C-CoDE Press Release

For immediate release 9th July 2021

AAU and EPFL launch the Centers of Competence in Digital Education Initiative

Accra, Ghana, 9th July 2021 – The Association of African Universities under the Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence for Development Impact (ACE Impact) Project in collaboration with the EPFL – École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland) have launched the Centers of Competence in Digital Education (C-CoDE) Initiative. The AAU as the regional facilitating unit of the ACE Impact Project is using a portion of its World Bank regional International Development Association (IDA) grant to fund the activities of this initiative. EPFL, a World Class University of Technology in Switzerland, is also a leader in digital education.

Six (6) ACE Impact host Universities will be competitively selected and supported to strengthen themselves and establish Centers of Competence in Digital Education on their campuses to promote the sustainable integration of digital education in the teaching processes, as a means of strengthening the quality of teaching as well as the competencies of graduates. The pilot initiative will provide the participating institutions with the necessary training and coaching to transform their educational curricula by integrating modern digital education methods. Each selected University will commit some funding from their ACE Impact project (s) towards acquisition of the necessary equipment and venue to house their C-CoDE. 30 faculty, 3 pedagogy engineers and 2 technical specialists will be trained in each Center by the end of the project. The pilot will be implemented from September 2021 to July 2022.

Selected Centers will contribute to the design, production and dissemination of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Open Educational Resources (OER). The broader goal is for the selected Centers to eventually serve other African institutions using a training-the-trainers model, within the broader ACE Impact project portfolio and beyond – across the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region.

Note to Editors

For further information, kindly contact Dr Sylvia Mkandawire via smkandawire@aau.org and copy Mr Yann Kerloch yann.kerloch@epfl.ch

Background information

The Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence (ACE) Project is a World Bank initiative in collaboration with governments of participating countries to support Higher Education institutions in specializing in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Agriculture, and Health. The Project aims to promote regional specialization among participating universities in areas that address specific common regional development challenges. It also strengthens the capacities of these universities to deliver high quality training and applied research as well as meet the demand for skills required for Africa’s development. Based on the initial successes, the World Bank and the French Development Agency (AFD) in collaboration with the African governments, launched the ACE Impact Project in 2018 to strengthen post-graduate training and applied research in existing fields and support new fields that are essential for Africa’s economic growth. There are 43 ACEs (25 new ones and 18 from ACE l); 5 Emerging Centers;l “top up” center in Social Risk Management; and 5 Colleges and Schools of Engineering.

About the Association of African Universities (AAU)

The Association of African Universities is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization created by African Universities to promote cooperation among them on the one hand, and between them and the international academic community on the other. Created in 1967, the AAU is the voice of higher education in Africa. AAU aims to improve the quality of African higher education, and to strengthen its contribution to Africa’s development by supporting the core functions of higher education institutions and facilitating critical reflection and consensus building on issues affecting higher education in Africa. The AAU is the Regional Facilitation Unit of the Africa Centres of Excellence project.

About the World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is a multilateral development institution that works to reduce poverty. Its subsidiary IDA (International Development Association) finances the Africa Centres of Excellence series of projects. Established in 1960, IDA helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.

About the French Development Agency

For more than 75 years, the French Development Agency (AFD) has been fighting global poverty by supporting policies and investments that benefit the poorest populations. Strengthening the social link between individuals, groups and territories is now at the heart of its actions in education, health, employment, urban planning, climate or biodiversity. For AFD, balanced development requires a real reduction in inequalities.

About EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne)

About EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne). EPFL is Europe’s most cosmopolitan technical university with students, professors, and staff from over 120 nations. Founded in 1853, the École Spéciale de Lausanne was renamed École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne in 1969. EPFL is a research-intensive institution specializing in Science, Technology and Engineering with a strong focus on Life Science and Digital Sciences. It is one of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, and it has three main missions: education, research and technology transfer. EPFL is a bilingual Technological University (French-English) located on the shores of Lake of Geneva in Lausanne (Switzerland). EPFL works together with an extensive network of partners including other universities and institutes of technology, secondary schools and colleges, industry and economy, political circles and the general public, to bring about real impact for society.

