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Student teachers arrange conference in Kenya

Johanna Nilsson, a student teacher at Linköping University will, along with ten other students, organise a conference on the way out of poverty in Kenya on 14-16 February next year.

How come you’re doing this?

Johanna Nilsson

“We’re studying to become high school teachers and are taking a year-long course in advanced social studies. The course includes an optional field study and we are focusing on finding out more about ways out of poverty. We are going to be in Kenya for three weeks, visiting schools, a children's prison and studying the local community - with a focus on the way out of poverty. The field study ends with a conference.”

Why have you chosen to carry out the field study and the conference in Kenya?

“One of our teachers, PO Hansson, has many contacts there and is part of a Swedish-Kenyan cooperation initiative.  He came up with the idea of organising a conference on opportunities to escape from poverty and we thought it sounded interesting. The conference is a collaboration between Nairobi University and Linköping University.”

How far have you come in planning the event?

“We’re in full swing, it's an enormous process. It covers everything from finding a keynote speaker to sorting out pens. So we’re lucky to have the support of the university, otherwise we would not be able to go through with it. We want to have speakers in four different categories: Sports, Technology, Education and Entrepreneurship.  Speakers who, for example, have themselves made the journey out of poverty and who can share good examples of how they did this. One of the keynote speakers is Isaac Macharia, a Kenyan elite runner who comes from a very poor background. He will also visit LiU on 1 November. In conjunction with the International Affairs Student Association we arrange a seminar with him on the topic "Running out of poverty". He will share experiences from his life, from extreme poverty to being a world-class runner and studying at university.”

“We are also inviting Swedish and foreign organisations and companies that may be interested in participating in the conference, or to come and listen. We have been in contact with the UN office in Nairobi, among others.”

Do you have any Swedish speakers signed up?

“Yes, Elin Wihlborg who is assistant professor in political science at LiU will speak about democracy, rights and e-government. And Henrik Hansson, who is associate professor in computer and systems sciences at Stockholm University will give a talk on technology for development.”

In what way can you benefit from this as an aspiring high school teacher?

“A part of the course we read in advanced social studies concerns global poverty and internationalisation.  It’s a topic we will teach.  It is then important to have your own experiences and gain a perspective on what the world actually looks like. Our textbooks lag behind, the changes are so rapid. In addition, with the conference we hope to get real life examples of how people manage to get out of poverty, something we can take with us when we teach social studies. Plus, we make an active effort for global issues by organising the conference.”

Related links

More about the conference Uplifting the Poor

Student teacher's blog (in Swedish)

Global Relations (co-sponsor of the conference)


Eva Bergstedt 2012-10-29



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Last updated: 2014-09-08