So pressing are Burundi’s needs for well-trained agricultural researchers, that when Micheline Inamahoro arrived at Makerere University in Uganda in 2008 to complete a masters degree in plant breeding and seed systems, she was eight months pregnant. As a budding researcher with the Burundian national agricultural research institute, ISABU, she had a prized scholarship to study plant breeding, and it was an opportunity she was not going to pass up. Working in a national institute devastated by the war, she was among a handful of scientists in a tightly constrained system that was in a state of prolonged collapse, suffering from a dearth of resources and people to help support farmers, who are the backbone of the economy in the tiny yet densely populated country. Burundi was one of the countries targeted by the SCARDA (Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Research and Development in Africa) initiative of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, aimed at building capacity in research systems hamstrung by systemic weaknesses, often resulting from post-conflict stresses. And Inamahoro was one of five young Burundian researchers who completed their masters degrees with SCARDA support. The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture, or RUFORUM – an advanced research and training network and consortium of 45 African universities in 22 different countries – is the lead service provider for East Africa, and its engagement with this tiny, post-conflict country has provided a critical lifeline to Burundi’s struggling national agricultural research system.
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RUFORUM Case Studies
RUFORUM SCARDA and SCAIN Resources