The Turkana Basin Institute has joined the project Consolidating the Future through Mastering the Deep Past (CONFMAP), led by archaeologist Sonia Harmand of Stony Brook University and TBI. The project is funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, and aims to improve access to paleosciences for marginalized populations while raising awareness in Kenyan of the value of the prehistoric archaeological heritage of Turkana County in northern Kenya. Other partners include Turkana University College, the National Museums of Kenya, the French Institute for Research in Africa, and the French Embassy in Nairobi.

It was ten years ago in this region that archaeologist Sonia Harmand and her team discovered the oldest stone tools known to science, dating back to 3.3 million years. This groundbreaking discovery is one of many that have, in the past five decades, established the Lake Turkana Basin as one of the most scientifically and culturally important areas on earth.

Members of the West Turkana Archaeological Project in the field.

In 2019, Isaiah Nengo, Deputy Director of TBI, visited the Turkana University College in Lodwar with Cyril Gerardon, Counsellor for Cooperation and Cultural Affairs at the French Embassy on the invitation of Sonia. Following this visit, an idea emerged to set up a project, funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, to improve access to paleosciences education for marginalized populations, while raising awareness in Kenyan important prehistoric heritage of Turkana county and the Turkana Basin. Over the next two years, a number of initiatives will be realized:

  • Kenyan students, especially women and Turkana, can receive training in the fields of archaeology and cultural tourism.
  • The Master of Science in Evolutionary Biology program at Turkana University College will be strengthened.
  • Awareness programs on archaeology will be implemented in conjunction with prehistoric clubs in primary and secondary schools, and a traveling photographic exhibition will be established.