Strengthening Faculties of Agriculture in Africa through Collaborative Post-Graduate Degree Training by U.S. and African Universities: The HEPAD Experience

From the 1960s through the 1980s, U.S. universities, foundations, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided major support for higher education institution building and post-graduate degree training. Commitment to these programs largely disappeared during the 1990s. Signs of renewed commitment have appeared within the last five years, but many donors are seeking more effective and less costly capacity building and training models before launching major new investments. This paper draws insights for improved post-graduate training models from a project implemented by a partnership of two U.S. and three East African universities, called “Higher Education Partnerships for African Development (HEPAD): Longterm Training for Regional Agricultural Development in East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.” The project was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development from 2005- 2008 as one of three pilot projects designed to provide guidance for an intended major program of USAID reinvestment in strengthening African universities, particularly Faculties of Agriculture. An important goal of the project was to identify ways of improving the cost effectiveness of post-graduate training of African agricultural scientists, and the relevance of that training to national development goals. The paper summarizes issues, challenges, and lessons learned from this project. The contributions of the “sandwich program” training design and other program features to training effectiveness and cost savings are presented. Recommendations are made for improvements in long-term training design, faculty development, and project management.
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East Africa
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