RUFORUM is a network of African universities focused on human capacity building and institutional strengthening in agriculture and food systems. It is a large network that grew from a small seed – and it has travelled further than anyone could have foreseen. In the decade before RUFORUM was officially formed in 2004, a handful of committed scientists had been walking a new road together. They were striving to find new ways of training and mentoring postgraduate students, engaging in collaborative research with communities, and sharing their ideas and experiences with one another – all within the resource-constrained contexts of their universities. They needed a spark to kindle the fire they had ignited, and help it grow. The RUFORUM story is a story of universities struggling to adapt and become fit to serve the needs of their changing societies. From this essential mission, a formidable pan African organisation has grown. Today, RUFORUM’s footprint extends to 40 African countries. It has become a singular voice for the contributions of African universities towards sustainable development. The network regularly convenes Heads of State, government ministers, university leaders and United Nations’ agencies in global dialogues. Such convenings engage students directly in discussions with Heads of State in Zoom seminars to inform the shape of future food systems policies.
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