Written by Maureen Agena – Social Media Consultant
I was recently in Maputo, Mozambique attending the 4th Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) biennial conference. RUFORUM is a consortium of 42 Universities across Africa and a platform for catalyzing change is African Universities. I had gone for a consultancy to train young social reporters and journalism students in Mozambique who had been tasked to cover the proceedings of the event in real time via social media. I have in the past conducted similar trainings but this was a special one given the nature of the trainees. It was a mixture of English, French and Portuguese speakers. After successfully completing my trainings, I had an opportunity of attending some of the plenary sessions as I monitored my ‘students’ do their work.
It was not a surprise that one of those sessions that I chose to attend, focused on the role of women in Agriculture and why they should not be ignored in institutions of higher learning and specifically Agricultural education.
In her opening remarks, Her Excellence Dhlamini Nkosazana Zuma the chairperson of the African Union commission mentioned that transforming Agriculture in Africa required innovative scientific research, educational and training approaches. She added that transformation demands a bold vision backed by bold actions. Ms. Dhlamini said that Africans from all walks of life must contribute to a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth, so that Africa can take its rightful place in the world. By 2025, all young persons under 25 in the world will be African. They must therefore be intellectually empowered with relevant skills especially in science and technology. she added. On the role of women in Africa’s development, Ms. Dhlamini had this to say
“Women not only make up half of Africa’s population but also produce the other half, they form 70% of African workforce. We must empower them. We must have deliberate strategies to ensure girls’ access to higher education and more women in the academia”
She challenged participants when she mentioned that no country has ever developed on primary education alone and emphasized the value and need to focus on Higher education. In her opinion, Africa needs to have its own agenda and pursue it. “We do not need the UN to tell us to take our children to school” she said. Click here to read more