connection when many chose not to visit places which they felt was not clean.
Doctoral students showing results
The conference showed that the work on KLIP has been developed and that the doctoral student’s research is beginning to show results. Partnerships have been created between universities, industry, region and local community. It was pointed out, however, that cooperation should be strengthened to sure that all parties get the most out of it. Working with a transdisciplinary approach is challenging for all but the discussions showed great commitment and willingness to cooperate at all levels.