The Contributions of Human Capacity Development to Improve University Relevance: the iAGRI Model

Human capacity development (HCD), through long-term degree and short-term training, is critical to improving the performance and relevance of agricultural higher education institutions (AHEI) and their contributions to agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa. The Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative (iAGRI) was an investment in agricultural higher education and research capacity building in Tanzania funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and led by The Ohio State University (OSU), five other U.S. land grant universities and the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM). Its main goal was to improve food security and agricultural productivity in Tanzania by strengthening the training and collaborative research capacities of Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MALF). The project focused on multiple dimensions of capacity building including human resource development through degree and short-term training. Over the course of the project, 115 MSc and 20 PhD students completed their post-graduate studies at universities in the U.S., Africa and India. Half the graduates were female and all students returned to Tanzania. The project also sponsored 25 short-term training workshops and 73 seminars at SUA for students and staff. The paper summarizes important contributions the degree training programme made to institutional strengthening and agricultural development in Tanzania, and degree training “best practices”. It ends by recommending the need to continue with degree training to keep the human resource pipeline filled; continuing with short-term training to incentivize and invigorate staff; and supporting training at diverse institutions.

Issue Date:
Dec 31 2017
Publication Type:
Journal Article
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Published in:
African Journal of Rural Development (AFJRD), 2, 4
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 Record created 2018-11-15, last modified 2020-10-28

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