ASARECA Region Experiences in Capacity Building for Agricultural Information & Communication Management: The Case for Capacity Building 3rd IAALD Africa Chapter Conference 23rd May 2012 Presented By Nodumo Dhlamini
ABOUT RUFORUM Established in 2004; Formerly a Rockefeller Funded Project which was called FORUM (1992-2003) 29 Member Universities in 17 countries Regional Secretariat based at Makerere University, Kampala Uganda WWW.ruforum.org
Background to the MSc AICM• RUFORUM supports a number of regional postgraduate training programs in agriculture• 2003 the Regional Agricultural Information Network (RAIN) was established as a programme for the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA)• Priority setting exercise for RAIN, network members unanimously agreed that enhancing skills in ICM in Eastern and Central Africa (ECA) was the most important problem-solving area that RAIN should focus on.
Background to the MSc AICM• RAIN conducted a regional study to assess human resource capacities and training needs in Eastern and Central Africa (ECA).• Development of the Master of Science in Agricultural Information and Communication Management (MSc AICM) programme was strongly supported by the findings of this training needs assessment (TNA) undertaken by RAIN in 2005• Regional Partnership in the program development: ASARECA, FARA, RUFORUM and various stakeholders from National Research Organizations, Private Sector and Universities
Key Findings of 2005 TNA• Agricultural professionals of all cadres in the ASARECA region with AICM skills were few or lacking.• Agricultural researchers, educators and technologists in national agricultural research systems (NARIs), universities and extension services lacked skills that could make them self-sufficient in meeting basic information needs to generate and disseminate technology.• Agricultural research results are not known or effectively transmitted to the international research community. As a result, African concerns do not
Key Findings of 2005 TNA• There was also a scarcity of trained professional scientific editors capable of assisting African scientists to get their papers and other literature published in international refereed journals.• Existing university programmes did not have adequate ICT/ICM content, explaining the low ICT/ICM competency among graduates, and there was a growing recognition that ICM was emerging as a ‘new’ profession in development.
The Curriculum MSc by Non-thesis Product Thesis MSc Thesis Research 4 Specialization areas 2 courses eachSpecializations 12 credit hrs Total 6 credit hrs + project 6 credit hrs Electives 2 Elective courses total 6 credit hrs Core Mini-Competencies 10 Core Courses Total 24 credit hrs PGD Project Remedial ICT/ICM Basics Agricultural Science Coursework 8 credit hrs 9 credit hrs Intake Agriculture Fresh Graduates of Non-agric Graduates Any Backgrounds Graduates
The CoursesCore CoursesFundamentals of AICMManagement of Agricultural Information and communicationSystemsInformation System Analysis and DesignDatabase Design and ManagementAgricultural Knowledge ManagementWeb Content Design and ManagementCommunication for InnovationFarming Systems and Rural LivelihoodsStatistical and Research Methods in AICMSeminar on Current TopicsThesis
The Experiences of ImplementingMSc AICM• 2008: RUFORUM took over the implementation of the program• 1st group of 14 students at Egerton University in Kenya supported by FARA/ASARECA through SCARDA and others by RUFORUM• In 2008 University of Nairobi took up the programme• In 2010 Haramaya University (Ethiopia) took up the programme• In 2012 Makerere University will commence the programme
Egerton University StatisticsName of Intake # and Total # of No of No of MalesUniversity Year Students FemalesEgerton University 1st - 2008 14 5 9 2nd – 2009 9 5 4 3rd - 2010 3 1 2 4th - 2011 7 3 4Regional DRC, Ethiopia, , Kenya,Tanzania , Sudan, Uganda, ZimbabweRepresentationTotal Graduated Three graduated in 2011Funding Profile of The 1st intake was financed under the DFID funded SCARDAStudents project and some were funded from RUFORUM sources. The second and third intakes were funded from other means identified by the students.Delivery of MSc AICM Programme delivered as a full-time regular semesterProgram programme. Participants are fresh post Bachelor students or employees on study leave.
Haramaya University StatisticsName of University Intake # and Year Total # of No of Females No of Students MalesHaramaya University 1st - 2010 (Regular) 13 2 11 1st - 2010 (Summer 13 1 12 In Service)Regional All EthiopianRepresentationTotal Graduated None YetFunding Profile of Students are sponsored by the Ethiopian Government andStudents RUFORUM for their researchDelivery of Program MSc AICM Programme delivered in two ways: as a full-time regular semester programme and also as summer vacation programme. Some of the participants are full time employees.
University of Nairobi StatisticsName of University Intake # and Total # of No of Females No of Males Year StudentsUniversity of 1st - 2008 10 4 6Nairobi 2nd – 2009 12 4 8 3rd - 2010 11 4 7 4th - 2011 13 6 7Regional All KenyansRepresentationTotal Graduated Four graduated in 2011Funding Profile of Students are self –sponsoredStudentsDelivery of Program MSc AICM Programme delivered as a part-time weekend and or evening programme. Participants are full time employees.
Discussions (I)• 85 AICM professionals have been trained by the three universities. Some of these have graduated and others are at the research phase of their academic work. And additional 20 have just commenced their studies as part of the 4th intakes to the programme.• Therefore the objective has been partially met - the initial plan was to have all the 9 ASARECA countries implement the AICM program by 2012. The plan was grand and ambitious – targeting 180 students being admitted annually in the 9 countries over 5 years..
Discussions (II)• There is a need to carry out a tracer study to be able to say that the programme has produced competent AICM experts with intended competencies. There is also a need to carry out a tracer study to be able to say that the programme has enhanced the competency of agric researchers and other development workers in AICM.• Capacity building for universities has been in the area of e-learning and e-content development. To date 15 AICM modules have been converted to e-format and 8 have been uploaded on the RUFORUM moodle system. Due to funding limitations, we have been unable to build the capacity of PhD level AICM professionals to teach on this programme.
Discussions (III)• Ideally the research agenda of the AICM students must be tightly knit to the gaps and needs of the agricultural sector in terms of AICM. We need to support staff and student exchanges and seminars to strengthen the linkages.• Marketing of the AICM programme could be improved to attract more students and support for the programme
Opportunities for Collaboration (I)• Internships & Practical Training for AICM students: virtual internships to support IAALD online platforms• Partnerships for the development of AICM teaching materials is an important and pending activity. The area of AICM is lacking in terms of teaching materials, textbooks, case studies and other resources.• We need to provide opportunities for AICM training at Module, Certificate and PhD levels.
Opportunities for Collaboration (II)• Support for staff/student exchanges. Opportunities for engaging with AICM faculty and students through tailored AICM seminars and learning internships with strategic agricultural institutions.• AICM Research would be more relevant if stakeholders were to be engaged in mapping the research themes together with the universities. Need to support the development of the research themes, supervision of the research MSc AICM research needs to be well integrated into agricultural value chain systems in order to add value to solving real agricultural information and communication management problems.
Conclusions• Need for this programme not disputed. Universities in the Caribbean & Pacific have shown interest.• Capacity building through MSc AICM, PGD, Certificate is recommended for the Agricultural Entrepreneurs, Extension Workers and related Agents• The integrated systems approach to solving agricultural development challenges should incorporate the AICM curriculum