Kerio Valley: A beautiful land with an amazing culture


By mugonya John 

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Mr. Mugonya

In September this year, I received communication from the International Crop Research Institute for Semi_Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) that my application for an internship placement had been successful. Getting an internship opportunity soon after defending my Master’s thesis at Gulu University, was exciting and double blessing. I looked forward to working with a multi-disciplinary team from various countries. I was selected to work in the Markets Institutions Nutrition and Diversity program, particularly on analysis of livestock market systems among pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in the Kerio Valley of Kenya. The internship was supported by the MasterCard Foundation (MCF) through the Regional Universities’ Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM).

I reported for the intership at the World Agroforestry Center in Nairobi which hosts the Eastern and Southern regional office of ICRISAT. The center is home for nineteen international organizations many of which are under the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Consortium. I was warmly welcomed and given adequate support beyond my expectations.

I started the preparation for the Kerio Valley study with a voracious review of literature related to livestock market systems’ function and structure. Given the time and financial resources availed, qualitative research methods were preferred over quantitative. I was not acquainted to qualitative research methods, therefore I was supported by my line supervisor and other team members. I was also supported by two experts in qualitative studies notably Caroline Hambloch and Emma Elfversson particularly in designing the study methodology. I have gained a lot of knowledge, skills and insights in qualitative research especially in methodology development, data collection and transcription.

During data collection, I was pleased to see a beautiful part of Kenya, the Kerio Valley. The valley is geographically shaped like a triangle and it touches three different counties which include; Elgeyo-Marakwet, West Pokot and Beringo.  The valley is home to majorly two tribes; the Marakwets and the Pokots. The Pokots are pastoralists while the Marakwets are agro-pastoralists. In Kerio Valley, livestock is very important for people’ livelihoods and as a means of transport given the terrain of the land. A striking attribute about these people is the social capital amongst them. For example, I witnessed the community contributing towards education of three children two in high school and one at the university who belonged to a teacher within the community. This internship is a great experience both in terms of developing my research skills and in appreciating various cultural practices.

I will forever be thankful to RUFORUM, the MasterCard Foundation and ICRISAT the opportunity they have accorded me to learn and grow through valuable and spectacular experiences.

Contact: Phone: +256 771890353, Email: mugonyajohn@gmail.com, Twitter: @mugonyaj

Figure 1: A truck loading mangoes in Sangach center, Elgeyo Marakwet County

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Figure 2: Donkeys carrying luggage across a stream near the cattle trade area in Lomut, West Pokot County

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Figure 3: Goats moving to the grazing area along Tot-Kolowa road

 

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Figure 4: Female traders selling milk in Chesegeon livestock market in West Pokot County

[Press release] RUFORUM announces the first sub-committee of Principals and Deans of the 129 Network member Universities


Kampala 14 October 2020 In line with the decision of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) Board and the Annual General meeting decisions of 2019 that established a sub-committee of Principals and Deans, and following guidance of the RUFORUM Board Executive Committee meeting of 23 June 2020, RUFORUM is pleased to announce the constitution of the Principals and Deans Sub-Committee.

This Committee acts on behalf of the Principals and Deans of RUFORUM Network to provide guidance on operational issues coming from member universities, countries and National Forums. It is also responsible for preparing the agenda for the Principals and Deans meetings during the RUFORUM Annual General Meetings and Triennial Conferences

Constituted in-line with the established procedure, the Principals and Deans Sub-Committee is  constituted to take into account; the established procedure of rotational representation among member universities, with the country hosting the AGM assuming the position of Chairperson of the Sub-Committee, and deputised by a representative from the University hosting the AGM in the subsequent year. Four to Five other members form part of the committee to provide for regional and gender representation.

The Sub-Committee reports to the full Principals and Deans Committee which is constituted by representatives of Principals and Deans and Directors of Schools from all RUFORUM member Universities. The Chairperson reports to the RUFORUM Secretariat and the Board Executive Committee.

We are pleased to announce the first Principals and Deans Sub-Committee.

First Principals and Deans Sub Committee effective 1st October 2020

No.NameGenderUniversityRegionComments
1Dr. Abdelaziz Yasri[1]MaleMohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), MoroccoNorth AfricaHost of 2020 AGM
2Prof. Adedjobi Philippe Laleye[2]MaleUniversity of Abomey Calavi, BeninWest AfricaHost of 2021 AGM & Triennial Conference
3Dr. Nyakudya ElijahMaleUniversity of Zimbabwe, ZimbabweSouthern AfricaHost of 2022 AGM
4Dr. Abel AtukwaseMaleMakerere University, UgandaEastern AfricaHost of 2023 AGM
5Dr. Simon AngombeMaleUniversity of Namibia, NamibiaSouthern AfricaHost of 2024 AGM & Triennial
6Dr. Tinna MananiFemaleLilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, MalawiSouthern AfricaFemale Representative
7Prof. Juma ShabaniMaleUniversity of Burundi, BurundiCentral AfricaRegional Representative

Note to Editors

About RUFORUM:

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), is a consortium of 129 African universities operating in 38 countries on the continent with a mission to ‘strengthen the capacities of Universities to foster innovations responsive to demands of smallholder 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’. RUFORUM was established by Vice Chancellors in 2004 with a Secretariat hosted at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. In 2014 RUFORUM signed a MoU with the African Union Commission to support implementation of the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024) Priority One on reducing poverty and ensuring food and nutrition security. RUFORUM has supported the training of 1958 MSc and 536 PhD graduates, of whom 98% work in their countries or region, the generation of over 300 agricultural technologies and mobilized over US$214.9 million for strengthening postgraduate education in Africa. Please visit www.ruforum.org for more information.

