DVC, Professor Da Silva receives an honorary commendation from the Brazilian Government
Strathmores Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof Da Silva, a Brazilian national, arrived in East Africa in 1997 and has worked closely and collaboratively with the Brazilian Embassy in Nairobi. His efforts to lobby for Brazil to host the Olympic Games in 2016 and the support he gave the Embassy in their efforts to support the candidacy of Jose Graziano Da Silva to head FAO are among the contributions towards the goals of Brazils representatives in East Africa.
While in Makerere University, he helped Uganda start applied research in solar energy and other sources of renewable energy in a bid to tap into enormous resources the country has to make electricity available in rural areas. In 2001, he started CREEC Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation – to spearhead research, training and consultancy in the field of renewable energy. CREEC was the beneficiary of a Presidential Award and obtained 150,000 dollars to set up a laboratory to test and label solar equipment in Uganda.
With a three million dollars donation from Norway, and in collaboration with colleagues in Makerere, a masters degree in renewable energy was begun, which has allowed young African students from Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi and Mozambique be trained in areas of strategic importance for their countries. So far, more than 50 students, half of them women, have graduated under this project.
Still in Makerere, Prof Da Silva helped the university to change their connection to UMEME, the Ugandan utility company thus helping the institution save more than 20,000 dollars per month. Prof Izael was a senior member of the faculty of technology for 13 years, in which time, he trained many students on energy auditing in households and industry. This was a practical hands-on training starting with energy audit being carried out in university halls of residence; students learnt to find energy-saving opportunities on their own.
While still working in Makerere University, Prof Da Silva started BrazAfric, a company which fosters technology transfer between Brazil and Africa in the field of agri-business. With this company, the wet-processing coffee system was incorporated in Uganda in 2004 when BrazAfric set up 16 processing plants; this saw increased coffee export which helped Uganda double its income from coffee export. The introduction of electronic coffee sorting as opposed to hand-picking was also a positive development of this initiative.
In the field of corporate social responsibility; for more than ten years, Prof Da Silva was General Secretary of Kyoga Foundation, an NGO dealing with education and poverty alleviation in Uganda. Through this entity, a dozen primary schools were constructed in areas where students had to walk for many kilometers to find a school.
The former Ambassador of Brazil to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, Her Excellency Ana Maria Fernades Sampaio, was very much aware of Prof Da Silvas activities and thus decided to recommend his name for the award of Comendador da Ordem do Rio Branco, a prestigious award made in memory of the Baron of Rio Branco, the Father of Diplomacy in Brazil. Her suggestion was well received by Her Excellency the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, who admitted Prof Da Silva as Comendador by a decree dated 16th May, 2013. Prof Da Silva received the Cross of the Ordem and a printed State Commendation in a ceremony at the Brazilian Embassy in Nairobi on the 5th of September 2013. This award is similar to the award of Lordship in UK or the Elder of the Burning Spear in Kenya.
We are really proud to announce this award and wish Prof Da Silva a long life and many more achievements.