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Sub Themes

Education is a crucial sector for any country, playing a critical role in national development by investing in human capital development. However, the evolving nature of the 21st century, coupled with digitization, have posed challenges to acquiring and imparting knowledge to learners amidst the presence of a wide variety of distorted information. Further, the recent Covid-19 pandemic has brought the need to adapt and respond to the needs of learners as their aspirations keep on changing in this era of globalization of world economies. This points to the need to provide education that is relevant and connected to empowering young people to create jobs, respond to the employability needs of the current market and advance SDG-4 of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Abstracts, papers and posters presented under this sub-theme should focus on education for national development in a global context.

Developing countries have faced a myriad of challenges in the post Covid-19 era. Some of these challenges include depressed economies, unemployment, runaway inflation, high cost of living, international terrorism, religious extremism, political instability, insecurity, human rights violations, disinformation, among others. At the same time, the post-pandemic era has seen a continuously advancing digital infrastructure which is increasingly influencing how societies create and disseminate information; cultural transmission; language, gender and representation; literature; communication, media and the general creative and political economy. Abstracts, papers and posters presented under this sub-theme should address how research and innovation can be utilized to harness the immense opportunities presented by digital infrastructure to promote the creative economy; enhance political participation and governance; promote human rights and security; reduce religious extremism and terrorism; create opportunities in the communication, media, literary and language sectors; enhance inclusivity; and expand the economy so as to reduce the cost of living and improve the quality of life.

Despite world food production keeping pace with population growth because of the Green Revolution, the United Nations State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022 Report indicates that the number of people affected by hunger has increased with 29.3% of the global population food insecure, and 22% of children under five years of age stunted.  Many more have low-quality, unhealthy diets and micro-nutrient deficiencies leading to obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related non-communicable diseases. Food safety and nutrition are inextricably linked. To achieve optimal human health and wellbeing, people must be both well-nourished and free from foodborne diseases.  Additionally, current agro-food systems significantly impact the environment, including soil and water resources. Food systems encompass the entire range of actors and their interlinked value-adding activities involved in the production, aggregation, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal of food products that originate from agriculture, forestry or fisheries. Climate change has negatively impacted on production by reducing crop yields, nutritional quality and lowering livestock productivity. Climate-smart agriculture is an integrated approach that aims at increasing productivity, enhancing resilience and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Biotechnology through genetic engineering offers methods to improve food and nutritional security by raising the quality and yield of crops. Research and development on sustainable practices and solutions are required for achieving food and nutritional security while protecting the natural resources. Therefore, this sub-theme calls for abstracts, papers and posters that focus on how research and innovation can support the use of sustainable and safe food systems, biotechnology and climate-smart agriculture for enhanced food security.

Advances in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are essential pillars and drivers to innovative solutions that are vital to counter challenges due to increased societal needs. The Government of Kenya has an established policy and programme on integration of STEM from early childhood development through to graduate education. Trends in STEM are also major drivers to the advancements in ICT and the 4th industrial revolution that is expected to alter living and working environments. Knowledge, advancement and application of STEM is vital in the development of more effective tools, toolkits, techniques and technologies, for design, development and management of infrastructure, environment, agriculture, ICT and industrial processes, with optimal consideration to resources, society, technical factors and time. Abstracts, papers and posters presented under this sub-theme should address how trends in STEM can be utilized to drive solutions and innovations that address Kenya’s identified priorities and other needs for sustainable development.

The health of humans, animals and ecosystems are closely interlinked and changes in these relationships can increase the risk of new human and animal diseases developing and spreading. Collaboration, communication and coordination is required between the relevant sectors.  Ensuring planetary health, proper planning, directing, and coordinating medical and health services, coupled with adequate sources of financing is required to ensure proper health and pandemic control. Further, the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need for pandemic preparedness. In the modern interconnected world, safeguarding global health security is vital for maintaining public health for any nation. Emergency preparedness is key to controlling the emerging public health challenges at both national as well as international levels. Surveillance systems, disease modelling and forecasting play a pivotal role in both policy building, disease detection, prevention and response to potential health threats. This sub-theme calls for abstracts, papers and posters that focus on the one health approach, health system management, health financing, pandemic preparedness and surveillance.

The consequences of climate change are on a global scale. Adaptation and resilience are the changes in processes, practices, and structures to moderate potential damages or to benefit from opportunities associated with climate change.  Therefore, this subtheme calls for abstracts, papers and posters that focus on: Restoration in the face of a changing climate; Innovation ecosystem for change mitigation and adaptation in a development context; Ecosystem based adaptation to address climate change among the rural, urban and peri-urban communities; Urban planning and development; Gender and environmental governance; and the Role of Youth in conservation and Green ecosystem infrastructure as a tool in management of peri-urban and other environments.