For additional information, photos and interviews, contact the following persons

Contacts:

Maureen AgenaCorporate Communications, & Advocacy Specialistm.agena@ruforum.org
   



[1] Chairperson until 2021 Triennial Conference

[2] Vice Chairperson until 2021 Triennial Conference and to assume Chairmanship after 2021 Triennial Conference up to 2022 AGM when he hands over to the Chair from Zimbabwe: The rotation system to continue in subsequent years

[Press release]RUFORUM announces the 16th Annual General Meeting hosted in Partnership with Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, Morocco


Kampala 14th October 2020 The 16th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) will be virtually hosted by RUFORUM Secretariat in Partnership with Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, in Morocco (UM6P). The various activities of the AGM will be held starting October through to November 2020. It will be the first AGM to be hosted in North Africa with an intention of introducing RUFORUM to North Africa as well as UM6P to other universities in Africa.

The 16th AGM will run under the theme: “Higher Education- Private Sector Partnership: Harnessing Opportunities for Agricultural Transformation in Africa” As a continuously growing network of 129 Universities in 38 countries in Africa, RUFORUM activities are held in different countries and regions in the continent as a way of enabling different stakeholders to come together and promote a greater appreciation of the different countries and regions. 

Last year, the 15th Annual General meeting was held at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana and provided an opportunity for mobilizing wider participation of West African Universities in RUFORUM activities.  RUFORUM recognises the fact that Science, Technology, Innovation (ST&I) and research play a critical role in food and nutrition security, economic development at national and continental level as well as poverty reduction. The AGM will therefore bring together several actors from academia, Government, Private Sector, media, research institutions, farmers and students to not only dialogue on topical issues but to also share experiences and lessons

The Annual General meeting allows for RUFORUM to conduct its Governance business but at the same time bringing together several actors to dialogue on needed action to strengthen agricultural and education, science, technology and innovation development in the continent – Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, Executive Secretary, RUFORUM

Given the virtual nature of this year’s Annual General Meeting, the schedule will be stretched over a month to accommodate the various stakeholders and reduce on overcrowding and stretching of the programme. All RUFORUM stakeholders including the Governance Organs are therefore invited to take note of this schedule and plan accordingly. The details of the individual programme activities will be shared in due course through the RUFORUM AGM website and other communication channels. We continue to count on your support and look forward to your active participation in your respective capacity.

See below the proposed schedule for the Virtual RUFORUM 2020 Annual General Meeting.

SCHEDULE OF THE RUFORUM GOVERNANCE MEETINGS AND THE 16th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

No.MeetingProposed DateProposed Time (EAT)Zoom Meeting Link
  Governance Meetings   
1Joint meeting of the Technical Committee and TAGDev Steering Committee2nd Oct 202014:00 – 16:30Meeting link: Click here Zoom ID: 853 1943 0320 Passcode:  394553
2Principals and Deans Sub-Committee 19th Oct 202014:00 – 16:00Meeting link: Click here Zoom ID: 850 4310 8616 Passcode: 017288
3International Advisory Panel23rd Oct 202016:00 – 18:00Meeting link: Click here Zoom ID: 852 4721 7593 Passcode: 438504
4Technical Committee26th Oct 202014:00 – 16:30Meeting link: Click here Zoom ID: 823 6168 4624 Passcode: 558788
5Finance and Administration Sub-committee28th Oct 202014:00 – 16:00Meeting link: Click here Zoom ID: 853 3591 1253 Passcode: 281841
6Audit Committee30th Oct 202014:00 – 16:00Meeting link: Click here Zoom ID: 850 9446 8575 Passcode: 267622
7Principals and Deans Committee2nd Nov 202014:00 – 17:00Meeting link: Click here Zoom ID: 897 7516 2857 Passcode: 534816
8Board Executive Committee6th Nov 202016:00 – 18:30Meeting link: Click here Zoom ID: 892 9740 8106 Passcode: 508731
9Board Meeting11th Nov 202016:00 – 18:30Meeting link: Click here Zoom ID: 822 2542 5709 Passcode: 032751
16th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting 
10Capacity Building on Online Contents Development16th and 17th Nov 202011:00 – 18:00Meeting link: Click here Zoom ID: 817 7098 5752 Passcode: 800728
11Side Events for interested groups18th Nov 202012:00-19:00Meeting link: Click here Zoom ID: 856 9217 6139 Passcode: 681322
12Introducing UM6P and Official Opening of the AGM19th Nov 202015:00-18:00Meeting link: Click here Zoom ID: 882 8455 4298 Passcode: 989470
13The RUFORUM AGM Business Meeting20th Nov 202015:00-18:00Meeting link: Click here Zoom ID: 826 4406 1825 Passcode: 820638

Note to Editors

About RUFORUM:

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), is a consortium of 129 African universities operating in 38 countries on the continent with a mission to ‘strengthen the capacities of Universities to foster innovations responsive to demands of smallholder 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’. RUFORUM was established by Vice Chancellors in 2004 with a Secretariat hosted at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. In 2014 RUFORUM signed a MoU with the African Union Commission to support implementation of the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024) Priority One on reducing poverty and ensuring food and nutrition security. RUFORUM has supported the training of 1958 MSc and 536 PhD graduates, of whom 98% work in their countries or region, the generation of over 300 agricultural technologies and mobilized over US$214.9 million for strengthening postgraduate education in Africa. Please visit www.ruforum.org for more information.

Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, Morocco

Mohammed VI Polytechnic University is an institution oriented towards applied research and innovation with a focus on Africa. The University is engaged in economic and human development and puts research and innovation at the forefront of African development. A mechanism that enables it to consolidate Morocco’s frontline position in these fields, in a unique partnership-based approach and boosting skills training relevant for the future of Africa. Located in Benguerir, near Marrakech, in the heart of the Mohammed VI Green City, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University intends to shine on a national, continental and international scale. More than just a traditional academic institution, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) is a platform for experimentation, a breeding ground for opportunities, which students refer to as a “School of Life”

https://www.um6p.ma/en

For additional information, photos and interviews, contact the following persons

Contacts:

RUFORUM Secretariat  
Dr. Francis Otto    
Maureen Agena
 


  Manger- Knowledge Hub     Corporate Communications, & Advocacy Specialist
   

f.otto@ruforum.org    

m.agena@ruforum.org
UM6P Morocco  
Abla EL HOSNI     Zineb AGUISOUL  
   

UM6P    
UM6P
    Abla.ELHOSNI@um6p.ma     Zineb.AGUISOUL@um6p.ma


[Press release]The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI) of the Government of the Republic of Uganda signs an MOU with RUFORUM


Kampala 7th October 2020 The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoST&I) of the Government of the Republic of Uganda has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) in Kampala.

The objective of the Memorandum of Understanding is to enhance the deployment of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for poverty reduction, rural livelihood improvement, entrepreneurship and job creation, and national development in Uganda through a partnership between RUFORUM and MoSTI. 

Mr. David O.O. Obong (L) the Permanent Secretary at MoSTI and Prof. Adipala Ekwamu of RUFORUM after signing the MOU

As a continuously growing network of 129 Universities in 38 countries in Africa, RUFORUM recognises the fact that Science, Technology & Innovation (ST&I) plays a critical role in poverty reduction, food and nutrition security and wider economic transformation at national and continental level. Therefore, institutions engaged in research and development for which universities are a great part, should be mobilized and organized to engage more in contributing to national and continental science, technology and innovation.

The signing of the MOU is an acknowledgement that Public-private partnerships are important for achieving impact at scale and reducing duplication of effort at national and regional level. A multi-sectorial and multi actor approach towards integration and building a robust national science, technology and innovation enterprise is necessary.

There must be a strong link between education, Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and with the Industry.  To build STI, we must strengthen the basic Sciences- Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, Executive Secretary, RUFORUM

A conducive national STI ecosystem and policy environment are important for proliferation of ST&I and its deployment for food security, poverty reduction, livelihood improvement and national development.

Today marks the beginning of a partnership and collaboration between MoSTI and RUFORUM to jointly mobilise resources from various sources to fund deployment of ST&I in attainment of food and nutrition security, livelihood improvement, entrepreneurship and job creation, and national economic development as aspired by the Government of Uganda Vision 2040 and the National Development Plan.

For Uganda to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Science, Technology and Innovation must be at the centre. At MoSTI, we use a holistic approach including partnerships of this nature– Mr. David O.O. Obong, Permanent Secretary, MOST&I

(L-R) Mr. Makara, Ms. Nyakaisiki, Mr. Obong from MoSTI and Prof. Adipala, Dr. Nakayiwa and Dr. Otto from RUFORUM

Through its initiative of Building Africa’s Science and Technology Capacity for Economic Growth (BASTIC), RUFORUM recognises that increasing the use of science technology for innovation will require high level skills to drive institutional transformation and agricultural led growth. RUFORUM continues to contribute to this vision by supporting Universities to build effective human capital to engage in research, policy, service provision, and the private sector, as well as translate knowledge into innovations for sustained economic growth and food security. The sighing of this MOU marks the start of engagements with Ministries of Science, Technology and Innovation in the 38 countries of RUFORUM’s operations in Africa.

Note to Editors

About RUFORUM:

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), is a consortium of 129 African universities operating in 38 countries on the continent with a mission to ‘strengthen the capacities of Universities to foster innovations responsive to demands of smallholder 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’. RUFORUM was established by Vice Chancellors in 2004 with a Secretariat hosted at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. In 2014 RUFORUM signed a MoU with the African Union Commission to support implementation of the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024) Priority One on reducing poverty and ensuring food and nutrition security. RUFORUM has supported the training of 1958 MSc and 536 PhD graduates, of whom 98% work in their countries or region, the generation of over 300 agricultural technologies and mobilized over US$214.9 million for strengthening postgraduate education in Africa. Please visit www.ruforum.org for more information.

About Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Uganda

The Government of Uganda established a Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) on recognizing Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) are the drivers of socio-economic growth and transformation the world over. Science, Technology and Innovation development is an important determinant of progress and transition from pre-industrial to knowledge-based societies. Therefore, the extent to which a country has harnessed STI has a direct bearing on its level of development.

The Ministry is primarily responsible for creating an enabling policy environment for STI and national development as articulated in the National Science, Technology and Innovation (2009) Policy, the National Development Plan [NDP II: 2016/17 – 2019/20] and the Vision 2040. Please visit https://mosti.go.ug

For additional information, photos and interviews, contact the Corporate Communications, and Advocacy Specialist below.

Contacts:

Name: Maureen AgenaCorporate Communications, & Advocacy SpecialistEmail: communications@ruforum.org
m.agena@ruforum.org


Request for Expressions of Interest for Shortlisting of Individual Consultants


The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), has received financing from the African Development Bank toward the cost of the Sharing Innovations and Experiences from Korea for Higher Education Transformation in Africa (SIKET) and Intends to use part of the agreed amount of this grant for payment under a contract for developing and delivering Business incubation and Entrepreneurship training to Universities staff.

