New Publication: The Impact of Graduate Research Grants – Examples from Botswana


UoBWhen enterprising farmer Eric Galotshoge had the idea of importing a herd of dairy goats and producing goats’ milk to satisfy a burgeoning local market, he thought he was onto a sure thing. As a farmer with an entrepreneurial turn of mind, he did his market research and found that a strong demand existed from local supermarkets, hotels and game lodges for locally produced goats’ milk.
What he did not anticipate, however, was the difficulty of feeding and caring for his herd of 30 British Alpine and Toggenburg goats, imported from South Africa. These highly productive  and somewhat high maintenance  dairy animals could not simply be left to forage off the land, as the local Tswana goats typically do. They needed to eat lucerne (a forage crop known also as alfalfa), which was not readily available in Botswana. “These exotic breeds didn’t acclimatise well, and all 30 goats died because of disease and lack of feed,” he says.
At the time, Galotshoge was gearing up to collaborate with university researchers who were planning to do experiments on his farm in the hope of discovering how best these highly productive dairy goats, imported from temperate climates, could be helped to thrive in Botswana’s arid climate, particularly as a poverty-alleviation measure for small farmers with few resources. But most of Galotshoge’s goats died before work could begin, due ironically to the very lack of knowledge that researchers were hoping to gain through their on-farm experiments. As an intrepid farmer with resources and business acumen, Galotshoge had as good a chance as most farmers do of capitalising on a promising new idea. But because of critical gaps in his knowledge that could only be supplied by local research, the enterprise failed on his first attempt.
Fortunately, Galotshoge is trying again – and this time he’s collaborating with researchers from the Botswana College of Agriculture, who have been involved in research to support dairy goat farming among small-scale farmers. Touring his farm with Dr Gaolebale Mpapho, a senior lecturer in dairy science, Galotshoge points out facilities that he has designed specifically with small-scale farmers’ needs in mind, such as a small elevated shelter and a milking platform.
The dairy goat initiative is one of three projects from the Botswana College of Agriculture that is being supported by RUFORUM, through its Competitive Research Grants programme to support masters-level training.  Click here to read more

Engaging Stakeholders in Higher Education to respond to Call for Proposals


Participants who attended the recent call for proposal write-shop in Uganda

Participants who attended the recently closed call for proposal write-shop in Uganda

As part of efforts to ensure effective partnerships with user-led processes and thus engage in articulating demand for relevant research and capacity building, RUFORUM is an active partner and leader of Work Package – Capacities in the EU-supported project “Platform for African-European Partnerships for Research and Development (PAEPARD). The PAEPARD Project is led by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA); and brings together several organisations in Africa and Europe. RUFORUM and ICRA, have strategically used this platform to engage over 30 consortia to promote interaction between academia, researchers and end-users, including the regional farmers’ organisations under the umbrella of the Pan-African Farmer Organisation (PAFO). These interactions require resources (both human and financial) to remain sustainable and the different teams have had several opportunities to develop project proposals.

One such opportunity was during the week of 16 – 20th March 2015; when 14 Consortia each represented by 2 – 3 participants gathered in Entebbe, Uganda to develop applications targeting the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF) 2015 Call for Proposals. In attendance were 30 participants from RUFORUM Member Universities, National Agricultural Research Organizations, Private Sector and Non-Governmental organizations from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Ethiopia and Benin. A total of 14 proposals developed in line with the Call are proposing to introduce game-changing innovations at scale that should enable the development of improved and sustainable food systems focusing on value chain constraints along key agricultural commodity value chains. As per call guidelines all projects must involve Canadian partners and RUFORUM has made efforts to ensure that the 14 projects obtain and engage Canadian organisations in the development of the proposals. All the teams have committed to finalize and submit by the Call deadline of 27th March 2015.

Dual Mission of Dlamini-Zuma and Sall: Lobbying for Higher Education on Parallel Agendas


Written by Damtew Teferra Ph.D. Dr. Damtew Teferra wrote the discussion paper on Investment in Higher Education in Africa and led the higher education expert team which developed the background papers in the lead up to the Summit. He is a professor of higher education at the University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, founding director of the International Network for Higher Education in Africa, Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of African Higher Education, Editor of the Chronicle of African Higher Education and the African Higher Education News. He may be reached at teferra@ukzn.ac.za and teferra@bc.edu

At the just-concluded African Higher Education Summit in Dakar, under the theme of ‘Revitalizing Higher Education for Africa’s Future,’ the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and Senegalese President, Macky Sall, have pledged to undertake a role of critical importance: lobbying their constituencies for revitalizing higher education at the upcoming head of states meeting in June 2015. This commitment comes at a climax of a concerted drive—by a number of institutions, including the Association of Commonwealth Universities [1], the International Network for Higher Education in Africa [2, 3], and the International Association of Universities [4], among others—to position higher education strategically at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda. As the top African Union diplomat and the President are headed to the June meeting to engage their colleagues and situate the dialogue within the 2063 African Union Agenda [5], this editorial attempts to offer some critical “talking points” for the conversation. Furthermore, it is anticipated that the dialogue may also help shape the post-2015 development agenda, which, many worry, may not place higher education centrally—as demonstrated by the three institutions above. The five main points below are the critical concepts:
1. Rate of Return: Africa Now the Global Leader! The abandoned rate-of-return study on higher education has been instrumental in adversely shaping the African higher education sector for decades. It was at this 2015 Summit that the audience discovered from a World Bank representative—with jubilation—that the rate of return on higher education in Africa is not only high but at 21 percent [6], is now the highest in the world! For a few higher education experts at the Summit—who have been at the forefront of the conversation on the rate-of-return debacle [7,8,9], including this author—that official pronouncement was a particularly momentous occasion. Indeed, investing in African higher education is not only important now but more so as it affords the continent a very high competitive edge to its already high and sustained economic growth. Thus, all concerned need to celebrate, articulate, and widely popularize this new and groundbreaking discovery on the role of African higher education. This major finding must be effectively communicated for a paradigm shift targeting political leaders, policy makers, development partners and actors, researchers, and other stakeholders.

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