Student Internships: Thematic Areas

Below is a listing of the project areas the interns can be engaged in:

1. WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)

The assignment will include water project assessment, household water treatment methods, basic hygiene education, water project development, and other appropriate water technology skills. Addressing water needs in the communities that SASOL work with, finding the practical, sustainable, and affordable solutions that can be applied immediately to the water needs in the communities of Kitui County.

Specific activities as an example:

  1. Assessment of impact of sand storage dams on food production in Kitui County. This includes determination of water utilization apportionment, and establishment of farming and food production techniques used by communities. SASOL wants to ascertain if there is a significant link between sand storage dams built and food production.
  2. Analysis of sub catchment hydrology. This includes evaluation of the status of sand storage dams in terms of structural and hydraulic conditions, determination of the recharge extent from each dam reservoir by use of test wells, determination of sand porosity and if the water is able to be extracted, establishment of the nature of the catchment area, related desk research (aerial maps etc.) and final reporting
An Exchange team in the process of building a sand dam

An Exchange team in the process of building a sand dam

2. Environment and Climate Change.

Intern will conduct research for the purpose of expanding their knowledge and that of our farmers on issues of climate change adaptations, promotion of sustainable agriculture, the greening of supply chains, as well as production processes and ecosystem services.

The assignment will include the following activities involved with mapping out potential 3R interventions (Recharge, Retention and Re-use of rainwater) in Kitui County:

  • Identification of existing interventions
  • Development of an inventory supported by GPS, pictures etc.
  • Identification of any new applicable technology
  • Inventory and development of a manual to train farmers on FMNR (Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration) and final reporting.

3. Food security

Some of the food security aspects that SASOL focuses on include: food availability for farmers, food access (consumption) at household/ individual level, and the utilization of food for good nutrition. Several Food Security groups have been formed to equip farmers with relevant knowledge and skills for improved food security. The Food Security groups consists of farmers in marginalized livelihood zones and are growing green grams, maize, beans, cowpeas, sorghum and cassava among other crops.

The intern will be working with our farmers in enhancing their livelihood through agricultural interventions aimed at increasing agricultural production and strengthening important food value chains, capacity development on value addition, market development, and final reporting.

4. Agriculture

To train and assist farmers in agricultural activities such as:

  • Crop and/or livestock production
  • Agricultural marketing
  • Apiculture (Beekeeping)
  • Horticulture
  • Conservation agriculture technology such as the use of cover crops, crop rotation/intercropping, and mulching
  • Innovative agricultural techniques such as terracing and zai pits to utilize minimal water in dry lands
  • Irrigation techniques

5. Community Development/ Empowerment and Participation/ Sociology

Interns will be working with our food security groups in organizing and empowering them. The focus will be on motivating the farmers to become critical, creative, and liberated so that active participants are able take control of the direction of their lives. The intern will also work with the farmers to develop social capital and enhance communication skills.

6. Organizational management development.

SASOL works with Farmer’s Cooperative Society and Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) to encourage economic growth by empowering farmers with tools they need to support their families and uplift their communities. SASOL helps farmers to generate higher, more predictable incomes through agronomic extension services, farmer organization development, and market linkages. We help enable isolated communities to obtain input loans, high-quality farm inputs, and the best prices for their produce. SASOL field officers teach climate smart agriculture and promote green grams as a nutritious cash crop. Interns will conduct research into new CBO’s and geographic regions, as well as gain hands-on experience assisting with program work on projects that support SASOL’s work.

7. Information, Communication and Technology (ICT)

Candidates should have an interest in the design, implementation and application of web technologies. They should also have a desire to advance their own technical knowledge, as well as equip SASOL staff with the knowledge and skills needed to operate the implemented technologies (if applicable). Examples for possible projects include developing a monitoring and evaluation application for SASOL’s ICT students, developing software for the data collection done by SASOL field officers, or researching the significance of ICT developments in rural East-African communities.

8. Building and Construction

SASOL is in the process of developing a Training & Demonstration Centre in South Kitui County. The main function of the Demonstration Centre will be to train farmers in agricultural best practices. Currently SASOL is growing vegetables under greenhouse technology which uses water from an off-take well. It is SASOL’s intention for the water used to irrigate the demonstration farms to be lifted out of shallow wells from the sand storage dams. We are interested in having intern students assist in the development of the center by constructing additional sand storage dams, water tanks, wells and other infrastructure to improve upon the Demonstration Centre.

Exchange students building a classroom at MPC South

Exchange students building a classroom at MPC South

9. Micro-Enterprise Development

SASOL is looking for interns who are interested in developing agribusiness ventures for the farmers that SASOL works with. This includes stimulation of entrepreneurship in local farming systems, training farmers on diverse business skills, exposing farmers to business approaches, development and testing of training manuals, related desk research and final reporting.

10. Community Based Tourism

The potential for tourism in Kitui County is high but has not yet been exploited. The assignment will be to develop a community based tourism circuit in Kitui County. This includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Identifying destinations and sites to confirm suitability, relevance, and viability
  • Developing routes and packages/itineraries
  • Identification of capacity gaps in those routes and packages, and coming up with possible solutions (building capacity)
  • Profiling possible linkages to conventional circuits
  • Developing marketing strategies, such as using internet resources and identifying target markets

11. Education

There are two possible placements involving education for students interested in gaining experience in different fields. The first opportunity is in local secondary schools within Kitui County where the interns can choose to work in counseling, teaching, or leading extracurricular after-school courses. The second opportunity will be in educating the Food Security Groups that SASOL works with on business and entrepreneurship skills.