RUFORUM now invites individual consultants to express interest in providing these services, Interested consultants must provide information indicating that they are qualified and experienced to perform the services

1. Consultancy Services for Carrying out Literature Study on Korea Model and Contribution of Universities

2. Consultancy Services for Developing and Delivering Business Incubation and Entrepreneurship Training to Universities Staff

3. Consultancy Services for Setting up an Online Platform for matching Korean and African Universities

4. Consultancy Services for Sharing Lessons Using Media, Conferences and Publications.

5. Consultancy Services for Supervision of a Training at Two Universities

6. Consultancy Services for Technical Support from Korea to Setup Incubation Hubs at Two Universities

Deadline for Submission 30 OCTOBER 2020 at 15:00, Hrs EAT

[Press release] RUFORUM announces Mastercard@RUFORUM scholarship recipients for 2020-2021 academic year


Kampala 06 October, 2020 The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), is pleased to announce the beneficiaries of the fourth cohort of the Mastercard@RUFORUM (MCF@RUFORUM) scholarship recipients for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Since July 2016, RUFORUM, in partnership with Mastercard Foundation, Gulu University and Egerton University are implementing an eight year programme;  Transforming African Agricultural Universities to meaningfully contribute to Africa’s growth and development (TAGDev) that aims at transforming African agricultural universities and their graduates to better respond to development challenges through enhanced application of science, technology, business and innovation for rural agricultural transformation. This eight year project will support the training of 220 (110 undergraduate and 110 postgraduate) economically disadvantaged students from across Africa.  The Programme further provides opportunities for transformative action research using the expanded RUFORUM Community Action Research Programme (CARP+) to enhance university-led community impact and the RUFORUM Agricultural Enterprises Challenge Program (RECAP), which aims at developing a critical number of young business leaders by providing a supporting environment.

This 2020 Call for Masters scholarships awarded a total of thirty (30) scholarships to applicants from 11 African countries (Burundi, Cameroon, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe). The call was competitive as it attracted 693 applicants from 25 African countries. After a rigorous four stage selection process involving pre-admission into the university, shortlisting for scholarship assessment, and phone interviews, the RUFORUM Technical Committee made the final selection during its virtual meeting convened on 02nd October 2020. Of the 30 scholarships, 17 were awarded to females, accounting for 57% of the recipients.

RUFORUM thanks all applicants and congratulates the 30 scholarship recipients. See below the full list of the selected beneficiaries/awardees.

Information about RUFORUM First MCF Cohort can be found through this Link

2020/2021 TAGDev scholarship beneficiaries

Gulu University

IDSurnameFirst nameGenderCountryDegree
2020ANEKEVINFEMALEUGANDAMaster of Science in Food Security and Community Nutrition
2019KILAMAGODFREYMALEUGANDAMaster of Science in Food Security and Community Nutrition
2013KISEBELILIANFEMALEUGANDAMaster of Science in Food Security and Community Nutrition
2016OKIALAZARUSMALEUGANDAMaster of Science in Food Security and Community Nutrition
2014NEKESARHODAHFEMALEKENYAMaster of Science in Food Security and Community Nutrition
2030OTOODOUGLASMALEUGANDAMaster of Science in Agri-Enterprises Development
2031MUGISHARUTHFEMALEUGANDAMaster of Science in Agri-Enterprises Development
2025MUNEZEROELIASMALEBURUNDIMaster of Science in Agri-Enterprises Development
2023ADEWALECALEBMALENIGERIAMaster of Science in Agri-Enterprises Development
2032MADRAAGRACEFEMALEUGANDAMaster of Science in Agri-Enterprises Development
2024JOHNNEEMAFEMALETANZANIAMaster of Science in Agri-Enterprises Development
2037ABI ABDIAHMEDMALESOMALIAMaster of Science in Animal Production and Marketing
2034WOORSYLVIAFEMALEUGANDAMaster of Science in Animal Production and Marketing
2041CHEA, JRLLOYDMALELIBERIAMaster of Science in Environmental Science and Natural Resources Management
2039SOKONICHALWEFEMALEZAMBIAMaster of Science in Environmental Science and Natural Resources Management
Gulu University Scholarship recipients


Egerton University                                                                                                                                                   

IDSurnameFirst nameGenderCountryDegree
2206KUNDURUTHFEMALEKENYAMaster of Science Agri-enterprise Development
2205MUNYENTWARIJOSEPHMALERWANDAMaster of Science Agri-enterprise Development
2204NYAKAPENENAVISONMALEZIMBABWEMaster of Science Agri-enterprise Development
2209NTABOAGNESFEMALEKENYAMaster of Science Agri-enterprise Development
2207ONYANGOLILIANFEMALEKENYAMaster of Science Agri-enterprise Development
2218MUTUAELVISMALEKENYAMaster of Science Horticulture
2219EMARUANTHONYMALEUGANDAMaster of Science Horticulture
2215KWIZERAENOCKMALERWANDAMaster of Science Horticulture
2211OTIENOCONSTANCEFEMALEKENYAMaster of Science Horticulture
2217WAMBUGUWINNIEFEMALEKENYAMaster of Science Horticulture
2228NEKESAPRAXIDESFEMALEKENYAMaster of Science natural resources management
2224OCHOLLAJEMIMAHFEMALEKENYAMaster of Science natural resources management
2223CHUIPETRAFEMALECAMEROONMaster of Science natural resources management
2221NYIRAMYUYEKUREVERENEFEMALERWANDAMaster of Science natural resources management
2229CHEPKORMICHAELMALEKENYAMaster of Science natural resources management
Egerton University Scholarship recipients

About RUFORUM:

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), is a consortium of 129 African universities operating in 38 countries on the continent with a mission to ‘strengthen the capacities of Universities to foster innovations responsive to demands of smallholder 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’. RUFORUM was established by Vice Chancellors in 2004 with a Secretariat hosted at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. In 2014 RUFORUM signed a MoU with the African Union Commission to support implementation of the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024) Priority One on reducing poverty and ensuring food and nutrition security. RUFORUM has supported the training of 1958 MSc and 536 PhD graduates, of whom 98% work in their countries or region, the generation of over 300 agricultural technologies and mobilized over US$214.9 million for strengthening postgraduate education in Africa. Please visit www.ruforum.org for more information.

About Mastercard Foundation

The MasterCard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest, private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by MasterCard when the Foundation was created in 2006. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org. Follow the Foundation at @MCFoundation  and read more about matercard@RUFORUM

For additional information, photos and interviews, contact the Corporate Communications, and Advocacy officer below.

