Prolinnova multi-CP capacity strengthening in Horn of Africa

A new Prolinnova project “From despair to hope – promoting women’s and youth innovation for food and nutrition security and community resilience in Sudan and South Sudan” was developed jointly by Chesha Wettasinha, International Support Team (IST) member based in KIT (Royal Tropical Institute, Netherlands), Fetien Abay, long-time Prolinnova partner in Mekelle University in northern Ethiopia, and Mawahib Ahmed, Prolinnova–Sudan coordinator from the National Centre for Research (NCR).

The proposal was submitted under a special call published by Nuffic (Netherlands organisation for internationalisation in higher education) for three countries in the Horn of Africa in response to a request from the Netherlands Minister of Development Cooperation for transitioning from humanitarian aid to development cooperation. The call stipulated that the Dutch training provider work with an Ethiopian anchor organisation to ensure regional embedding and sustainability. This was a great opportunity for higher educational institutions in Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan to work together: Mekelle University, Alzaiem Aazhri University and Juba University, respectively. The training will include participants not only from these universities but also from other organisations involved in agricultural research and development.

The main objective of this Nuffic-funded project is to strengthen the capacity of staff in institutions of higher agricultural education in the farmer-led innovation development approach. The trained staff will gain skills to support women and youth innovation and enterprise development with a view to enhancing food-system and community resilience. The project will use a series of training workshops, interspersed with periods of field implementation, to enable trainees in Sudan and South Sudan to learn about and get hands-on experience in the farmer-led innovation development approach. Learning spaces created through the project will facilitate shared learning and regional collaboration among partners from the three countries.

While this project will give stimulus to the Prolinnova network in Sudan, which has struggled for several years because of political conflicts in the country, it also hopes to stimulate the formation of a Prolinnova network in South Sudan.

The training programme will be co-facilitated by Fetien and Chesha with inputs from Ann Waters-Bayer of the IST and Jacob Wanyama, Prolinnova Subregional Coordinator for Eastern & Southern Africa.