PBL East Africa kicked off in Nairobi Innovation Week


Aalto Global Impact and University of Nairobi hosted an open event with a focus on problem-based learning in East Africa.

University of Nairobi’s campus is filled with buzz this week. The fourth Nairobi Innovation Week features dozens of events and 100 pitches of start-ups, among others. The official side-events were kicked off on March 5th.

Aalto University, Makerere University, University of Dar es Salaam and University of Nairobi presented their joint effort to create a problem based learning network in East Africa. The event aroused interest among faculty, students and other stakeholders.

Movement of problem solvers


“We want to create a movement of problem based learning and get everyone on board, the students and the faculty are at the forefront of changing the mindset”, said Dr. Tonny Omwansa the project coordinator in University of Nairobi’s C4DLab and the father of the Innovation Week.

In terms of the PBL partnership, University of Nairobi has started a new course to pilot the initiative and there are plans to start a new Master’s programme based on the methodology. Student collaborations are at the center of the PBL initiative.

“The PBL concept – be it called problem based learning or passion based learning – means that students get a broad understanding of societal issues and learn to ask questions”, explained Riina Subra, the leader of the project in Aalto Global Impact.

In Nairobi, multidisciplinary student teams now look into expanding the campus bike share initiative and developing food safety together with Aalto University’s IDBM students. At the same time students from Aalto’s Creative Sustainability programme and Sustainable Global Technologies course are working with the teams from Makerere and University of Dar es Salaam on upcycling plastic waste and improving the dissemination of weather information to small-scale farmers.

When it comes to faculty, the participants of the event agreed that breaking academic silos is a very welcome trend.

“In order to create groundbreaking innovations, we must work across disciplinary boundaries”, Dr. Philip Kwesiga from University of Makerere concluded.

Read more:
News: Follow PBL East Africa student teams


This post was written by Outi Puukko

Recent News

Students of Aalto University and Makerere University work together in Kampala. Photos: Up plastic -team


Follow PBL East Africa student teams

Aalto students meet their East African colleagues during the next month when multidisciplinary project courses’ teams work on sustainable innovation challenges as a part of Problem Based Learning in East Africa -project. In Kampala, Uganda, Sustainable Global Technologies Studio Course students’ and Makerere University students’ collaboration has had a great start. Upcycling plastic waste in Read more >


East Africa Day

Kick off the new year with fresh perspectives on sustainable innovation and development! Date: Friday, 12 January 2018 at 9:30–12:00 Location: Design Factory, Otaniemi campus (Betonimiehenkuja 5 C) East Africa Day is the first special training event for Aalto students working on multidisciplinary community challenges in Eastern Africa. Organised by Aalto Global Impact, the morning Read more >

Maureen Moraa, Jessica Manhica and Linda Ansong at the documentary film 'Play Me a New Language' premiere. Photo: Roope Kiviranta


A Reunion

CodeBus Africa team members from 10 countries across the continent met each other and looked into the future of youth in technology. “I think that in CodeBus, the learning experience surpassed all expectations. At least it really blew my mind as a trainer”, says Stefanie Garises from Namibia University of Science and Technology. Stefanie Garises Read more >