Contacts:

Name: Maureen AgenaCorporate Communications, & Advocacy officerEmail: communications@ruforum.org
m.agena@ruforum.org

Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Bharati. K. Patel, who started FORUM which transformed into RUFORUM in 2004


Dr. Bharati K. Patel since she was a child strived to break boundaries. At that time, she was the first “colored” woman to attend primary and high school, which was privlidged for white males in Rhodesia.
Then from there being the first Rotary Fellow from West Africa and the first Rotary-sponsored student at Hawaii University in the late 60s, obtaining a Double Masters plus PhD, to her work at the Rockefeller
Foundation and ICRISAT, to her co-authoring The Green Book, A Guide to Effective Graduate Research in African Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Development, RUFORUM’s Mother of Africa award for her
belief in students as the Change Agents warranting the need to work with and Invest in Young people towards Rural Transformation in Africa, countless other publications in scientific agricultural journals….never relied on anyone else but herself. Never married, never compromised, just achieved and gave back

It is with this sad news that Dr Bharati Karsondas Patel passed away in August 2020, for more information about her contribution to higher education in Africa. Attached RUFORUM compilation of tributes.

From a mud and wattle house to a permanent home. The Mastercard Scholarship has changed my life and that of my family


Way back in 2017 when all hope was gone, when it felt like it was the end of my academic life, I received what I call the call of redemption and new hope. It was at that time that I believed I still had a chance to make it in life and since then, my life has never been the same again.I take this opportunity to share my life changing story from almost zero to where I am today. Apart from the fact that am pursuing a Bachelors degree, there has been a lot of progress within my family as a whole. Back then before joining the scholarship, we used to stay in a house made of reeds and mud which was even located in a slum. Through the support I have been getting in form of the monthly stipend, we have managed to purchase a new piece of land (50*100 ft) in Kakiri-Wakiso district and our new home is in its later stages of construction. Coming from a family of seven, we all had to fit in one room which was the kitchen, living room as well as a bedroom. Am glad to report that our new home has four bedrooms, a sitting room and a dining room which is far from our former one room house. It feels awesome to know that at last I and my family will have a decent home that we never thought we would get any earlier.

I have also managed to pay school fees for my little sister in a boarding school. Growing up in a slum, many young girls don’t make it to secondary school due to various reasons, the greatest of them all being, early pregnancy. In order to safeguard my little sister from such foreseen circumstances, I enrolled her in a boarding school where I pay her full school fees and other school requirements. I also contribute towards my other siblings’ school requirements and  I am glad to report that ever since I joined the scholarship, none of my siblings has been sent back home due to failure to pay school fees or compulsory school requirements.  This is because in times when mother’s business is not doing well in terms of returns, I always step in and help financially from my monthly stipend. Through helping out each other, all my siblings are in school.

Before joining the scholarship, we rarely managed to afford two complete meals a day and we always had one meal a day going without food on particular days when times were so bad. I am glad that my family can now afford two meals a day exclusive of breakfast. Given that my mother’s business has seasonal market, in times when she has made no sales, I always have the ability to help and buy food at home. Throughout the all COVID-19 period especially during the early months when almost businesses were closed by the government and mom was not working, using the monthly stipend that I have been getting, I managed to feed my family for four months straight and we never went without food on any day. This is way different from the times when we had nothing to eat and we could not be in position to sustain ourselves.

I have as well managed to enroll my brother at a garage to learn car mechanics to enhance his skills. By doing this, I have managed to keep my brother from bad peer influence since he spends most of the time at the garage. Am glad to report that he has gained a skill that I believe he will never lack a job and  I am glad that he has utilized this school lockdown period positively to enhance his ability in mechanics.

I am so grateful to MCF@RUFORUM for the opportunity offered to me to be able to impact my family and myself in a positive way. I would have never been able to do all this without your continuous and generous support. Am forever grateful and I will continue on the path of transforming not only my family and self but the community as well.

“Keep them in school”. I am supporting two children in their primary education


There are three main directions influencing how tasks are accomplished, these are technological trends, social trends and techno-social trends. These three trends are constituting confrontations from environmental to demographic and digitization. In order to breakthrough now and in times to come, young and aspiring entrepreneur need to strengthen their existing interpersonal attributes and grow new ones.

Becoming an entrepreneur and a job creator has been my dream from childhood, now and tomorrow until I achieve that dream. In the quest to achieve this dream, there is a need to acquire skills set, the aptitude of management, and the adroitness. Therefore, I applied to the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s Young African Entrepreneur program which is based on championing youth entrepreneurship across Africa and giving them the technical and financial know-how to start and operate and sustain enterprises. I was successful among the thousands that applied but due to the pandemic, the normal orientation and mentorship could not happen as planned. They opted for online mentorship classes and session among them are; Time 100 Talks where we have had Tony Elumelu, Bill Gates, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, and other 80 world famous entrepreneur, businessmen and well to do people inspire young African youth with their stories and how they rise to stardom, the (TEF) also organized a six sessions masterclass called The TEFMasterclass in collaboration with Project Management Institute (PMI) and they have presented trainings that cut across bringing ideas into realities and sustaining an enterprise etc. the training is still ongoing.

I also applied for the millennium fellowship which is organized by the United Nations Academic Impact and the Millennium Campus Network and I was accepted. The Fellowship is a semester-long leadership development program on various campuses across the world to take social impact to the next level. It will last from the 1st of September 2020 to the 30th of November 2020. The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) is an initiative that aligns institutions of higher education with the United Nations in supporting and contributing to the realization of United Nations goals and mandates, including the promotion and protection of human rights, access to education, sustainability and conflict resolution etc. Through this fellowship, individual students from various campuses are encouraged to work on one or two of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and I am working on SDG4 Quality Education.

