Taking stock of our capacity building efforts in Africa

Taking stock of our capacity building efforts in Africa

The Improved Masters in Cultivar Development for Africa (IMCDA) programme, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation(BMGF) through the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), is held its fourth Joint Partners Meeting in Durban from 11th-13th of July bringing together local and international universities, national research stations, CGIAR centers, and students involved in the programme to review its progress and learnings.

Implemented in three universities; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana, Makerere University in Uganda, and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), IMCDA is designed to train plant breeders using modern breeding technologies, with a significant portion of the training delivered through e-learning materials developed with support from Iowa State University’s Plant Breeding E-Learning for Africa Project (PBEA).

AGRA’s, capacity building efforts on the continent are a significant component of its 10-year journey of shared success which has seen over 750 specialists in plant breeding and soil management trained at MSc and PhD level to support national research organizations and to build capacity for agricultural systems across countries.

‘We are training a new breed of scientists/plant breeders with a product development mindset that can work in the public or private sector,’ said Dr Rufaro Madakadze, Program Officer, capacity building – AGRA.

AGRA’s work is focused on small-holder farmers, seeking to transform how they do their work to improve livelihoods using numerous technologies, working with a wide range of partners to transform and a green revolution in Africa.

This week’s discussions will center around included articulation of progress of the programme, challenges and mitigation, feedback on e-curricula implementation and sustainability, lessons from internship students and hosts, and a strategy for scale-out of the programme.

AGRA is now evolving into an organization that has a diversified value proposition, playing the role of convener, thought-leader, policy advocate, private sector partner, grantee capability builder, and implementation supporter, in addition to continuing with its vital role as a catalytic grant maker. With this capability; AGRA is now positioned to become the go-to partner for government and continental bodies seeking to drive agricultural transformation, providing strategy support for development of national plans, creation of bankable investment plans and implementation support to effectively and efficiently deliver results.