Law Student Olive Mumbo Awarded for Legal Education Paper
Olive Awuor Mumbo, a 3rd Year Law school student was recently awarded for her outstanding paper dubbed Legal Education in Kenya, a private law school students perspective, by the International Association of Law Schools Organization (IALS).
In her paper, Olive compared Strathmore University Law School to public universities that offer law across the country. She identified challenges faced by most public universities that included; law schools using foreign curriculum instead of customizing the syllabus to the Kenyan context to encourage improvement of the countrys systems and; students efforts in school being geared towards performing at their best in the studies, but not necessarily focusing on their skills which encourage the production of well-rounded students.
After critically analyzing the challenges, Olive gave recommendation proposals that comprised of; encouraging partnerships between Kenyan universities not only with universities from western countries but also within African; she also encouraged lecturers to implement best what they are teaching to encourage students to remain responsible and ready for the future; she encouraged the setting up of forums that enable students to give suggestions or point out mishaps in delivery of lectures such as lecturers not attending classes this would best be exercised through filling evaluation forms, speaking through class representatives etc. a factor that public universities do not enjoy.
How did you end up writing this paper?
While doing my judicial attachment in Malindi, I received an email from our Dean encouraging interested students to participate in this competition. He gave us the links to use to be involved and I took up the challenge since my days at the office would end at around 3pm and I did not have anything to do from that time to dinner time.
I first worked on a draft which I sent to my lecturer Francis Kariuki who gave me recommendations to improve the paper, which I did. I then sent my abstract of 150 words to IALS which they approved and after two weeks I was allowed to write the paper which was 3000 words in total.
I submitted the paper on July 15th, 2015.
What criteria was used to choose you as a winner?
I am not sure how I was chosen, but I know there was a committee of seven judges who randomly selected 150 articles and narrowed down to three articles. I was told that all the judges picked my article somehow, and then decided to pick another two so that we were three students who were awarded.
The other two students were from the University of Adelaide Australia, and University of Houston Law Center USA.
The winning announcement
I received a congratulatory email in October just before my exams begun. They told me that I was selected to go to Segovia Spain for the award ceremony. I was so elated.
IALS catered for my expense trip although Strathmore law school booked the accommodation for us. I was the only undergrad student who won from Strathmore, however some of my lecturers who had done another article were also selected to attend the ceremony and present their papers, so I went with some staff members from the school.
The three; Francis Kariuki Kamau, Beatrice Kioko and Linet Muthoni presented a paper on: In Search for an Alternative Conceptual and Methodological Framework in Law School Teaching and Scholarship.
What was your prize?
An all-expense paid trip to Spain for the ceremony. They had also arranged for a tour of Madrid but our Strathmore team did not attend because we had to join our colleagues in Nuremberg for the Law school annual academic trip that had just begun.
For me the recognition and the all expense paid trip were great awards in themselves.
Who is Olive?
I am the last born in a family of 5 children from Mombasa County. Our mum passed on when I was young and as a result, my dad and my siblings literally took care of me.
I enjoy writing, swimming, hanging out with friends and family, and sight-seeing.
Before joining Strathmore I was teaching at our family business school Rosina Junior School in Mombasa. I hope to take up the business from a legal perspective once I finish my studies.
Did you want to come to Strathmore?
No I did not, I initially wanted to join University of Nairobi (UoN) because my siblings had studied there. The dilemma I had though, was that if I joined UoN I would have had to undertake a degree in medicine which was not what I wanted to do. While I was debating on whether to join the university or look for another university I applied to Strathmore where I was put on a waiting list to join the Law School. Because I knew I wanted to pursue Law, I took a 1 year sabbatical from studies to consider other options if I could not do law.
During that one year is when I took up teaching at our family business. By the end of that year by the grace of God Strathmore called me and offered me a letter of offer to join the law programme which was such an answered prayer for me.
I have enjoyed my stay at Strathmore, am surprised time has elapsed so fast. It has been a good experience with many cherishing moments.
Are you involved in extra-curricular activities while in school?
Yes I have several I am the current secretary of the Spanish club.
I am also the vice-chair of legal research for Strathmore Instigation Council a council ran by students where we do drafting, legal research and legal aid.
I am also a member of the Kenya Model University UN (KMUUN).
I orchestrated the mooting session for the Strathmore Law School where we formed a moot club that trains students to prepare for moots. This club is now ran by our graduate assistants due to their vast experience compared to us.
Lastly, I am an intern at Strathmore Dispute Resolution Centre (SDRC) that focuses on alternative dispute resolution methods that help people avoid going to court.
Where do you draw your motivation from?
My family. We push each other to achieve our best. If we ever feel like giving up there is always someone to push you to go further.
Congratulations Olive on the recognition.