Leveraging blockchain to create learning and employment pathways for African Youth: Regional Digital Skills Project launches Recruitment Dashboard

A new and impactful online platform has launched to equip young African students with a repository to digitally house their credentials whilst directly connecting them to potential employers. The recruitment dashboard piloted under the Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) Digital Skills Pilot Initiative provides a single platform for students/graduates and companies to match more efficiently, addressing the challenges of university- to-work transitions and improving recruitment practices in Africa.

 

A first of its kind in Africa, this collaboration between the World Bank, the German Development Cooperation represented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and Digital Skills Accelerator Africa (DSAA) merges public and private sector engagement in a unique way, addressing Africa’s most pertinent issues, youth skills mismatch and youth unemployment. Through the ACE projects, the World Bank is providing funding to African universities to train their future workforce, whilst GIZ and DSAA connect international and African companies to training and hiring talented African students.

 

The recruitment dashboard is being piloted in two ACE universities, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana and Moi University in Kenya, with just under 200 undergraduate engineering and computer science students who have collectively completed more than 110 courses, receiving a total of 9,500 blockchain certificates through the platform. It allows students and recent graduates to create personalised profiles and upload their credentials online, that are fully accessible to multiple employers, thus significantly cutting down recruitment time and costs. IBM and FutureLearn provide access to over 150 free accredited courses to help students bridge the identified digital skills gap.

 

Allowing for a seamless connection to recruiters, the dashboard provides a single space for companies to search and directly email potential recruits. “We have partnered with VerifyEd, a UK-based company, on this innovative platform to give recruiters easy access to a large pool of qualified and skilled potential workforce, whilst increasing student’s online visibility, giving them a competitive advantage”, says Halil Dundar, Practice Manager, Education Global Practice at the World Bank. This investment has a great potential and supports Africa’s jobs and economic transformation agenda”.

 

In the context of Invest for Jobs of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ mobilises international and African companies through DSAA initiative. DSAA is an independent organisation focused on training highly skilled digital workforce talent in Africa, creating business opportunities for companies and individuals. Two member companies of DSAA, AmaliTech and getINNOtized, each with 300 vacancies in the 2021 calendar year, are participating in the recruitment dashboard pilot, providing a wide array of core digital skills- related job opportunities (both in-person and remote work) for the students.

 

We believe the ACE Recruitment Dashboard will augment our recruitment strategies to target graduates with IT, Computer Science, and Engineering backgrounds to join our AmaliTech Training Academy. This will enrich our pool of graduate recruits for free professional IT/digital skills training for employment pathways in the tech ecosystem.” Richard Botchway, AmaliTech’s HR Specialist (Diversity & Inclusion) says.

 

The platforms filter functionality has been popular amongst recruiters. For Gideon Sackey, Dean of Students, getINNOtized: “Identifying the right candidate for the right job is always a hurdle for recruiters. This process is made simpler and efficient by the platform. The filtering features on the platform enable us to filter by skill, certifications, etc, saving time in our candidate selection process”.

