STUDENTS POST: Getting our feet wet


Sharing our first feelings about the project and field trip to Kenya 

This is first blog post from HAMK in Kenya group and our project name is Liquid biofuel in Kenya.  

Our group consists of six students who are Natalie, Janne, Suvi, Laura, Jemina and Piritta.  

We study sustainable development or bioengineering. Some of us are on the final parts of our studies and some of us have just started our degree programs or somewhere in-between.  

Target country in this problem-based learning course is Kenya as one might have predicted form the first sentence. Our area of focus is liquid biofuel and more precisely liquid biofuel made from invasive species like for example water hyacinth.  

We have couple of collaboration schools, that we are doing sort of parallel projects. One school is Aalto University from Finland like us and other is Egerton University in Kenya. Egerton is also our host in Kenya when we’ll go to visit them with Aalto University’s group later this March. In Kenya we also have couple of companies who have wanted to join this project and with whom we’ll be doing our work.  

Aim in this program is to produce factual, peer to peer type guidance materials on how and why companies and communities should take on producing biofuel from invasive species and other sustainable sources. Materials will be done by conducting intel gathering on the whole scene of biofuel with the focus on second generation biofuels. Another aspect that we will be focusing on are UN’s recommendations on how to make biofuel production sustainable. With these things in mind, we’ll be conducting interviews with our collaboration companies and make the guidance materials with them. After completing the materials, we will help our collaborators share the materials through social media, so the message can be as widespread as possible given limited resources. 

Before even getting our feet wet. We have tried to get to known each other. Whenever a new project starts, it is important to get to know the team you are working with, so that the best potential the team has can be achieved. Since most of us didn’t know each other in advance, and because we live in different parts of Finland, we have met in Teams via video calls. 

We have used the Team Canvas as a tool to help us, first to combine what and why we are doing this and with what resources. It has clarified us how we can achieve the goal of this project. We have also gone through each educational/professional background, strengths, and weaknesses. 

As we are going on a field trip to Kenya, we have also held a low-threshold online meetings, where everyone has been able to share fears and needs related to field trip. Although the team still doesn’t know each other well, we have a strong feeling that everyone is committed to working and wants to maintain a good atmosphere. In addition to getting to know each other, we have also met online in different configurations. Sometimes we met with HAMK mentors and sometimes with Egerton and Aalto students. 

Working together at Oodi, making a risk analysis in pairs. Risks and affects during a field trip.

On 9th of March, we met with Aalto students in Helsinki. It was wonderful to see and work live! Although remote working has already become a habit for us, it leaves so much of the spontaneous communication and reactions missing. The initial experience on the project is, that we are so glad to be part of this collaboration opportunity! Next time you will hear us, we are in Africa! 


Natalie Helenius and Janne Mäntylä
Team Kenya
Liquid Biofuel

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