New Publication: Top Eleven African Young Entrepreneurs from Rwanda


PrintRUFORUM recognizes the need for greater youth participation in enterprise development and business incubation and through its member universities and partners has supported training and skills development in this respect. It has also supported start-ups through innovative financing mechanism of the revolving fund implemented in some member universities.

RUFORUM believes in youth entrepreneurship as the game changer in ensuring greater youth participation and integration into the economic growth at national and regional levels and for youth employment. In this brief, a summary description of Eleven Young Entrepreneurs and Innovators from Rwanda that emerged among the Top 139 from the 756 submissions to the competition is profiled. We bring you a new publication focusing on the top eleven Innovators and Entrepreneurs from Rwanda. Click here to download the publication.

A profile of the overall 15 winners from the 756 submissions is available at the following link: https://blog.ruforum.org.

Enhancing Collaboration and Quality in Postgraduate Training: Joint Module Training Delivery in RUFORUM Regional Programmes


In its efforts to strengthen the quality of post graduate training programmes and partnerships, RUFORUM and the member universities are using a combination of innovative approaches in the curriculum design and delivery of the regional postgraduate training programmes. A case is the RUFORUM multidisciplinary PhD programme in Agriculture Rural Innovation (ARI) which is hosted simultaneously by three RUFORUM member universities (Makerere University- Uganda, Egerton University – Kenya and Sokoine University of Agriculture – Tanzania) using same curriculum and content. The PhD ARI Program is implemented in collaboration with three other European universities namely Montpellier Sup Agro in France, Wagenigen University in the Netherlands and University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

With financial support from Carnegie Cooperation of New York, RUFORUM supported the joint implementation of field based module on Participatory Methods and Action Research for innovation in livelihoods and agricultural systems offered under the  PhD Agricultural and Rural Innovations (ARI). This module is unique in delivery as it brings together students from the three universities in Africa and three universities in Europe to a Common facility.  This year’s field training took place in Rakai District in Uganda. A total of 18 students and five academic staff from the consortium spent two weeks in the field to learn together with farming communities. The students were from Africa (DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda); Europe (France and Spain); and Latin America (Guatemala). Female participants represented 31.6%. The diversity of students and staff was a learning resource that enabled substantial cross learning and complementarity of skills.

Above: PhD students in Rakai Working with Communities

Above: PhD students in Rakai Working with Communities

The joint module provides valuable insights on how scientists could engage with communities to undertake research for development. This gives opportunities to students to rethink and nest their research into development challenges of communities as well as apply some of the tools learnt in their own research.

Below there is an anecdotal testimony from one of the students of the field module: “The course offers a different approach to research diversity such as agro-ecological zonation, farm strategy model, and innovation histories as an alternative to statistical representativeness. The most exciting are the hands-on tools and combined approaches such as the use of GPS, GIS, Innovation Histories and Trends which we used to comprehensively understand the communities and their livelihood dynamics. At the end of the course we had an exciting feedback session to provide insights on possible innovative solutions for improving livelihood of these communities. It was good to note the keen interest of the NGOs and policy makers working in the area to take on the suggestions and implement them. I also appreciated an opportunity for co-learning, experience sharing, and team work with fellow classmates from various countries and cultures”.  Mrs. Dorcas Loga Okello

A number of spillover effects have emerged for this arrangement which include; opportunities for joint supervisor of the students by European and African staff hence sustaining partnerships, cross cultural learning, assured consistent quality of the ARI brand (student) across the participating universities. Click here to read more.

New Publication: Top 19 Young Innovators and Entrepreneurs from Uganda


5RUFORUM recognizes the need for greater youth participation in enterprise development and business incubation and through its member universities and partners has supported training and skills development in this respect. It has also supported start-ups through innovative financing mechanism of the revolving fund implemented in some member universities. RUFORUM believes in youth entrepreneurship as the game changer in ensuring greater youth participation and integration into the economic growth at national and regional levels and for youth employment. We bring you a new publication focusing on the top 19 Innovators and Entrepreneurs from Uganda. Click here to download.

University Launches Multi-Purpose Farming Vehicle


Skeptics of Makerere University’s innovation drive are in for a new shock. Last Friday’s formal launch of MV Mulimif the multi-purpose vehicle, already has many wondering when the first one will be available for purchase. MOSES TALEMWA met the team behind MV Mulimi.

Last week, a group of farmers from Nakaseke arrived at Makerere University’s Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyoro (Muarik) with a lot of anxiety. Some like Steven Mukasa were wondering if the scientists from the university’s college of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) had made a crop discovery that would solve some of their concerns about crop varieties.

Instead, they were met with a three-wheeled vehicle, which they were told would resolve most of their problems.

“Not necessarily the problems we were thinking about, but some of those we have gotten used to,” Mukasa said.

On a hot sunny morning December 31, 2015, they met technicians making their last preparations before unveiling MV Mulimi, the latest addition to efforts to improve agriculture in Uganda.

According to Dr Nicholas Kiggundu of CAES, the vehicle design is the ultimate in value addition, as it attempts to solve the farmer’s problems at source, following a demonstrated need for low-cost technologies in farm field operations and post-harvest handling operations.

“It will resolve the kind of problems that made farming a preserve of the resilient and those with no options, yet it is doing this at a low cost,” he said.

The MV Mulimi was developed by a team from CAES, consisting of Prof Noble Banadda (as principal investigator), Prof John Lumkes (Purdue University), Dr Ahamada Zziwa, and Dr Nicholas Kiggundu of Makerere as well as Tyler Anselm (Purdue University), and technicians Ernest Tibaku-Zira, Samuel Mutesasira and Denis Nsubuga.

Apart from Prof Lumkes and Anselm, the rest of the team are from Makerere. The idea of a low-cost multipurpose vehicle suitable to African conditions, came out of a trip Prof Banadda took to three US universities in 2013. Prof Banadda, who was looking for research collaborations with US institutions, visited Purdue University, University of Georgia and Iowa State University.

On his return, Prof Banadda considered his options. Then, in June 2015, the dean of the department of Food Science and Bio Engineering Systems, Prof John Muyonga, challenged his team to come up with such a vehicle.

The design and development of MV Mulimi took place at Muarik under the sponsorship of the Presidential Initiative on Science and Technology from September 1, 2015, for six weeks. As Dr Kiggundu explains, the process was fast-moving, but filled with numerous challenges.

 This story was sourced from allAfrica: http://allafrica.com/stories/201601042218.html.