I have come up with a project that I named “Keep them in school”. This is a project aimed at supporting primary school children who are willing to go to school but cannot afford the basic requirements to stay in school. This project came as a result of the three core values of the Millennium fellowship which are; empathy, humility and inclusion. As a young man who has been given the opportunity to study by The MasterCard Foundation through RUFORUM, I feel obligated to do same as much as I can to other children who need help as well (Empathy and inclusion). On implementing this, I have been supporting two children in their primary education, providing all their school requirements and I am planning to extend the support to as many as possible if I have the financial, moral, and collaborative assistance.

“Keep them in School”. Joshua with the two children whose education he is supporting

Concerning sustainability, I am putting human and financial resources together to support the families of the children in order for them to keep the children in school. I was inspired by well-known Nigerian tailor Yomi Casual who has really taken Nigerian fashion to another level and when the lock down was eased, I enrolled in a tailoring school to add more to my vocational skills. Adventuring into the world of sewing is fun, creative and educational. Sewing is a lifetime skill. In my primary school, I remember making a duster from rags after a home economy class and I was proud then.

Joshua sewing

Sewing is an art and science; where you learn how to sketch a design from your imagination, do the measurement on a person, cut the fabric according to the measurement and sew it together to fit the person. I have so far been learning for six weeks now and I can make shirts of different designs especially the Nigerian designs because it is highly demanded. Through the skills I have gotten from the training I have attended, I have been able to collaborate with the outlet where I am receiving my training from; I will get customers for them and I will receive commission from every customer I bring. I opted for this because right now I cannot start on my own. My measuring tape is always in my bag. I am planning to start bring in Nigerian fabrics to Uganda because there are on high demand and in the nearest future, have my own brand and training center in the future to train and employ youth in order to fulfill my job creation dreams.

Working towards fulfilling his dream

I appreciate the MasterCard Foundation and RUFORUM for giving me the opportunity and support and enabling me to showcase my skills and fulfill my dreams. All the support I am giving to others is as a result of the monthly upkeep I receive from MCF@RUFORUM.

Information System for Improved Pineapple Livelihoods for Smallholder Farmers in Central Region, Ghana


Low farmer-to-agricultural-extension-agent ratio, inadequate flow of information, weak linkages among value chain actors and other challenges have contributed to low productivity in the agricultural sector. The pineapple value chain like other commodity value chains in Ghana is faced with challenges, with smallholders being the most vulnerable.  

Zikiru Shaibu is using modern technology to develop a farmer information system for smallholder farmers.  He is a PhD student working with the Mastercard Foundation supported RUFORUM-CARP+ developing a sustainable and commercial pineapple value chain system to increase yields and livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the Central Region of Ghana and he is supervised by Prof. Festus Annor-Frempong and Prof. Joseph A. Kwarteng at the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, University of Cape Coast, Ghana.

Instead of relying on extension officer visits and low returns from informal pineapple traders, an information system has been established to link farmers to production and market information – and to each other.  The system uses drones (small, unmanned aircraft) that provide feedback information on crop health, performance and yield estimates and then relays this through a mobile phone platform linking farmers to extension agents, markets and the university.  Two groups of farmers worked closely with the CARP+ team and forty farmers have been actively engaged in the research. To overcome issues with typing, the farmers were trained on voice note recordings, picture taking and video recording on the mobile phones.  The aerial views from the drones resulted in advice based on index maps also generated using the drone technology.  The feedback has enabled the farmers to be more effective and efficient in managing their crops and ensured improved plant growth and higher yields. The mobile phone platform links them to the appropriate advice.  Furthermore this platform is useful to allow the farmers to arrange to aggregate their produce and co-ordinate their transport.  In the future this information system is expected to assist them to negotiate better prices and link them to cheaper input sources and more lucrative sales opportunities. The mobile platform experimented with a range of software applications to optimize the information generated and shared, and for ease of use.

Moreover, amidst the success of the research, COVID-19 had a role to play during the implementation process. Just as the research team began reaching out to smallholder pineapple farmers to determine their perceptions on what best about the information system, data collection on information needs assessment was brought to a hold. It further delayed the deployment of the information system. With Government’s ease of restrictions and reduction of COVID-19 cases, the research bounce back to life and is in the process of completing its set objectives.

The initiative of developing the information system (mobile phone and drone) caught the attention and interest of the university and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Both agreed that this is a very useful technology to bridge the information gap as well enhance agricultural extension delivery. This is the first of its kind in Ghana to bring value chain actors on a single platform.

This research has already created excitement and positive feedback

“Thank you for the opportunity given to KEEA farmers to explore as far as modernising agriculture is concerned. Times and trends are changing and the earlier you adapt to the change, the better for your development. Today, there are lots of modern techniques ….You require up-to-date information….. I wouldn’t need to pick a vehicle to deliver information to you, today, mobile phones have come save this great deal. We can now exchange information with ease.” The MoFA director for KEEA, Mrs Victoria Dansoa Abankwa

The Drone (Unmanned Aerial) System has been tested and proved a good tool to provide precision farming information on land size, health status of crops, water stress, disease and pest severity and mapping of farm lands.  This is useful not only to the farmers but also to government planning agencies, extension agencies and researchers as well as to processors, distributors and export agencies.  The link from the drone information onto the mobile platforms has allowed real-time feedback to farmers significantly improving their ability to grow unfamiliar varieties that are in higher demand by processors. For an overview of the Information System to see how it is including the youth and farmers go to the video.

For scaling out there will need to be investment by government or farmers associations to acquire drones and train operators and develop the appropriate software for the different crops.  Many farmers have mobile phone and it is simple for farmers to enrol on the platform.  The main challenge going forward and rolling it out across Ghana, and to other commodities is to produce suitable training content.  This may be an opportunity for many new graduates to assist in “translating” existing extension information and new research information into training systems suitable to digital sharing on mobile phones.

