Kenya Country Brief

Sunset on the savanna

The University's relationship with Kenya focuses on agriculture, civic leadership, and rural development, with a key partnership with Kisii University.

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Research and Faculty Connections

Post-harvest handling and technology extension in southwest Kenya (2015-2018)

Researchers worked to improve household food security for smallholder horticulture women farmers in southwestern Kenya by helping them use appropriate and cost-effective post-harvest handling and technologies. The project involved 200 women farmers in Kisii and Nyamira counties focused on seven local leafy vegetable crops. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service provided funding.

Rural Leadership Training program: Building Social Capital in southwestern Kenya (2020-2022)

This partnership with faculty from Kisii University is adapting the rural leadership and civic engagement training materials used by the Extension Center for Community Vitality. The program trains and mentors 10 Kenyan facilitators who in turn will train the first two cohorts of community leaders in the principles of leadership training to develop leadership confidence and build competencies in four leadership domains: personal attributes, relational attributes, strategic attributes, and analytical attributes.

Institutional Partners

Kisii University

Kisii University began as a teachers college in 1965. With the implementation of the new constitution in 2013, Kisii University became the 13th public university in Kenya with four campuses. The university, located in southwestern Kenya, is composed of nine colleges. Many members of the Kenyan diaspora in Minnesota are from the Kisii region.

Mfangano Community Health Field Station

The Mfangano Community Health Field Station is a community-rooted enterprise launched in collaboration between the University of Minnesota, Maseno University, and the Organic Health Response of Mfangano Island in Kenya. UMN partners include University of Minnesota Extension, the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility, and the Master of Development Practice program.

UMN Partners and Related Units

UMN Units with Partnerships and Projects in Kenya

Related UMN Units

  • The Department of African American and African Studies provides the platform to explore, appreciate, and engage with the diversity of histories, realities, and experiences of African, African American, and the African diasporic lives. The department also offers courses in Swahili and Somali languages.


Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals recipients:

Student Mobility

Kenyan Nationals at UMN

  • 12 students (2019-20)*
  • 6 visiting scholars (2019-20)*

UMN students in Kenya

  • 13 students (2019-20)

*Source: ISSS Annual Report (Twin Cities only)

Community Engagement

Minnesota Kenyans International Development Association is a non-profit organization that works to improve education, economic and cultural welfare of Kenyan Americans. The mission is to foster social and economic growth in the community through mentorship by promoting education, community involvement, and healthy living.