By Hanaa Tharwat Mohamed Ibrahim

Hanaa

My name is Hanaa Tharwat Mohamed Ibrahim and I come from Sudan. I hold a Bachelor of Agricultural Science in Soil and Water Science from the University of Gezira which I obtained in March 2009. After my graduation, I worked as an Assistant at the Agricultural Research Corporation in Sudan in the laboratory of the Land and Water Research Center from 2009 to 2012. I then took up a position as a Cooperative (part-time) Lecturer at the University of Gezira from 2012 to 2013. These two opportunities at the beginning of my career exposed me to academia and I developed an interest in furthering my studies.

Although scholarships were rare, I was very fortunate and did not have to wait too long. In 2013, shortly after my appointment as Cooperative Lecturer at the University of Gezira, I was awarded a full scholarship to pursue a Master of Science in Agro-Meteorology and Natural Risk Management at the University of Haramaya in Ethiopia. The scholarship was awarded by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM).

Pursuing a degree outside my home country was a life changing experience. The first year was particularly hard because it was not just my first time to study outside Sudan, but my first outside my hometown, because all my previous education had been within the same city in Sudan. I could not speak nor understand English well, so I had to work extra hard to improve my language skills in the first year. I am so grateful to my lecturers and colleagues who helped and encouraged me along the way. It is unbelievable that despite my initial challenge – the language barrier, I still managed to complete the course within two years. I graduated in July 2015.

Studying abroad also gave me great experiences. I discovered new foods, traditions and social atmospheres. My understanding and appreciation of nations -including my own country, their people and history greatly improved, and I now appreciate the importance of sovereignty. One of the biggest benefits of my time abroad was the opportunity to make new friends from different countries and backgrounds, which also helped me discover myself as I got a better understanding of different cultures. As a young woman, the idea of being in a new place by myself was overwhelming not only to me, but also my family. The situation tested my ability to adapt to diverse situations while improving my skills and making a contribution to society.

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The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation is implementing an eight year programme “Transforming African Agricultural Universities to meaningfully contribute to Africa’s growth and development (TAGDev)”. The TAGDev Programme seeks to transform African agricultural universities and their graduates to better respond to developmental challenges through enhanced application of science, technology, business and innovation for rural agricultural transformation.

This is to announce the 2017/2018 Call for proposals for the Community Action Research Programme (CARP+). The CARP program aims to encourage universities to develop and invest in more comprehensive and sustained action research into a particular geographical area or in a selected commodity along the full value chain. The CARP+ is defined by inclusion of the TVET as part of the CARP engagement that has hitherto not been a focus in earlier approved CARP Projects. This CARP+ Call thus seeks to support projects that innovatively enhance university-led action research and impact by engaging and working with technical/ vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions. All successful proposals must include at least one TVET institution as a partner, and demonstrate how the project will respond to TVET needs.

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