NACOSTI as the AFRA National Coordinator held a meeting for project counterparts at the NACOSTI Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya on November 28-29, 2023. The meeting brought together AFRA project counterparts and project alternates to discuss progress and updates on various AFRA-funded projects across different thematic areas.
The two-day AFRA counterparts meeting provided a platform for useful exchange on project progress and challenges within different nuclear application domains in Kenya. Crosscutting benefits noted across presentations included upgraded training and research infrastructure, enhanced skills development, and greater awareness nationally of nuclear applications.
However, some hurdles persist, notably insufficient and unpredictable funding restricting activities, lengthy clearance processes delaying equipment imports, inadequate staff and coordination gaps between institutional work plans and project timelines. Addressing these resourcing and policy challenges is vital for consolidating and maximizing the benefits from ongoing and pipeline nuclear science and technology initiatives supporting national development priorities.
The meeting yielded key conclusions and recommendations including enhancing collaborations between institutions implementing nuclear-related initiatives to optimize resource utilization; facilitating annual stakeholder forums to evaluate progress; expanding training opportunities to build wider expertise; and fostering partnerships through networks like KEN-NEST to ensure the availability of knowledge, facilities and specialized equipment for counterparts, as well as reduce duplication and overlap.
Additionally, project counterparts were encouraged to collaborate on grant applications, following the example of their peers across the continent. Working together would increase their likelihood of securing funding and bringing the resultant benefits to Kenya. They were also urged to prioritize Kenya’s interests first and foremost when conducting business, for the betterment of the people.
There is also a need to increase awareness of nuclear applications within healthcare professional cadres to boost uptake and ensure qualified practice. Additionally, strengthening orientation for new personnel involved in nuclear projects, identifying synergies across activities through platforms for information exchange, and garnering supplementary funding were highlighted as crucial measures for consolidating current achievements. Implementing these recommendations will greatly support the expansion of the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology toward achieving national development goals. The two-day event marked a significant milestone, paving the way for a new era of applications in nuclear science across various sectors.