A new and impactful online platform has launched to equip young African students with a repository to digitally house their credentials whilst directly connecting them to potential employers. The recruitment dashboard piloted under the Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) Digital Skills Pilot Initiative provides a single platform for students/graduates and companies to match more efficiently, addressing the challenges of university- to-work transitions and improving recruitment practices in Africa. A first of its kind in Africa, this collaboration between the World Bank, the German Development Cooperation represented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and Digital Skills Accelerator Africa (DSAA) merges public and private sector engagement in a unique way, addressing Africa’s most pertinent issues, youth skills mismatch and youth unemployment. Through the ACE projects, the World Bank is providing funding to African universities to train their future workforce, whilst GIZ and DSAA connect international and African companies to training and hiring talented African students. The recruitment dashboard is being piloted in two ACE universities, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana and Moi University in Kenya, with just under 200 undergraduate engineering and computer science students who have collectively completed more than 110 courses, receiving a total of 9,500 blockchain certificates through the platform. It allows students and recent graduates to create personalised profiles and upload their credentials online, that are fully accessible to multiple employers, thus significantly cutting down recruitment time and costs. IBM and FutureLearn provide access to over 150 free accredited courses to help students bridge the identified digital skills gap. Allowing for a seamless connection to recruiters, the dashboard provides a single space for companies to search and directly email potential recruits. “We have partnered with VerifyEd, a UK-based company, on this innovative platform to give recruiters easy access to a large pool of qualified and skilled potential workforce, whilst increasing student’s online visibility, giving them a competitive advantage”, says Halil Dundar, Practice Manager, Education Global Practice at the World Bank. “This investment has a great potential and supports Africa’s jobs and economic transformation agenda”. In the context of Invest for Jobs of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ mobilises international and African companies through DSAA initiative. DSAA is an independent organisation focused on training highly skilled digital workforce talent in Africa, creating business opportunities for companies and individuals. Two member companies of DSAA, AmaliTech and getINNOtized, each with 300 vacancies in the 2021 calendar year, are participating in the recruitment dashboard pilot, providing a wide array of core digital skills- related job opportunities (both in-person and remote work) for the students. “We believe the ACE Recruitment Dashboard will augment our recruitment strategies to target graduates with IT, Computer Science, and Engineering backgrounds to join our AmaliTech Training Academy. This will enrich our pool of graduate recruits for free professional IT/digital skills training for employment pathways in the tech ecosystem.” Richard Botchway, AmaliTech’s HR Specialist (Diversity & Inclusion) says. The platforms filter functionality has been popular amongst recruiters. For Gideon Sackey, Dean of Students, getINNOtized: “Identifying the right candidate for the right job is always a hurdle for recruiters. This process is made simpler and efficient by the platform. The filtering features on the platform enable us to filter by skill, certifications, etc, saving time in our candidate selection process”. Jerry Kponyo, the Dean of Faculty at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, one of the pilot universities, sees great potential and success of the recruitment dashboard: “Where recruiters are able to have access to such critical information [verified credentials], the students seeking employment would not have to struggle to communicate what they are capable of. The displayed certifications are self-advertising.” The World Bank, GIZ, DSAA and the various partners hope this initiative opens the doors for innovative use of blockchain technology in education on the continent; promotes a strong culture of micro-credentialing; creates an ecosystem promoting job opportunities for the African youth, as well as continued private and public collaboration. The results of the pilot are highly anticipated and will be key to the evolution of blockchain technology for the development of the African continent. About Invest for Jobs DSAA is supported by German Development Cooperation in the context of Invest for Jobs. Under the Invest for Jobs brand, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has put together a package of measures to support German, European and African companies in investment activities that have a high impact on employment in Africa. The Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation – the official title – offers comprehensive advice, contacts and financial support to overcome investment barriers. The development objective is to team up with companies to create good jobs and apprenticeships in the partner countries, of which there are currently eight, and to preserve them during the Covid-19 pandemic. Further information is available at www.invest-for-jobs.com About Africa Centers of Excellence Program The Africa Centers of Excellence (ACE) program is a series of regional higher education projects that aim to improve education, training and applied research at the post-graduate level in key priority fields, including science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), agriculture, health, industry and related fields. The World Bank is supporting the overall ACE Digital Skills Pilot Initiative (launched in 2020) through a trust fund, the Korea-World Bank Partnership Facility. Further information is available at www.ace.aau.org

Jerry Kponyo, the Dean of Faculty at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, one of the pilot universities, sees great potential and success of the recruitment dashboard: “Where recruiters are able to have access to such critical information [verified credentials], the students seeking employment would not have to struggle to communicate what they are capable of. The displayed certifications are self-advertising.”

 

The World Bank, GIZ, DSAA and the various partners hope this initiative opens the doors for innovative use of blockchain technology in education on the continent; promotes a strong culture of micro-credentialing; creates an ecosystem promoting job opportunities for the African youth, as well as continued private and public collaboration. The results of the pilot are highly anticipated and will be key to the evolution of blockchain technology for the development of the African continent.

 

About Invest for Jobs

DSAA is supported by German Development Cooperation in the context of Invest for Jobs. Under the Invest for Jobs brand, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has put together a package of measures to support German, European and African companies in investment activities that have a high impact on employment in Africa. The Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation – the official title – offers comprehensive advice, contacts and financial support to overcome investment barriers. The development objective is to team up with companies to create good jobs and apprenticeships in the partner countries, of which there are currently eight, and to preserve them during the Covid-19 pandemic. Further information is available at www.invest-for-jobs.com  

 

About Africa Centers of Excellence Program

The Africa Centers of Excellence (ACE) program is a series of regional higher education projects that aim to improve education, training and applied research at the post-graduate level in key priority fields, including science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), agriculture, health, industry and related fields. The World Bank is supporting the overall ACE Digital Skills Pilot Initiative (launched in 2020) through a trust fund, the Korea-World Bank Partnership Facility. Further information is available at www.ace.aau.org

