PATH

Project name: Capacity Building of African Young Scientists in Precision Agriculture Through Cross-Regional Academic Mobility for Enhanced Climate-Smart Agri-Food System
AcronymPATH
Type of ActionNDICI-MOBAF-UN/  Intra Africa Mobility Project
Key wordsPrecision Agriculture Education project, Technologies in Agriculture, Climate Resilience and Adaptation, Youth Empowerment, Youth Employability, Food System Approach
DurationJanuary 2024 to December 2027
Countries for mobilityBenin, Eswatini, Ghana, Rwanda
European Technical PartnerFrance
Associate PartnerMorocco
Coordinating countryBenin
BACKGROUND
Climate change is one of the main problems affecting food and nutrition globally, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Adapting to and mitigating climate change in the agri-food sector requires merging information technologies, genetic innovations, and sustainable farming practices to empower the agricultural youth sector to create effective and locally adapted solutions. Precision Agriculture applied to crops (PAAC) has been advocated as a strategic solution to mitigate/adapt agriculture at smallholder and global scales to climate change effects and enhance the digital skills of the younger generations, while increasing their interest in agriculture. However, a lack of expertise in this sector in Africa has prevented the continent from benefiting from numerous advantages of precision agriculture. PATH will ultimately increase the capacity of African Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) to produce highly skilled young scientists to develop PAAC technologies for sustainable agri-food systems resilient to climate change in Africa.  
OBJECTIVES
PATH aims at increasing skills and qualifications across the African continent. Through the proposed project, the capacities of young African Scientists and entrepreneurs in precision agriculture to build climate-resilient and adaptable agrifood systems will be reinforced. Specifically, PATH aims at: Training 32 MSc and 12 PhD African scholars in PAAC to upgrade the continent’s capability; Building the capacity of 10 young African trainees and 10 staff in precision agriculture and entrepreneurship; Improving PAAC and ICT4Ag curricula and research at the participating African Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to address more efficiently the current challenges of agriculture and climate change; and Developing a network of HEIs in Africa involved in PAAC research and training.  
APPROACH
-Selection of students, trainees, staff for mobility in Benin, Eswatini, Ghana and Rwanda -Maximum duration of mobility PhD students: 36 monthsMaster students: 12 monthsTrainees: 3 monthsStaff: 2 months   -Some crops of interest for the mobility: soybean, rice, tomato and pineapple between Ghana and Benin; groundnut between Benin and Eswatini; rice and potato between Benin and Rwanda; beans between Eswatini and Rwanda; Taro and Sweet potato between Ghana and Eswatini andSorghum and Taro between Ghana and Rwanda Please note that other crops can be added if the crop is of economic importance for the two countries. Higher Education Institutions involved: Countries Universities involved Faculties involved Benin University of Abomey Calavi Faculty of Agricultural Sciences (FSA)Training and Research Institute in Computer Science (IFRI) Eswatini University of Swaziland Faculty of AgricultureFaculty of Science and Engineering Ghana University of Cape Coast Department of Soil ScienceDepartment of Computer Science Rwanda University of Rwanda School of Agriculture and Food SciencesDepartment of Soil Science/School of Agriculture and Food Science   Beneficiaries: Two target groups will be considered: Target 1. Students registered or admitted in/or having obtained a degree from HEIs involved in the project: University of Abomey Calavi (Benin), University of Cape -Coast (Ghana), University of Swaziland (Eswatini) and University of Rwanda (Rwanda). Target 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 70% of selected students will come from Target 1 and 30% from target 2.  
Milestones
Technical and financial report submitted by month number 13, 25, 37 and 49 after project launchAll recruited MSc and PhD students have defended their thesis by month 48 after project launch PhD student published one article each before graduation by month 48 after project launch Recruited trainees successfully completed their internship by month 48 after project launch Recruited staff completed their mobility by month 48 after project launch One regional short course on PAAC is run by month 44 after project launchAt least one cooperation agreement is established between a HEI involved in PA and a business partner per participating African country by month 24 after project launchMore than 1000 people accessed the project outputs by month 48 after project launch    
Budget  
  Countries Universities involved Grant amount Benin University of Abomey Calavi 573281.00 Eswatini University of Swaziland 403732.00 Ghana University of Cape Coast 403192.00 Rwanda University of Rwanda 389769.00 France Institut National D’enseignement Supérieur Pour L’agriculture, L’alimentation Et L’environnement 26846.00 Total (EUR) 1796820.00    
Risks
  Risk Proposed risk-mitigation measures   Political instability   Although the participating countries have been carefully selected, to mitigate this risk we will: – Maintain regular and transparent communication with project team members and external parties. – be flexible in scheduling and budgeting     Academic crises   – reorient scholarship holders to another participating Higher Education Institution (HEI) of the consortium. Involve the vice-chancellors of the participating HEIs through regular meetings. This will help to stay alert and react accordingly. Be flexible in scheduling and budgeting   Natural disasters   – 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 or at   Unexpected health crises/disasters (e.g. COVID19)   Although all HEIs involved in this project managed very well with Covid-19 pandemic we will: – Stay up to date on the latest information from reputable health organizations such as World Health Organisation 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 – be flexible in scheduling and budgeting   Difficulty in obtaining Visa and other administrative formalities 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 service will brief students 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)   Student drop out   – 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
 
Governance structure and management team
The PATH project will be run through structures interdependent units according to the following chart below.                                              

Main contact persons:
University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin: Dr Ir. Vodjo Nicodeme FASSINOU HOTEGNI University of Cape Coast, Ghana : Prof. Kwame Agyei Frimpong University of Swaziland , Eswatini: Prof. Absalom Manyatsi University of Rwanda, Rwanda : Prof. Antoine Karangwa Institut National D’enseignement Supérieur Pour L’agriculture, L’alimentation Et L’environnement, France:                                                                                           : Christophe Lesueur Senior advisor : Prof Enoch Achigan-Dako  

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