My home project, The vegetable enterprise


My name is Stephen Ongaria studying for BSc. Education Agriculture at Gulu University. I started a vegetable enterprise project with an aim to transform the community through sustainable commercial vegetable enterprise growing mainly Sukumawiki, Onions and Tomatoes in Usuk sub-county, Katakwi District, Eastern Uganda.

Stephen Ongaria’s vegetable enterprise

The business has good market throughout the year and can provide self-employment to the youth and women in my community thus improving the livelihood of the people.

I chose this business because I have the highest competitive advantage in that, the  market is readily available throughout the year with the demand for them always high, most of the vegetables here in my community markets are brought from the far districts of Mbale, Sironko, and Kapchorwa. There for am among the very few people who grow these vegetables in my community.

Onions

I have used about Uganda shillings Shs. 250,000 as starting capital for this project, however the revenue is estimated at Ug.Shs. 4million per harvest season (3months). However, on an irrigation system, three (3) seasons can be realized in a year earning a revenue of Ug.Shs. 12million.

I run this project at family level but I also train and sensitize some few youths in my community on vegetable growing for both commercial and home consumption. It’s therefore good to note that some few people within the community have also started adopted the idea. From my project, (only sukumawiki right now) I have started earning Ug.Shs. 70,000 weekly and hopefully by next month-October, I will have started earning from both the tomatoes and onions too. From the tomatoes, currently a kilogram goes at Ug.Shs. 3,000 and I expect about 200Kgs. This gives me Ug.Shs. 600,000. From the onions, currently a kilogram goes at Ug.Shs. 5,500 and I expect a harvest of about 400Kgs, however I will sell mine at a subsidized price of Ug.Shs. 5,000 giving me Ug.Shs. 2million.

Watering the Vegertables

In addition to this, I have also planted one and a half hectares of cassava at Ug.Shs. 250,000 and I expect at harvest time to earn about Ug.Shs. 5million. together with the cassava, I have inter cropped green peas and I expect to earn about Ug.Shs. 500,000 from it.

In all these activities, I pay about 10 people who help me provide labor.

Also currently am harvesting the Groundnuts which was planted early at the start of rainy season. Though the harvest is really not that much good, due to changing patterns of rain but I have been able to get about 8bags of groundnuts worth Ug.Shs. 900,000.

Mr. Stephen Ongaria the Entreprenuer

The tough but promising journey


Andrew Waaswa is from Kibuku District, Eastern Uganda pursuing MSc. Agricultural Extension at Egerton University. His research is focused Climate-Smart Agriculture practices among smallholder potato farmers in Gilgil Sub County, Nakuru County, Kenya. Andrew comes from humble family background. His education was interrupted by the death of his father in 1995, leaving him with his peasant mother. During his childhood, Andrew served as a herd’s boy for the neigbour’s cattle to raise money to support his family but his mother later chose to take him to school where he studied under the Universal Primary Education (UPE) at Nambiri Primary School.

Andrew Waaswa

After Primary Seven in 2006, Andre resorted to making mud bricks in order to raise tuition for secondary school, this gave him chance to join secondary school at Alliance Secondary School, Kibuku. He worked hard when he got into school and by form two he started leading his class and the school provided a 20% tuition waiver. He continued paying the 80% of his tuition with either beans which he grew by himself on their two acres family piece of land and with proceeds from mud bricks. He performed well at form four in 2010 with a first grade. However, Andrew did not have funds for the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) and unfortunately he had started experience chest and back pains associated with the young in age hard labour in brick laying. Determined not to give-up, he requested his paternal uncle who gave him a half an acre of land in the swamp where he grew paddy rice in the year 2011. He did this together with vegetable growing and sometimes hawking of silver fish (mukene/ omena), tomatoes and bicycle boda-boda riding to raise money that he needed to take himself back to school in 2012.

He got back to school in 2012 where his scholastic necessities were met by his weekend and holiday job of helping builders as a porter in the area where he was renting while studying. He completed the UACE in 2013 at Lugazi Mixed School-Naalya from where he excelled. The Secondary School in the meantime retained him as a Teaching Assistant (teaching Principles and Practices of Agriculture and Foods and Nutrition). It was from there that he learnt about the Higher Education Student’s Financing Board (HESFB) that offers tuition loans to needy students in Uganda. He applied and was considered for funding at Makerere University, Uganda where he pursued BSc. Agricultural and Rural Innovation. The loan covered only tuition fee and left Andrew with no option apart from renting a wooden house (nicknamed by his classmates as Waaswa’s Flats) where he stayed with his friend Bwire Joseph. He excelled, graduating with a First Class Honours (CGPA4.55/5.0).

Andrew obtained several volunteer jobs in which he served with passion. This provided him with financial resources that he used to lease three acres of land on Buvuma Island. In this land, he started vegetable production as a business. He utilised this opportunity to also provide free extension services to farmers taping on his undergraduate knowledge and practice.  It is from here that he learnt about the Mastercard@RUFORUM scholarship program. His application was successful. Through the scholarship, he focused on providing relief to his mother by settling the debts she had incurred during his undergraduate studies using part of the stipend he receives. Andrew has also paid tuition fees for his nephew John and constructed for his mother a permanent house since she has lived in a grass thatched hut and semi-permanent corrugated iron sheet roof house (see former family house in the picture).

Former home
Current home

While at Egerton University, Andrew has participated in Community Action Research Project (CARP+) by taking farmers to the farmers’ organic market (FOM) in Nairobi and attending the Nakuru county food security day. This has helped him learn better techniques of battling food insecurity.  The scholarship has exposed him to a number of trainings like leadership training, personal mastery and the financial management training including the Mastercard Baobab graduate mentorship training program that is nurturing him to pursue his dream of undertaking doctoral studies.

