Twenty-two students from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) are part of a group of students from Kenya who are leaving the country to commence an internship programme in Israel.
The Israel Internship Programme was started in 2014, when Agrostudies International Center for Agriculture approached JKUAT through the Israel Embassy in Kenya, under Mashav programme to provide an eleven (11) months internship to Agriculture students in Israel.
This year, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Water and Sanitation, Simon Chelugui and the Israel Ambassador to Kenya, H.E. Noah Gal Gendler jointly flagged off the exercise, August 1, 2019.
In his address, the Cabinet Secretary requested the Israel Ambassador to consider increasing the quarter for Kenyan students to 250 per year, to enhance capacity building amongst youths and empowering them with modern technological skills.
Mr Chelugui added that when the students return to Kenya, they will actively participate in development projects linked to the Government’s Big Four Agenda, particularly on food security.
According to the Programme Coordinators at JKUAT Prof. David M. Mburu, who is also the Principal, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (COANRE) and Dr Clifford Obiero, Chairman, Department of Land Resources Planning and Management, the internship programme benefited 25 students in 2014 and 26 students in 2015.
In 2016, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, signed a 6-year Jerusalem Declaration to have Kenyan students trained in Israel on Advanced Agriculture. Thereafter, the internship programme was taken up by Arava International Center for Agricultural Training (AICAT) which has implemented it to date. The programme participants include other local universities and colleges. The quarter for Kenyan students per year has been 120.
Recruitment for the programme is done in March and April of every year. The students apply for the internship and are selected through an interview by a team from AICAT who travel from Israel to Kenya for that purpose. The selected students are taken through induction sessions in preparation to travel to Israel between July and August.
While in Israel, apart from attending classes, the interns will be attached to different farms in the agricultural production systems and will be paid according to the hours worked. At the end of the programme, they will be awarded diplomas.
The internship students are drawn from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the School of Biosystems and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering and Technology (CoETEC). Candidates apply for the internship soon after graduation. Since the commencement of the programme, 155 interns from JKUAT have been trained including the ones for 2019.