Friday, March 13, 2009

About the Prehistory Club

The Prehistory Club of Kenya was founded in the year 2000 with the main aim of sensitizing Kenyans on matters of Paleontology, Archaeology and Geology. It is a brainchild of Dr. Fredrick Kyalo Manthi, EBS a Kenyan prehistory enthusiast and currently a Senior Research Scientist in Palaeontology at the National Museums of Kenya. The Club operates under the auspices of the National Museums of Kenya Palaeontology Section.

The motivation behind the establishment of the Prehistory Club was embedded in a number of facts about Kenya and Africa as a whole and
among others, these facts include:-
-Africa and particularly Kenya is a treasure trove of human heritage
-Few Kenyans are aware of the Country’s unique prehistoric remains.

Since its inception, the Club has organized many public lectures for high school and university students in different parts of the country. Besides lectures, the Club has organized excursions to prehistoric sites such as Olorgesailie, Kariandusi, Hyrax Hill, Kajiado and Lukenya. These excursions have availed the students an opportunity to inquire more about prehistory.

Human Origins Workshop for Kenyan Educators

Although prehistory and evolutionary studies are included in the Kenyan secondary school Biology and History subjects, lack of consistent up-dating of the syllabi and sheerignorance by a very large cross-section of teachers has led to paucity of enthusiasm among students towards these subjects. Further, the educators do not have access to up-to-date information emanating from the recent prehistory research. The net effect of this is lack of knowledge and appreciation of prehistory particularly among the youth.To counter this situation, the Prehistory Club of Kenya hosted a three-day workshop to help reverse the trend and infuse the emerging ideas in the field to the Kenyan educators. This very successful

Workshop preparations

The preparations for the workshop included sending out invitations to History and Biology high school teachers, education officers from Kenyan regional Museums and other stakeholders in the Kenyan education sector who included Kenyan curriculum developers and officials from the Ministry of Education. This was followed by further invitations to educators from a number of African countries including South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as Kenyan, and foreign researchers from the USA and Germany in the area of prehistory. Several representatives from the above mentioned groups were requested to prepare presentations on prehistory, with the teachers focusing largely on the challenges they and their students face when teaching prehistory. As with all workshops, other preparations included compiling a program for the workshop, making travel and accommodation arrangements for all participants, and ensuring that the venue for the workshop has been obtained and spruced.

As intended, the workshop served as an eye opener and learning platform for the Kenyan teachers and the curriculum developers. To the latter, it also provided a basis on which to challenge/censure the publishers who have frequently presented wrong information on prehistory and human evolution. By and large, it is believed that the teachers will replicate the knowledge they gathered to their students and other interested persons, thus helping to reverse the current situation whereby very few Kenyans are aware and appreciate the Country’s unique prehistoric material. As a result of the workshop, it is believed that more young people will be encouraged to pursue careers in prehistory related disciplines.