Call for Proposals for the Unit of Competence in Digital Education (U-CoDE) Initiative

Objectives and Action Plan

The Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence for Development Impact (ACE Impact) Projects in collaboration with the EPFL – École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland) are launching the Call for Proposals for the Center of Competence in Digital Education (C-CoDE) Initiative (Deadline for submission of proposals 25 June 2021). This Pilot initiative aims to promote the sustainable integration of digital education in the teaching process in selected ACE Impact host universities, as a means to strengthen the quality of teaching as well as the competencies of graduates.

The participating institutions will be provided with the necessary training and coaching to transform their educational curricula by integrating modern digital education methods. As a Pilot, the initiative will launch in six (6) ACE Impact host institutions in 2021. The key element at each institution will be the creation and the development of a C-CoDE (see the attached Powerpoint for further details on the initiative).

By encouraging the use of innovative digital technologies in educational practices, the aim is to strengthen the techno-pedagogical skills of lecturers and to train them in the production of digital content and its use in university courses.

The initiative will proceed in two steps, to:

  1. Enable the participating university to acquire the necessary skills, infrastructure, capacity and quality standards to operate a C-CoDE serving the institution. Such a Center will contribute to the design, production and dissemination of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Open Educational Resources (OER). The faculty of the institution will also be trained in the integration of ICT-enabled teaching methods.
  2. Extend the Center’s sphere of activity to serve other African institutions (using a training-the-trainers model), for example within the broader ACE Impact project portfolio and beyond – across the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region.

AAU, as the regional facilitation unit, through its grant under ACE Impact is bearing the delivery, coaching and out-of pocket costs of the experts providing the training to the more than 200 participants from the 6 ACE Impact host institutions for the entire pilot period. EPFL, through its Center of Excellence in Africa (EXAF), is providing the content and training methodology.

For this initiative to have long-term institutional impact and to be transformative, the institutions participating in the Pilot, will commit to:

  • Deploy digital education capabilities in its institution (a C-CoDE) and integrate the use of the resources produced by the C-CoDE in their educational programmes
  • Encourage the pooling and sharing of digital educational resources – at the institution, within the ACE Impact project portfolio, and across the SSA region and beyond
  • Boost the development of new teaching practices by motivating and supporting the lecturers engaged in this initiative, at first within the participating institution and then more broadly.
  • The following additional conditions:
  • Appoint a C-CoDE Project Leader, an Academic Coordinator and a Technical Coordinator (see the Local Coordination Team template for a description of the profile of each of these appointees)
  • Appoint 1 Techno-pedagogical Engineer to serve as the point of reference for digital education projects
  • Appoint 2 Technicians – one specialized in multimedia acquisition and post-production, and one specialized in IT and LMS
  • Nominate 3 Techno-pedagogical Specialists – faculty members who will receive extensive training as part of the initiative and will support subsequent training activities on campus
  • Nominate 30 faculty members who will participate in the training and appoint 3 of them who will be trained to coach their peers (15% of their time)
  • Building space to install the C-CoDE (min. 100m2)
  • Financial investment of approximately $100,000 to cover travel; accommodation; multimedia and IT equipment; refurbishment and adaptation of premises to install the C-CoDE

Please note that beyond a strong commitment from the university management and a strong technical proposal, preference will be given to universities that prioritize female and junior faculty members when nominating the 30 faculty members to be trained. The performance of the related Centers within the ACE Impact Project will also be highly considered.

 

Podcast on Leveraging Blockchain in Education: The Africa Centers of Excellence Projects

World Bank Education Specialist Ekua Bentil speaks about leveraging blockchain in higher education, specifically within the Africa Centers of Excellence Projects, with project partners Yaz El Hakim (VerifyEd), Saleh Iliyasu Maitala (IBM), and Jerry Kponyo (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology-KNUST).

