Under the Academic Mobility thrust, 17 staff in RUFORUM Member Universities and research institutions from Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe have benefited to study Doctoral programmes in other countries within the ECSA region. RUFORUM has been partnering with Germany Academic Exchange Services (DAAD) since 2011 through the in-region fellowship programme. The partnership aims at supporting doctoral students in order to improve the capacity of universities in providing the human capital and leadership that is adaptable and able to meet the needs of the future and at the same time to add to the research output that addresses local conditions.
One of the beneficiaries, Ms Sally Chikuta is a Zambian national completing PhD Plant Breeding and Biotechnology studies at Makerere University in Uganda commends the funding arrangement. The funding has provided staff with international experience and exposure and allows them to still provide services to their home countries while they pursue their studies. Regionally, RUFORUM has been able to strengthen its PhD programmes to provide internationally competitive doctoral programs within Africa. The Regional PhD (7 and MSc-5) programmes are producing leaders who are committed to champion the transformation of African universities. The targeted Programmes for the DAAD cooperation include; PhD Plant Breeding and Biotechnology (Makerere University, Uganda), PhD Food Science and Nutrition (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya); PhD Agricultural and Rural Innovations (Makerere University); PhD Aquaculture and Fisheries Science (Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Malawi) and PhD Life Sciences (Nelson Mandela Africa Institution of Sciences and Technology, Tanzania).
The RUFORUM’s newly refreshed Strategic Business Plan (2015-2020) places emphasis on a vibrant academic mobility as a tool for regional integration and internationalization of Higher Agricultural Education in Africa. This is in response to the growing need for provision of quality tertiary education, supply of suitably qualified high education staff in the region and the necessity for learning flexibility, versatility and robust outreach, as encouraged by the African Union’s Agenda 2063. The modalities of the RUFORUM mobility programmes are built on RUFORUM’s own lessons, and those of other initiatives such under DAAD, Carnegie Cooperation of New York, Intra ACP Academic Mobility, and IDRC.