ORPHAN

Project name:Mobility for high skilled scientists and entrepreneurs on orphan crops in higher education for accelerated climate change solutions in Africa
AcronymORPHAN
Type of ActionNDICI-MOBAF-UN/ Intra Africa Mobility Project
Key wordsCapacity building, climate change, cross regional mobility, food and nutritional security, food technology, orphan crops, plant breeding.
DurationJanuary 2024 to December 2027
Countries for mobilityCôte d’Ivoire, Benin, Kenya, Nigeria and Zimbabwe
European Technical PartnerBelgium
Coordinating countryCôte d’Ivoire
BACKGROUND
Modern agricultural systems in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) depend on 1% of the crop diversity available to feed 60% of the population. The alarming food and nutritional security issue caused by the growing population in SSA is worsened by the negative effects of climate change on agri-food systems, calling for innovative approaches to address food and nutritional insecurity in the region. Yet, SSA is endowed with a huge diversity of species known as orphan crops that have the potential to address food scarcity caused by climate change due to their adaptability and nutritional value in low-input agricultural systems. Unfortunately, despite their potential, they have benefited from very limited modern scientific and technological advances. Training PhD and MSc students, as well as trainees in adequate institutions that can employ graduates, is a robust approach to sustain the promotion of orphan crops.  
OBJECTIVES
The ORPHAN project intends to: Train 12 high-profile PhD graduates, 32 MSc graduates, 10 academic staff and 10 trainees with skills in plant breeding, food technology and nutrition to address current and future challenges related to climate change and agrifood systems with a focus on promising orphan plant species of Africa.Harmonize training programs and research agenda on the improvement of the value chain of orphan crops for food and nutrition security in Africa.Enhance national – regional – international collaboration and programmatic agenda that promotes orphan crops research and training for agricultural innovations in Africa through cross regional mobility.  
APPROACH
Selection of MSc and PhD students, trainees, staff for mobility in Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Kenya, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe.Maximum duration of mobility:PhD students: 36 monthsMaster students: 12 monthsTrainees: 3 monthsStaff: 2 months   Higher Education Institutions involved in mobility Countries Universities involved Department / Faculty involved Côte d’Ivoire Université Nangui Abrogoua (UNA) UFR of Natural Sciences Benin University of Abomey-Calavi (UAC) Faculty of Agronomic Sciences Kenya Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) Horticulture and Food SecurityHuman and Nutritional SciencesFood Sciences and Technology Nigeria Ebonyi State University (EBSU) Crop Production and Landscape ManagementFood Science & Technology Zimbabwe University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Plant Production Sciences and TechnologiesNutrition Dietetics and Food Science Belgium Catholic University of Louvain (UCLouvain)     Beneficiaries Two target groups will be considered: Target group (TG) 1: Students registered or admitted in/or having obtained a degree from HEIs involved in the project (UNA, UAC, JKUAT, EBSU and UZ). Target group (TG) 2: Students registered or admitted in/or having obtained a degree from another HEI which is not part of the current consortium but established in Africa. Countries such as Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mali, Soudan, Tanzania, Rwanda, Senegal, Niger, Zambia, Malawi, Togo are identified to send students into the mobility scheme as TG 2. 70% of selected master’s and doctoral students will come from TG 1 and 30% from TG 2.
MILESTONES
Signature of the Memorandum of understanding at month 6,Mobility tool update 1 at month 9,Mobility tool update 2 at month 18,Mobility tool update 3 at month 30,Mobility tool update 4 at month 42,Mobility tool update 5 at month 48,Recruited MSc students have defended their thesis,Recruited PhD students have defended their thesis,PhD student published one article each before graduation,Recruited trainees successfully completed their internship,Recruited staff completed their mobility.At least one cooperation agreement is established between a HEI involved in ORPHAN project and an organization that focus on the development and utilization of orphan crops at month 24,More than 1000 people accessed the project outputs at month 48.
BUDGET
  Universities involved Country Allocated budget (€) Université Nangui Abrogoua Côte d’Ivoire 455,856.80 University of Abomey-Calavi Benin 372,425.80 Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology Kenya 359,002.80 Ebonyi State University Nigeria 302,424.40 University of Zimbabwe Zimbabwe 285,624.40 Catholic University of Louvain Belgium 21,476.80 Total budget 1,796,820
Risks
  No Risks Proposed risk-mitigation measures 1 Political instability Likelihood: Low Ensure consistent and open communication with all project stakeholders to keep everyone informed about potential risks.Incorporate flexibility into project schedules and budgets to account for unexpected events 2 Academic crises Likelihood: Low Maintain regular and transparent communication with project team members’ students and external parties.Be flexible in scheduling and budgeting: Build flexibility into project workplan and budget to accommodate unforeseen events 3 Natural disasters Likelihood: Low Maintain regular and transparent communication with project team members and external parties.Local coordinators in each country will share with scholarship holders the ‘’red zones’’ in terms of occurrence of natural disasters.Students field activities would be conducted far from potential zones where natural disasters are frequent. 4 Unexpected health disasters Likelihood: Low Maintain regular and transparent communication with project team members and external parties.Stay up to date on the latest information from reputable health organizations such as World Health Organization and governmental agencies.Comply to national hygiene and sanitation measures in place in the affected country(ies).Move to online meetings and provide supports to students, and virtual delivery of lectures/training.Be flexible in scheduling and budgeting. 5 Difficulties in obtaining visas and other administrative formalities related to scholars’ mobility. Likelihood: Low Project charter summarizing the project will be elaborated and shared with Embassies/consulates (where scholarship holders would have to go to get Visa, if applicable) in each country.Maintain regular and transparent communication with project team members and external parties.International cooperation services will brief scholars on the process of obtaining visa along with required documents so that scholarship holders apply for visa on time, right after their selection.Project team will ensure that all documents are sent to selected scholarship holders right after they accept the scholarship (sign acceptance letter). 6 Scholars drop out Likelihood: Low Maintain regular and transparent communication with project team members and external parties.Prepare and share with scholarship holders’ information related to the mobility (conditions of the mobility and jobs prospects).Connect scholarship holders to contact person at the international cooperation office who will also be the scholarship holders’ focal point for first assistance. The person will help scholarship holders to overcome difficulties and stay engaged in their learning journey. 7 Students pass away Likelihood: Low Maintain regular and transparent communication with project team members and external parties.Prepare and share with scholarship holders’ information related to the mobility (conditions of the mobility and jobs prospects).Ask each scholarship holder to provide statement on heath related issues.Connect scholarship holders to contact person at the international cooperation office who will also be the scholarship holders’ focal point for first assistance.Reasonable health insurance will be provided to all scholarship holders. 8 Project activities stop after the funding Likelihood: Low Project team would agree on MoU for students’ mobility even after the projects ends.Raise funds for follow-up initiative on orphan crops.
GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE AND MANAGEMENT TEAM
For the smooth running of the project, three Work Packages (WP) will be implemented: WP1: Management and implementation of the project; WP2: Selection and supervision of scholarship holders; and WP3: Sustainability, dissemination, and exploitation of results. The following management team will be set up:                            

MAIN CONTACT PERSONS
Université Nangui Abrogoua, Côte d’Ivoire: Prof Kévin Koffi Kouame University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin: Prof Nadia Fanou Fogny Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya: Prof. Mary Abukutsa-Onyango Ebonyi State University, Nigeria: Prof Kate Nnamani University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe: Prof. Edmore Gasura Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium: Prof Marie-Paule Kestemont Senior advisor: Prof Enoch Achigan-Dako

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