Andrew believes that advancing his career will facilitate both his short and long-term career aspirations so that he can offer remedies to farmers in Africa and the World at large. As Andrew finalises his master’s studies, he has set-forth a plan to establish a farmer’s community training centre to facilitate agricultural extension and advisory services delivery in his home area. Andrew and his family are grateful for the rare and immense transforming opportunity that Mastercard@RUFORUM scholarship has had on their family.

The unexploited nutrient benefits of Sesame (Sesamum Indicum) oil seed crop for smallholder farmers in rural areas of Zimbabwe


Having grown up in some rural parts of Zimbabwe being exposed to peasantry farming since childhood, some of the main crops grown were cereals maize mainly for household food provision and cotton which was a cash crop. The introduction of marginalized crops came as a result of a fall in the cotton price on the market which was mainly a result of a fall in cotton price on the global market. This left most farmers in my communal area with no option except to dump the cotton farming business and look for alternative cash crops.

This period resulted in the introduction of the Sesame crop which came as a rightful substitute for the unpopular cotton crop in which farmers felt it was a loss in investing in producing the crop. Sesame came with few requirements in terms of inputs as well as management practices compared to cotton hence the huge uptake by many farmers in the area. Several contracting companies flocked to once major cotton-growing parts of my community to contract farmers to grow the ‘new’ crop. Most of these companies were contracting farmers to grow the crop for export since they were linked to export markets. Sesame growing became popular with my community as it relieved farmers with the much needed foreign currency as well as bringing back the flourishing life that used to be played by the cotton-growing era.

With most community members in my area, only a few elderly people knew about developing some consumable products from the Sesame. The major product common was sesame butter (dovi) as it is commonly called in our local language. Having worked with the same community under different donor-funded projects in the Non-Governmental sector, and also having been exposed to several health and nutrition projects, I discovered one of the major challenges affecting children and even adults as they try to meet their day to day nutritional requirements for normal growth and development. Hidden hunger and deprivation from necessary micronutrients were reported in several Government reports and surveys as one key challenge affecting smallholder communities despite growing some of the most nutritious crops as in small grains and other legumes that have a great potential to supplement these micronutrients. The introduction of the sesame crop as an edible crop and also able to be processed into peanut butter (dovi), invited me to have a closer look at the crop and start research on determining what other benefits can this crop bring to my community other than a contribution to cash from sales.

My enrolment with the Bindura University of Science Education, for the Master of Science Degree in Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture, opened the opportunities I had long been waiting for. I got the opportunity and joined the RUFORUM project as a Research Assistant and was part of the RUFORUM CARP+ project led by Prof George Nyamadzawo. The project was funded by the RUFORUM/MasterCard Foundation (RU/2018/CARP+/05) focusing on Rainwater harvesting, legume and cereal post-harvest handling and value addition project. My focus in this project was to work toward the value addition of small grain products for the improvement of micronutrients in such food products. The quality of most products from small grains deteriorates mainly due to processing procedures hence what remains is the provision of mainly starch with the essential micronutrients having been lost during processing. Under the supervision of Dr. Blessing Masamha, my task as a student assigned on the value addition component of the project was to develop a food product that would solve the problem of micronutrient deficiencies associated with consumption of mainly starchy diets by smallholder farming communities. This work resulted in my MSc thesis and two scientific manuscripts that are under review in peer reviewed journals. This gave me an opportunity to explore further the sesame crop which had become a crop of interest before. Under the guidance of Dr. B. Masamha, I applied for the Field Attachment Programme Award (FAPA) grant (RU 2020FAPA 09) and I was awarded US$4,000 by RUFORUM. These funds were instrumental in initial commercialization activities of the developed porridge product.

Improved sesameal porridge developed from mixing carefully roasted and ground sorghum, pearl millet,
and sesame seed for the improvement of micronutrient deficiencies in children and adults

My research project focused on determining what could be the possible benefits of Sesame in terms of micronutrients that are essential for healthy and normal body functioning. This required laboratory analysis for both macro and micronutrient benefits of the crop. Results from the proximate analysis of the Sesame crop showed that the seed is rich in protein, fats as well as essential micronutrients such as zinc, iron, and calcium. This became the basis of product development as I looked to include Sesame seed in cereal grain flours which are used mainly to provide early morning porridge to children and even adults in smallholder farming areas. 

  

Improved sesameal porridge developed from mixing carefully roasted and ground sorghum, pearl millet, and sesame seed

My field attachment program was a great eye-opener for me as it exposed me to various avenues in the food production industry which as an upcoming entrepreneur gave me a stepping stone as I pursue establishing my food product on the market. However, there were so many lessons learned during this field attachment program that will help shape my road map in the food product development industry. The following are some of the challenges experienced during the field attachment program.

Food product development requires some set of equipment coming from sorting and cleaning right up to milling and packaging. Such equipment takes time to invest in hence for new guys in the industry this would take a lot of capital investment as such equipment is very expensive. Another challenge experienced involved meeting the standard legal requirements needed in order to operate a food product development business. These processes involve registration of the product as well as patenting the product. The processes require huge capital injection whereas the business is starting hence pose a huge challenge for beginners. New products require strong marketing in order to penetrate the market. Under normal circumstances, this becomes a project on its own to market the product and penetrate different shelves with different customers. This was also another challenge that I faced during the field attachment program.

Community members tasting and enjoying the sesameal porridge during a community sensory evaluation exercise in Sohwe village, Mt Darwin District, Mashonaland Central Province, Zimbabwe.

While the field attachment program had its own challenges especially the COVID-19 disruptions and the red-tape associated with meeting the legal standards, there were a lot of positive outcomes from the experience. One of the main positives coming from the field attachment program was that my food product was highly acceptable to both laboratory staff as well as in the community. Calls for the porridge product were high from individuals and corporates an indication that there is huge potential in following up on Sesameal porridge product development as an entrepreneur project. 

By Farai Desire Marongwe, Bindura University of Science Education, Zimbabwe

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