The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) provided an education grant valued at $25,000 to the University of Nairobi (UoN) in Kenya. The grant and a memorandum of understanding between the institutions enable 20 individuals in the East African country of Kenya to enroll in GIA’s Accredited Jewelry Professional intensive (AJPi) program.
UoN, the only institute of higher learning in Kenya, will select 20 individuals from the applicant pool. The five-day class will be held on the UoN campus. GIA will provide the instructor, curriculum and materials. In addition, GIA is gifting two specialized gemological microscopes to the university.
“We are thankful for GIA’s support to expand gemological knowledge in our community,” said Norbert Opiyo Akech of UoN. “This is a beneficial collaboration that will equip our local residents with the knowledge to further understand gems and jewelry, which directly relates to and adds value to the mining industry in Kenya.”
The three-course AJPi program teaches polished diamond quality; how to translate jewelry design, style and manufacturing features into consumer language; the basics of colored stone identification; how to explain treated, synthetic and imitation stones with full disclosure; and jewelry selling techniques.
“It is an honor to work alongside the UoN,” said Donna Baker, the president of GIA. “Our organizations share the goal of better serving local residents of Kenya by fostering the discovery and transmission of gem knowledge; and the stimulation of life and cultural development.
GIA has an established presence in Africa, operating an education campus and laboratory in Botswana and a laboratory in Johannesburg. In addition, GIA offers diamond, colored gemstone and jewelry arts education at other facilities in Africa. GIA is accredited by the Government of Botswana, and has provided classes in Gaborone to further the country’s goals of increasing local employment and added value services from its diamond production.