University of Namibia

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) recently announced the 11th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting that will be hosted by the Government of Namibia together with the University of Namibia, a member of the RUFORUM Network.

The Programme will feature several side-events linked to efforts to contribute to RUFORUM’s overall mission and Theory of Change that aspires to build “a vibrant agricultural sector linked to African universities”. Key highlights of the side-events include: Meetings of RUFORUM organs, including the 11th Meeting of the Principals and Deans Committee; 8th Meeting of the RUFORUM Technical Committee; Meeting of the International Advisory Panel and 15th Meeting of the RUFORUM Board of Trustees.

We are pleased to share with you a few highlights of this meeting;

  1. Launch of RUFORUM 2015-2020 Strategic Business Plan: This year marks the end of the RUFORUM Strategic Plan, 2006-2015. After 10 years of existence and contribution to the Higher Education and Agricultural Sectors in Africa, RUFORUM will renew its momentum as a platform for mobilizing participation of African Universities in Africa’s development agenda, and for training the next generation of agricultural scientists for Africa in Africa.
  2. Impact Research and Science Awards (IMPRESSA): The RUFORUM IMPRESSA Awards recognize outstanding university scientists making significant contribution to Agricultural Research and Science for development in Africa. RUFORUM will recognize three outstanding university achievers. Read more
  3. Recognizing Outstanding and progressive farmers: RUFORUM and the University of Namibia will recognize two innovative farmers from Namibia who are making a difference nationally.
  4. Young Social Media Reporters: As part of our capacity building initiative, RUFORUM will train and recognize the role of Young Social Media Reporters (YSMR) in increasing the network’s visibility in the area of Higher Education and the RUFORUM mandate – “Training the Next Generation of Scientists for Africa”.
  5. Launch of Book-Dynamics of Rural Innovation: The Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) works with public and private sector partners internationally to find sustainable solutions to the development challenges they face related to inclusive value chains, sustainable agribusiness development, rural innovation, land tenure, food and nutrition security, and gender and rights.

Click here to download the full AGM Program.

Above: Titus with a group of farmers during one of his field trips in Uganda

Above: Titus with a group of farmers during one of his field trips in Uganda

In January 2015, Titus Kisauzi graduated with a Master’s degree in Agricultural Extension Education (MSc. AEE) from Makerere University. His MSc training was funded through a RUFORUM Graduate Research Grant under the Project “Understanding the Gender dimensions of the impact of climate change on agriculture and adaptation among small holder farmers in Uganda.” Towards completion of the training program, he had been contracted as a National Agricultural Advisory Service (NAADS) Coordinator for Busukuma Sub-County in Uganda.

However, the contract was short-lived due to the government extension reforms in 2014 that led to the creation of the single-spine structure of extension services, hence the removal of all NAADS coordinators. This setback however presented an opportunity for exploring Entrepreneurial Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services to complement public extension.

In March 2014, Titus set up and registered AgroBasics (U) Ltd as a result of the need for innovative ways to solving the multifaceted challenges of farming communities that often limit the viability and commercialization of small-scale agriculture. Entrepreneurial extension services have become important due to low funding for extension, high unemployment of graduates and the inherent challenges of public service delivery related to poor accountability and slow response. In addition, the increasing commercialization of agriculture demands more services yet public extension has limited reach, and scope with regard to services such as input supply, market support and processing.

RUFORUM Alumni Impact_23 07 2015_2.

Above from left to right: SHARE Students: Hanaa (Sudan); Liambila (Kenya); Moffat (Zambia); Olivier (Burundi), Maysoon (Sudan) graduated on 04 July 2015 in Haramaya University, Ethiopia.

Above from left to right: SHARE Students: Hanaa (Sudan); Liambila (Kenya); Moffat (Zambia); Olivier (Burundi), Maysoon (Sudan) graduated on 04 July 2015 in Haramaya University, Ethiopia.

RUFORUM has recently awarded 67 Field Attachment Program Award (FAPA) grants to her students totalling to US $84,000. The Field Attachment Program Award (FAPA) is one of the competitive grants program designed to provide graduate students supported by, and/ or associated with RUFORUM interventions at Member Universities to disseminate their research findings and recommendations to the communities where the research was undertaken through an internship arrangement that links them to community, industry, the private sector and policy and decision makers. By design, the field attachment awards are intended to encourage students to follow through with the dissemination of their research and enable them to link more closely with the agencies working in the area where their research was carried out.

The current round of FAPAs went to students in various countries drawn from various RUFORUM Regional MSc. Programmes. Further, the grantees were also drawn from four RUFORUM Intra-ACP Academic Mobility affiliated projects. Of the 67 awards, 64 were awarded to students under the Intra-ACP Academic Mobility projects implemented by RUFORUM Member Universities. The coordinators to the four programs who will work as mentors to the students are: Prof. Dintwa Edward of University of Botswana (Research Funds for students under Mobility to Enhance Training of Engineering Graduates in Africa – (METEGA); Prof. Banadda Nobel of Makerere University (Research Funds for students under Mobility to Enhance Training of Engineering Graduates in Africa – (METEGA); Prof. Rubaihayo Patrick of Makerere University (Research funds for students under Inter-University Cooperation to Train Crop Scientists for African Agriculture (CSAA); and Assoc. Prof. Paul Kibwika of Makerere University (Research funds for students studying under Sharing Capacity to Build Capacity for Quality Graduate Training in Agriculture in African Universities). It is hoped that this award will propel the mobility students to share their experiences and publish their research for international audience. Five of the 64 awards are to students that have just recently graduated from the first intake of a RUFORUM incubated and piloted Programme – the Masters in Agrometeorology and Natural Risk Management at Haramaya University. The Haramaya University Graduation Ceremony held on 4th July, 2015 was presided over by His Excellence Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia who also hooded and handed over Honorary Doctoral Degrees to His Excellence President Guelleh of Djibouti and Professor Gebisa Ejeta.

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