The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), established in 2004, is a consortium of 46 universities in Eastern, Central, Western & Southern Africa (ECWSA). The organisation evolved from the Forum on Agricultural Resource Husbandry (FORUM) program of the Rockefeller Foundation. RUFORUM is registered as an International Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and has mandate to oversee graduate training and networks of specialization in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). RUFORUM has an MoU with the African Union for strengthening science, technology and innovation capacity in Africa.
The consortium has several unique features for building Africa’s innovation capacity and for engaging universities in development process and practice:
- It is owned and managed by Africans;
- It derives its agenda largely from the continent wide policy frameworks especially of the African Union’s New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), the NEPAD Science and Technology Framework, the African Union Policy Framework on Revitalising Higher Education in Africa, the Sub Regional Multi–Country Agricultural Productivity Programs, the National Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) of the Member States and Governments, constant review of global trends and foresight planning in order to ensure that Africa has the required capacity for global competitiveness;
- It allows for joint action by the member universities. This is enhanced through joint faculty appointment for the 12 universities, payment of local fees by graduate students and national mechanisms (National Forums) which ensure wide stakeholder participation in the RUFORUM programmes; and
- The consortium provides a wide array of training opportunities for stakeholders, and is in the process of establishing credit transfer mechanisms among the member universities.
Mission: RUFORUM’s Mission is to strengthen the capacities of universities to foster innovations responsive to demands of small-holder farmers through the training of high quality researchers, the output of impact-oriented research, and the maintenance of collaborative working relations among researchers, farmers, national agricultural research institutions, and governments.
Vision: RUFORUM Sees a vibrant agricultural sector linked to African universities which cab produce high-performing graduates and high – quality research responsive to the demands of Africa’s farmers for innovations and able to generate sustainable livelihoods and national economic development
Objectives: Institutionally, RUFORUM aims to:
- Strengthen the capacity of locally based researchers who are responsive to farmer needs and opportunities for agricultural innovation within a context of national development
- Promote the retention of this capacity through farmer and employer demand
- Develop collaborative research and training facilities that achieve economies of scope and scale, and thus, make graduate education more “affordable”
- Enhance the participation and voice of women in agricultural research, production and marketing
- Encourage the application of research training and outreach to the reform of policy and development practice.
To achieve the above aims, RUFORUM, through a wide-ranging consultative prioritization and consensus building process among the member universities and other actors from within and outside Africa in agricultural innovation, is implementing 7 strategic goals. The overall guiding principle is proactive engagement with stakeholders in graduate training, research and development processes. Thus graduate training and research are the major generation and delivery mechanisms for RUFORUM outputs. Click here to read more