Celebrating RUFORUM@10: RUFORUM’s Developmental Roots


The road to Maputo: 21-25 July 2014.
This is the second in a series of articles we are releasing as part of our 10 year anniversary. The author, Joyce Moock, is a former Associate Vice President of the Rockefeller Foundation and was instrumental in founding FORUM, the predecessor programme to RUFORUM. Click here to see our first release where we announced the anniversary celebrations.

In over a little more than two decades RUFORUM has evolved from a regional, crop-based network of five agricultural faculties into a blockbuster regional consortium of 32 universities in eastern, central and southern Africa.  It is now a wholly African governed and managed network with a Secretariat, housed at Makerere University, which provides the platform for catalyzing change in African higher level capacity building.

The RUFORUM model is deliberately based on a high leverage concept that brings about broad change in universities. Through competitive sub-grants, specialized training sessions and intensive knowledge sharing, it exposes universities to both demand and opportunities to produce more relevant graduates and research to serve poor rural communities. RUFORUM’s learning network has been able to impact attitudes, curricula, pedagogical standards and university partnerships with smallholder farmers and with a wide assortment of agricultural development agencies.  By operating in a network mode, RUFORUM creates economies of scale in delivering these services.  To date, it has served over 1197 postgraduate students (1005 MSc and 192 PhD) and 2,340 faculty, with nearly 40% of the student grants awarded to women. Its Biennial Conferences attract over 600 participants from inside and outside Africa.  Its impactful community action programs have drawn support from numerous funders. And the innovations keep coming.  Most recently, nine of RUFORUM’s member universities have committed to host a graduate teaching assistants exchange whereby the host university waives fees and provides accommodation for PhD students and staff nominated by their universities. The sending universities provide travel, stipend and research funds.  In turn, the host university is eligible to send staff for specialized training to a sister university under the same arrangement. Click here to view or download the full issue

 

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