SEARCA and Agreenium collaboration for Institutional Development Assistance (IDA)
SEARCA, in partnership with the French Institute for Agricultural, Forestry, and Veterinary Sciences (Agreenium), a public institute, which aims to develop and implement joint education and research strategies to meet the challenges of food security and sustainable development, conducted a workshop to develop a collaborative project for Institutional Development Assistance (IDA) on 2-4 November 2016 at the Umali Auditorium, SEARCA Headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines.
In pursuit of the common mandate to build capacities of individuals and institutions to address food security and sustainable development, SEARCA and Agreenium agreed to explore possible collaborative efforts to provide institutional assistance to SEARCA's identified IDA partner universities through the workshop.
Seven representatives from Agreenium, headed by Dr. Christian Hoste, Director of International Relations, and eleven representatives from SEARCA's IDA partner universities, namely, the Savannakhet University (SKU) in Lao PDR, Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) in Cambodia, Yezin Agricultural University (YAU) in Myanmar, and the National University of Timor Lorosa'e (UNTL) in Timor Leste, joined the SEARCA representatives in the workshop.
In his welcome remarks, Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., SEARCA Director, expressed gratitude to all the participants who joined the worthwhile undertaking and articulated that this effort would be an attempt to bring together the interests and needs of the participating entities. Ultimately, the aim of the IDA is to contribute to the development of Southeast Asia and to help the plight of the majority of people in the region who depend on agriculture for their livelihood and sustenance.
The two-day workshop aimed to identify the specific area where IDA would be focused in each university, the gaps in the university's capacities along this area and formulate strategies to address these gaps. Dr. Daylinda B. Cabanilla, former Professor of the UPLB's Department of Social Forestry and Forest Governance, served as overall facilitator of the workshop.
Dr. Maria Cristeta N. Cuaresma, Program Head for Graduate Education and Institutional Development (GEID), summarized the workshop results into a plan to deliver IDA in four general areas: (1) upgrade the capacity of teaching staff, (2) develop a culture of research, (3) update curricular programs and improve quality of graduates, and (4) strengthen governance or university administration system. The workshop concluded, with SEARCA and Agreenium committing to further collaboration and find sources of funding for delivery of IDA to the partner universities. (Jarah N. De Guzman)