An Educational Expedition - SPAN's Inaugural Kenyan Trek

SPAN's Inaugural Kenyan Trek led 33 students to explore the Kenyan landscapes and cultures, fostering community engagement. 

February 16, 2024

The SIPA Pan African Network (SPAN) - organized its first-ever Kenyan Trek in partnership with RIDE International - a US-based nonprofit that conducts educational tours in East Africa for foreign students, researchers, and visitors to discover the country's captivating landscapes and rich cultures. This exercise was motivated by RIDE's Executive Director and Columbia SIPA alum Riley Jon Blackwell SIPA'23, who had served as a board member for SPAN, a student group at Columbia University committed to fostering discussions and awareness on Pan-African issues. 

SPAN Kenya Trek 2024

Due to his passion for East Africa, Blackwell hoped to leave a positive legacy and give future SIPA students a chance to experience the region. Through this trek, he also aimed to encourage the students to broaden their perspectives, apply their academic knowledge in real-world scenarios, and engage deeply with the local communities they encountered, which would cultivate their profound understanding of global dynamics. This mission resonated with RIDE International's ethos of empowering global change through educational experiences and promoting partnerships and local development goals to ensure sustainable communities.

SPAN Kenya Trek 2024

During this inaugural trek, 33 students representing diverse nationalities participated. The group began their journey in the Nairobi metropolis, ventured to the savannahs of Tsavo, and concluded the trek in Diani Beach. During an 11-night adventure, the students explored conservation efforts, community development, and cultural exchange, gaining invaluable insights into the intricate interplay between people, wildlife, and the environment in East Africa and lessons that reverberate far beyond the confines of the journey itself.