Kick-off workshop held for new collaborative project at College of Agriculture.
A kick-off workshop was conducted on a newly won small-scale collaborative project entitled “Improving Dairy Collection, Processing and Marketing, Kedida Gamela District” led by a young female researcher from the College of Agriculture and funded by TAP Project of WeihenStephan Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences (HSWT), Germany.
The project leader, Yaynabeba Abayneh, presented the problems identified to work on in Kedida Gamela District of SNNPRS where most farmers follow traditional methods of dairy farm resulting in lower quality of life, especially for female farmers. Hence, the project aims at modernizing the dairy collection, processing and marketing in the area thereby empowering women to have better access to dairy market through a farmers’ association to improve their livelihood. The project is also expected to supply modern equipment that will help in the dairy processing for female farmers in the district whose life is highly dependent on livestock production and dairy farm.
While officially opening the workshop, Dr. Tafesse Matewos, Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer of HU said that Hawassa University has a long-standing experience of winning collaborative projects that have played crucial roles in supporting its teaching, research and community service activities over the last 24 years. He added that most of the collaborative projects have their origin in the College of Agriculture because of the commitment and rich experience of the staff, and he extended his heartfelt appreciation to the professors there who have been working tirelessly to win international grants. Dr. Tafesse mentioned one of the exemplary collaborative projects, CLIFOOD, which has supported 27 PhD students, and its large contributions to the improvements of Biotechnology and Food science labs in the college, indicating how relevant the projects have been to HU.
Moreover, Dr. Tafesse pointed out that HU has been a pioneering university in institutionalizing the activities of collaborative projects by establishing a separate work unit, CPCD, which is responsible for supporting and monitoring the activities of these projects, and the development of collaborative projects’ guideline which is another exemplary initiative to strengthen the activities of collaborative projects. He said that this wonderful culture needs to be strengthened and the office of VPRTT has been taking different initiatives to strengthen HU’s culture of winning and managing collaborative projects. He also mentioned some of the HU initiatives as providing trainings on grant writing, acknowledging best project winner, allocating modest seed money for staff who successfully submit grant proposals, organizing collaborative projects’ experience sharing days, publishing and uploading collaborative projects’ data on our website, and allowing unlimited number of authors in PhD students’ publication who are supported by collaborative projects.
Dr. Tafesse finally remarked that joint research, joint publications, and joint degrees are mandatory for our university to achieve its goals of becoming one of the top ten research universities in East Africa by 2030 and implement its strategies of being one of the 8 research universities in Ethiopia. He said that HU currently has 71 collaborative projects 14 of which started in the 2021/2022 budget year, and brought in about 75 million birr to HU. His office has recently set two more preconditions for all collaborative projects: 1. All new projects need to go through Institutional Ethical review system; and 2. All collaborative projects need to organize a kick of meeting before the actual implementations in order to maximize the benefits to our country and ensure transparency in all collaborative projects.
Finally, he congratulated Yayneabeba and her team for their success as this project is important not only because it works in dairy sector which is one of the areas of excellence of HU but also it is won by a young and emerging female staff. Staff from HU and relevant officers from Kedida Gamela District have taken part in the kick-off workshop and discussed ways to realize the objectives of the project.