Seasonal Greetings from RUFORUM


The RUFORUM Secretariat appreciates your continued support and wishes you a Happy Holiday as we look forward to more fruitful partnerships in 2017.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

RUFORUM partners with AWARD to Strengthen Leadership skills for Research Scientists and University staff in Africa

AWARDThe Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture  (RUFORUM) in partnership with the African Women in Agriculture and Research Development (AWARD) aims at strengthening improved gender practices within the RUFORUM Network and jointly organizing leadership and management training courses. A gender awareness leadership and management training conducted annually is one of the activities under this partnership.

It is within this context that AWARD in collaboration with RUFORUM conducted a Leadership Programme for Agriculture Research and Development (LEPARD) training workshop at Bingu International Conference Center, Umodzi Park Hotel in Lilongwe, Malawi on 4 -9th July 2016.  This training workshop followed other two LEAPARD courses earlier hosted in Nairobi (2014) and Uganda (2015), respectively under the same RUFORUM/AWARD collaboration geared towards building capacity in gender mainstreaming in Africa. Specifically, the just concluded LEPARD training in Malawi drew participation from 11 Africa countries – namely Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

LEPARD focuses on strengthening Agricultural Rural and Development Institutions through provision of role model leadership and innovative expert facilitation based on core values of inclusiveness, performance, transparency, integrity, and efficiency. The course targets mid-level management staff from Agricultural Research and Development Sector such as National Agriculture Research Systems, Universities, and International Agricultural Research Centres (IARCs).

DSC_1238The LEPARD training in Malawi was officiated by Dr Jean Kalilani, the Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and  Social Welfare. In her remarks, Dr. Kalilani thanked the organisers for the life changing course.  She indicated willingness by her Ministry to partner with AWARD and RUFORUM to organize a similar training for female scientists and parliamentarians in Malawi.

AWARD representative Ms Dorothy Mukhebi, the Deputy Director Programmes, valued the high level presence, commitment and support from the Malawi Government and Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) during the training.  AWARD has provided a total of 42 fellowships to Malawi for the past years in building the capacity of scientists.

Continue reading

Kenyan Professor heads board for Fisheries PhD course at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Otunga (seated middle) with some of the board members, LUANAR officials

Otunga (seated middle) with some of the board members, LUANAR officials

Professor Ruth Otunga from the University of Eldoret in Kenya has been elected first board chairperson for the regional PhD programme in Aquaculture and Fisheries hosted at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources following the Regional Academic Advisory Board Meeting held at Crossroads Hotel in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe on Wednesday, June 8, 2016.

LUANAR was chosen amongst a group of universities in Eastern and Southern Africa to host the regional PhD programme in 2009 but there was no academic board to oversee the implementation of the programme, which is patronised by 55 universities from 22 African countries including some West African countries.

A board comprising members from the academia and aquaculture institutions within the region and beyond was recently appointed to oversee the programme.

The following were the members appointed into the advisory board: Dr Steven John Balirwa from National Research Council of Uganda, Professor Jay Stauffer Junior- Pennsylvania State University (USA), Professor Otunga, Professor Emmnauel Kaunda- LUANAR Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Warwick Sauer- Rhodes University (South Africa), Dr Daniel Jamu- Fish Project (Malawi) and Dr Malcolm Beveridge- Director of Aquaculture and Genetics at World Fish Centre in Zambia.

Following their appointments, the board members met in Lilongwe to appoint amongst themselves the board chairperson and look at their terms of reference, amongst other tasks.

Professor Otunga, who is Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Eldoret was appointed first board chairperson of the advisory council, whose leadership will be rotating amongst the member countries on annual basis.

Speaking in an interview on the side-lines of the meeting, Otunga hailed the composition of the board, which she said will help bring expertise from different countries into the programme.

She also pledged the board’s full support towards the programme and functions of the secretariat at LUANAR: “I am happy that the programme is hosted by LUANAR, which demonstrated good capacity to host the programme amongst several universities within the region including my University. We are going to offer our full support to LUANAR for successful implementation of the programme.

Head of the Aquaculture and Fisheries Department at LUANAR Dr Wilson Jere said Malawi, just like the other member countries stands to benefit from the programme, which he said will result in skilled professions in the field of aquaculture and fisheries.

Nearly 70 percent of animal protein in Malawi comes from fish from the fresh waters of Lake Malawi.- See more at:

UNIVEN Partners With RUFORUM to Respond to challenges in the realm of Agriculture

A delegation led by the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Venda, Prof Peter Mbati, comprising of the Dean of the School of Agriculture, Prof Godwin Mchau, the Director International Relations, Cornelius Hagenmeier and Director Communications and Marketing, Takalani Dzaga successfully accomplished its mission of strengthening the relationship between the University and the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM). It visited the RUFORUM secretariat which is located on the campus of Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda from Monday 16 to Friday 20 May 2016. Univen has become a full member of the RUFORUM two years ago, and the Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Mbati serves on the executive board of the organisation.


During the visit, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal had the opportunity to share with the Secretariat of RUFORUM and Vice-Chancellors as well as other representatives of select Ugandan RUFORUM member universities the success story of Univen. He highlighted the exponential increase in research outputs, the University’s financial sustainability, stability, political buy-in, successful linkages and partnerships with other institutions of higher learning globally, including the universities situated in the African continent. “The linkages and partnership have been very strong catalysts for the growth and development of the University of Venda. Arrangements are at an advanced stage to elevate the School of Agriculture at the University of Venda, to the Centre of Excellence. Universities should be seen to be making changes for the welfare of communities within which they operate and the University of Venda is doing considerably well in matters pertaining to Community Engagement”, said Prof Mbati. The Vice-Chancellor’s presentation was very well received and he was commended for his visionary leadership. The counterparts confessed that there was indeed a lot to be learnt from the University of Venda.

Prof Mbati shares Univen’s success story, presents a token of appreciation to RUFORUM’s Executive Secretary, Prof Adipala Ekwamu

Prof Mbati shares Univen’s success story, presents a token of appreciation to RUFORUM’s Executive Secretary, Prof Adipala Ekwamu

The collaboration between the University of Venda and RUFORUM is intended to support the development of a vibrant agricultural sector linked to universities across Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. The member universities partner to strengthen capacity and unlock external funding opportunities to support their work, with a particular focus on training a critical mass of Masters and PhD graduates, who are responsive to stakeholder needs  and national as well as regional development goals. During the visit, an exhibition was organised by RUFORUM which presented the strategic approach of RUFORUM towards supporting agricultural research and training in Africa.

Members of the RUFORUM Secretariat explained a detailed exhibition which presented the strategic approach of the RUFORUM

Members of the RUFORUM Secretariat explained a detailed exhibition which presented the strategic approach of the RUFORUM

Continue reading