Frequent Asked Questions

MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR STRENGTHENING HIGHER AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION IN AFRICA FOR AGRI FOOD SYSTEM TRANSFORMATION PROJECT

Question:   How do we define a Regional Anchor Country /University? And what are the characteristic of an Anchor University in the context of SHAEA?

Answer:   A regional anchor university (RAU) is a higher education institution that will be selected based on a competitive call. The selected higher education institution will be expected to have the capacity to (a) provide national and regional leadership for agri-food system transformation; (b) be a recognized academic leader able to demonstrate commitment to reform for transformative impact; c) Support to internationalize higher agricultural education services; and d) show potential to evolve into a vibrant and transformative university.  

Question:  Does a University need to be a RUFORUM member to qualify as Regional Anchor University?

Answer:   A university does not have to be a RUFORUM member to apply or to be awarded  Regional Anchor University status.  However, Regional Anchors Universities will participate in RUFORUM gatherings such as annual meetings, Triennial conferences  in order to share lessons from their experiences in implementing SHAEA with other universities and stakeholders in the higher education and agricultural sectors.

Question:   How many Anchor universities will be awarded per participating country?

Answer:     The Regional Anchor University should demonstrate academic leadership in the country and regionally in one or more of the key gap areas. It is therefore expected that only one RAU will be selected per country. The design of the SHAEA project provides for intense engagements between and among national higher education institutions and the RAU. It is therefore envisaged that additional support will be provided to tertiary education institution linked to the RAU in a selected country based on the investment that the country would make but this has not yet been agreed.

Question:    How will the key priority areas be defined by the Participating Universities/ Countries?

Answer:      Universities will need to respond to the needs of the agricultural sector in each of the countries and the priorities of the government of each country.

Question:    Will there be other opportunities for universities that do/will not qualify as an anchor of the SHAEA project?

Answer:   SHAEA is a unique project which was conceived to benefit diverse actors in the agri-food systems beyond the Regional Anchor Universities and countries. Through Component 2.2 of the SHAEA project, the Regional Anchor Universities have a huge responsibility of bringing together other actors (including emerging universities in the design of the proposal) and they are expected to develop a Network of Agricultural Tertiary Education Institutions to support Regional Agri-food Transformation needs. Partnerships need to be developed to implement all aspects of the RAU role

Question:    How will the project help push the new ag frontier – Digital Agriculture and the use of Disruptive technology to leap frog in Agricultural sector?

Answer:     This is an exciting new area that will attract future graduates and complements well the sustainability angle, and the entrepreneurship focus. We may want to promote this by including it as a cross-cutting dimension in (almost) all training and research engagements at regional anchors.

Question :    What is the Role of RUFORUM in supporting RAU’S?

Answer:     The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) was selected as a Regional Facilitating Unit (RFU) for SHAEA. As a RFU, RUFORUM will work in close collaboration with the RAUs to ensure smooth operation of the project and will support the project implementation at all levels. Additionally RUFORUM as RFU will serve as secretariat for the Regional Steering Committee.

Question:   Is there any linkages between SHAEA and the RUFORUM Vision 2030 for Higher Education Science, Technology and Innovation  

Answer:   The ‘Regional Anchor University (RAU)’ Concept is at the center of the SHAEA Project which aligns well with the Africa Higher Education Science, Technology and Innovation (AHESTI) 2030 overall vision of ‘vibrant, transformative universities catalyzing sustainable, inclusive agricultural development to feed and create prosperity for Africa’ as highlighted in RUFORUM’s Vision 2030 strategy. At the RUFORUM Network level, the Project complements the four flagships CREATE, RANCH, TAGDEV and K-HUB.

 

Question:    The private sector is expected to demand for services from the anchor universities. How will this be articulated? How can the private sector contribute to this initiative? How is this role going to be initiated (where it is not in place) and strengthened (where it is in place) with the respective anchor universities? How are these going to be sustained?

Answer.  The Private sector is being brought on board as partners and the university being provided with funds to innovatively learn from these partnerships. Sustainability must be built into the design of winning proposals. The winning proposal must demonstrate evidence of engagements between the private sector and the university that are intended to foster sustainable mechanisms for a continued functional partnership. Through this project, universities have an opportunity to build on existing lessons and ensure demand driven agenda that will customize and domesticate best practice with regard to university-private sector engagements.

Question    How is the regional accreditation going to be handled? – the ACE countries struggled with finding regional accreditation bodies.

Answer:   A number of the ACE projects now have experience with this and have been successful. This Project will learn from them and be facilitated by the RFU and the World Bank to achieve accreditation. This is a requirement for the Project.