Spotlight: Johnson Ireri Kinyua

In our recurring Spotlight blog feature, we chat with CASE members from around the globe about insights and strategies that have helped them in their advancement careers.

Member: Johnson Ireri Kinyua, director of advancement at the University of Nairobi. 

Background: At the University of Nairobi, Kinyua was involved in a recent CASE on Campus training.  He previously served as ethics and governance manager at KCA University in Nairobi.

CASE: What are some challenges your institution has faced?

Kinyua: Advancement is still a new concept in Kenya and Africa at large, and many people don’t understand what we do. Administrators, fundraising, stewardship and staffing still remain a challenge, especially finding staff with the right skills to manage such sub-units of advancement such as database, alumni affairs, marketing and communications. There is also a high expectation from the management and council to deliver on projects despite the lean staff.

What are milestones you’ve achieved while working in advancement?

Good collaborations with government, philanthropists and alumni who have enhanced our kitty by donating to our projects. Donations include US$8 million by the President of Kenya towards Wangari Maathai Institute of Environment and Security Studies, and a further US$1 million towards Nairobi Innovation Week. We also received US$1 million towards the renovation and refurbishment of Mahatma Gandhi Graduate Library, among other financial contributions.

We have managed to set up a University Endowment Fund to fundraise for scholarships and so far have raised US$50,000. We are also in the process of setting up the University of Nairobi Foundation to be a fundraising and investing wing of the advancement office. We also receive goodwill and support from the top university management, council and the chancellor.

What were some highlights from the CASE on Campus training?

The CASE facilitators outlined best practices and approaches to advancement and also explored staff structures, roles and responsibilities. Staff in attendance gained the understanding that fundraising does not solely sit with the advancement team but cuts across. Attendees also received knowledge on the approaches to moving alumni and community partners along the engagement continuum in order to contribute to a strong culture of philanthropy and engagement.

Read more in our BriefCASE member profile.

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