HAMK strengthens bio-entrepreneurship education in Kenya and Zambia - Häme University of applied sciences
HAMK strengthens bio-entrepreneurship education in Kenya and Zambia
Three African students studying together

HAMK strengthens bio-entrepreneurship education in Kenya and Zambia

11.11.2020 10:12

HAMK is coordinating a collaborative project for strengthening bioeconomy education through promoting PBL (problem-based learning), entrepreneurship, innovation and digital learning methods in Sub-Saharan Africa. The virtual kickoff seminar for the project was held on November 4–5.


Häme University of Applied Sciences has received a fund of nearly 1,5 million euros from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland for a four-year project PBL-BioAfrica (Problem-Based Learning Bioeconomy Entrepreneurship and Capacity-Building Programme). The project is part of the HEI ICI programme (Higher Education Institutions Institutional Cooperation Instrument) for building higher education capacity in the developing world.

“PBL-BioAfrica is for reforming bioeconomy curricula and improving graduates’ work-life relevant competence. We aim at strengthening the students’ ability to tackle global sustainability issues”, said Project Manager, Dr. Eija Laitinen, Principal Research Scientist at the Bioeconomy Research Unit at HAMK.

Digital learning and teaching enables reaching a large number of young Africans. The reformation is launched in the five partner HEIs in Kenya and Zambia. “Best learning practices will be disseminated to wider Sub-Saharan Africa through our network of agriculture universities”, said Florence Nakayiwa, Deputy Executive Secretary at RUFORUM (Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture), which has 129 member HEIs from 38 African countries.

Ambassador Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury noted in her greeting from Lusaka that “PBL-BioAfrica supports Finland’s priorities in Zambia; entrepreneurship, youth employment, climate change, food security, higher education collaboration, equality and human rights.”

One of the partners in Kenya is Egerton University, where all agronomy students take an entrepreneurship course. Dean Abdul Faraji stated that “through PBL methods, graduates will turn from job seekers to job creators”.

Students are indeed in the very core of PBL-BioAfrica. Issah Rahman, student at Egerton, is excited about the upcoming field courses. ”You learn much better from real challenges from real companies than in a classroom”, he said. Student challenges will be solved in multidisciplinary teams, with students from African and Finnish partner HEIs.

The following HEIs are part of the consortium:

  • Egerton University, Kenya
  • South Eastern Kenya University, Kenya
  • University of Nairobi, Kenya
  • University of Zambia, Zambia
  • Mulungushi University, Zambia
  • Aalto University, Finland
  • Häme School of Applied Sciences, Finland (coordinator)

Other partners are RUFORUM, UniPID (Finnish University Partnership for International Development), MFA-funded AGS programme (Accelerated Growth for SME’s Zambia) and local operators in Kenya and Zambia.

For more information, please visit the project webpage.