By: Homa Mulisa
The Africa Center of Excellence for Climate Smart Agriculture and Biodiversity Conservation (ACE Climate SABC) at Haramaya University, Ethiopia is exceling in targeted regional areas through research, training and institutional capacity building.
The Center is currently providing quality training to 47 students (51 % are females) from seven countries in Africa through carefully designed curricula and renowned national and international professionals, said Prof. Nigussie Dechassa, Leader of the Center.
The visiting scholars arriving at the center are adding regional and international flavors to the training programs contributing to a well-accepted education and credit transfer, said Deputy Center Leader, Dr. Bobe Bedadi for his part.
Unlike the conventional way of higher education training, the center is trying to make the training experience more interesting through offering a single course using more than one lecturer, each specialized in specific areas.
The Center strongly believes in the importance of continued institutional capacity development.
ACE Climate SABC is also set to embark on top quality short term courses for faculty, students and stakeholders to ensure self-sustainability of the center in the long run, disclosed Dr. Tesfaye Lemma, Training and Research Head at the Center.
To this effect, a number of skill enhancing short courses are being developed.
These efforts are meant to beef up the capacity of the center towards successfully mobilizing partners and funding agencies to enable students come up with cutting edge research supported by state of the art technologies to generate climate smart technologies and policy relevant knowledge and information.
Accordingly, course contents for assertiveness training for female students and faculty, innovative teaching methodology for faculty, effective post-graduate research supervision, training on basic laboratory skills, training on inclusiveness and diversity have been prepared so far.
The center also supported short training of faculty and support staff at the other ACEs.
The University so far produced more than twenty internationally recognized research publications in disciplines supported by the ACE Program in partnership with regional co-authors.
In addition to classes given by highly qualified academia, students were exposed to hand-on practical training as well as experimental learning opportunities through field trips across Ethiopia.
ACE Climate SABC is well promoted in national, regional and international level through a variety of communication channels like newspapers, social media, and exhibitions.
As partnerships are one of the key focus areas of the center to achieve excellence, the Center has recently signed a MoU with African Conservation Tillage Network to partner in the area of Conservation Agriculture through course development, research and training, whereas more partnerships are in the pipeline.
It has mobilized additional resource to support research related to Climate SABC.
The center is also on the verge of completing the installment of a Video Conference learning platform to effectively facilitate online learning where distance would cease to be a barrier to learning.