Project launching Workshop, WGCFNR.
Wondo Genet College of Forestry and Natural Resources (WGCFNR), Hawassa University, has organized launching workshop for a new collaborative project entitled “Insect Pollinator Diversity under different land uses in and around Kafa Biosphere Reserve and Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia” funded by JRS Biodiversity Foundation, on May 20, 2023.
Dr. Samuel Bekele, Dean of WGCFNR, said in his welcome speech that the college has immensely been contributing to the areas of forestry and natural resources management through several research activities and collaborative projects that have helped to enhance its efforts at a national and regional level over the years. Being one of the founding colleges of Hawassa University, he added, WGCFNR have been growing in capacity with veteran professors and scholars working on the areas of natural resource management and conservation including biodiversity. The dean expressed his appreciation to the staff for their tireless efforts in wining such a collaborative project working on insect pollinators’ diversity, a topic least explored yet.
Dr. Tafesse Matewos, Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer at HU, underscored in his opening speech that the University aspires to be among top ten universities in Africa by 2030, especially by focusing on postgraduate academic programs, advanced research activities and strengthening internationalization and partnerships to achieve its goals. He pointed out that HU has 78 active collaborative projects among which most are run with multiple international partners. Dr. Tafesse also remarked that HU has been encouraging the staff to engage in grant proposal writing and applying for international projects through the development of collaborative projects’ guideline, provisions of capacity building trainings and experience sharing with veteran professors as well as granting seed money for proposal writing among others. He added that the university is transitioning towards autonomy which requires a lot of enhancements with staff capacity building, better resources allocated for research and graduate programs and further production and publication of research outputs in internationally accredited journals among others. Thus, he remarked, such projects as the one we are launching today are highly appreciated and encouraged to achieve their goals by involving young and veteran researchers, and he finally congratulated the team led by Dr. Zerihun Girma for their achievement in winning the grant for their proposal.
Dr. Zerihun Girma, who is an Associate Professor at WGCFNR and the Coordinator of the newly launched project presented the nature, objectives, activities and expected outputs of the Project on ‘Insect Pollinator Diversity’ to be executed by HU and three major partners: Ethiopian National Zoological Museum, Ministry of Agriculture, and Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute. The project is said to create awareness on insect pollinators and their role in enhancing crop diversity, yield and quality thereby ensuring food security, an area least studied and documented so far. The project grant amounts to $219,214.49 which involves a team of seven researchers, mostly from WGCFNR and AAU and EBI.
After the presentation, there was warm discussion held among invited researchers and stakeholders who raised questions and forwarded constructive comments on the way forward, and the project was officially launched to last for the coming three years.