Dr. Martin C. Njoroge
Area of Study:
Dr. Martin C. Njoroge, a Kenyan scholar of sociolinguistics, approached the Scholar Rescue Fund for support in 2008 after violent political protests erupted in Kenya in response to the contested presidential election results. At the time, Dr. Njoroge was a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, on sabbatical leave from his position at Kenyatta University. Several of his relatives lost their lives or suffered violence during the protests and targeted ethnic killings. As a scholar well known in the community and an ethnic Kikuyu, he feared a similar fate and putting his family at even more risk if he returned to Kenya at a time of insecure and fragile peace.
A SRF partnership with the University of Pennsylvania allowed Dr. Njoroge to stay at the School of Education for one more year, and for his wife and children to join him there. During this time, he developed literacy and numeracy curricula to implement in programs for Kenya’s street youth, and in 2009, he published his work as a monograph entitled Aspirations and Educational Challenges of Kenya’s Street Children.
After his SRF fellowship, Dr. Njoroge was able to return to Kenya safely and is currently Director of The Confucius Institute and Senior Lecturer of Linguistics at Kenyatta University, an institution that has been his professional home since 1998. He also earned his Ph.D. in sociolinguistics at Kenyatta in 2007, and a M.A. in English language and linguistics in 1996. His main research interests include multilingualism and indigenous languages in Kenya, and language and literacy as tools for empowering Kenya’s street children for national development. As a lecturer he has devoted himself to work that will impact his own students and Kenyan society in a positive way. He serves as a Master’s and Ph.D. thesis advisor and has taught graduate courses in language materials development, syllabus design and linguistic research methods. In addition to his position at Kenyatta University, Dr. Njoroge has held adjunct faculty positions at the United States International University in Kenya (2006-07) and the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (1999-2007) and is an external examiner in several universities in Kenya.
Dr. Njoroge’s recent work focuses on phonology and teaching Chinese as a fourth language in Kenya. His devotion to increasing knowledge of the way languages work and how they can be used to promote intercultural understanding has led him to disseminate his research at international conferences far and wide, from Wisconsin to Oxford and Beijing, while at the same time actively sharing work in his home country. His most recent monograph, Linguistic variation in a multilingual setting: Evidence from Kenya, Africa was published in 2011. Contributing to innovative language-learning methods in Kenya is at the heart Dr. Njoroge’s work, and his publications offer examination and analysis of classroom teaching practices and the particular concerns involved in learning third and fourth languages. He maintains connection with his SRF host institution as a member of the Educational Linguistics Forum of the University of Pennsylvania and is active in a number of international professional societies.
SRF is delighted by Dr. Njoroge’s successes in the study of language, and has followed with great interest his career and its impact on language-learning in Kenya since his return there.