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/leveraging-blockchain-in-education-africa-centers-excellence/id1523333192?i=1000518359091  OR

https://anchor.fm/world-bank-edutech/episodes/Leveraging-Blockchain-in-Education-the-Africa-Centers-of-Excellence-Project-evglva/a-a1pvrl

 

https://twitter.com/wbedutech/status/1386723892517957634

Press Release – 5th ACE Impact Regional Workshop to hold virtually from May 24th -28th, 2021

For immediate release

PRESS RELEASE

Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence for Development Impact (ACE Impact) Project ensures sustainable growth and competitiveness by improving the quality, quantity and access of postgraduate education

5th ACE Impact Regional Workshop to hold virtually from May 24th -28th, 2021

Accra, Ghana (May 5th, 2021) – The Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence for Development Impact (ACE Impact) will be organizing its 5th biannual Regional Workshop from May 24th – 28th, 2021. Fifty-three (53) Centres of Excellence and key stakeholders, including government representatives from participating countries, Vice Chancellors, representatives from the higher education sector, the private sector, policy think tanks, and partners such as the World Bank, the French Development Agency and the Association of African Universities are expected to participate in this meeting.

As an engine for producing quality postgraduate training and applied research to ensure inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa, the ACE Impact project is convening its stakeholders to review activities and progress made towards achieving its overarching goal – improving the quality, quantity, and development impact of postgraduate education in Africa.

The meeting will also afford the Centers of Excellence the opportunity to share experiences, build networks, and forge partnerships to ensure the successful implementation and sustainability of the project.

Broadly, the workshop’s programme will feature:
1. Overall progress registered in the implementation of ACE Impact and key priority areas.
2. Highlights on the digital education network project, which seeks to exploit the advances in digital technologies for education towards the transformation of teaching practices for the benefit of students.
3. Inter ACE Impact networking initiatives.
4. ACE Impact project’s engagement with the Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET), an initiative launched by African governments (with facilitation by the World Bank).
5. Parallel sessions on monitoring and evaluation, financial management, procurement and safeguards, as well as a special session for Vice-Chancellors whose institutions are involved in the project.
6. Learning and research outputs presentations by students undertaking innovative and transformational research at ACE Impact Centers.

The meeting will also focus on the key next steps for each country, institution, and center in implementing the project plans, and provide guidance to the centers to better meet the requirement and targets for disbursement, fiduciary, and safeguards.

The ACE impact project invites all key stakeholders to actively participate in this workshop and support the project, as it remains committed to pursuing its broad target of strengthening postgraduate training and applied research for Africa’s economic transformation.

– END –

Note to Editors
For further information, kindly contact Mrs. Felicia Kuagbedzi via email fnkrumah@aau.org

Background information:
The Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence (ACE) Project is a World Bank initiative in collaboration with governments of participating countries to support Higher Education institutions in specializing in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Agriculture, and Health. It is the first World Bank project aimed at the capacity building of higher education institutions in Africa. The first phase (ACE I) was launched in 2014 with 22 Centres of Excellence in Nine (9) West and Central African countries; Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo. The Project aims to promote regional specialization among participating universities in areas that address specific common regional development challenges. It also aims to strengthen the capacities of these universities to deliver high quality training and applied research as well as meet the demand for skills required for Africa’s development. The second phase (ACE II) was launched in East and Southern Africa with 24 centers across Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Based on the initial successes, the World Bank and the French Development Agency (AFD) in collaboration with the African governments, launched the ACE Impact Project in 2018 to strengthen post-graduate training and applied research in existing fields and support new fields that are essential for Africa’s economic growth. There are 43 ACEs (25 new ones and 18 from ACE I); 5 Emerging Centers;1 “top up” center in Social Risk Management; and 5 Colleges and
Schools of Engineering. The new areas include sustainable cities; sustainable power and energy; social sciences and education; transport; population health and policy; herbal medicine development and regulatory sciences; public health; applied informatics and communication; and pastoral production.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE ORGANISERS
• About the Association of African Universities (AAU). The Association of African Universities is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization created by African Universities to promote cooperation among them on the one hand, and between them and the international academic community on the other. Created in 1967, the AAU is the voice of higher education in Africa. AAU aims to improve the quality of African higher education, and to strengthen its contribution to Africa’s development by supporting the core functions of higher education institutions and facilitating critical reflection and consensus building on issues affecting higher education in Africa. The AAU is the Regional Facilitation Unit of the Africa Centres of Excellence project.

• About the World Bank Group. The World Bank Group is a multilateral development institution that works to reduce poverty. Its subsidiary IDA (International Development Association) finances the Africa Centres of Excellence series of projects. Established in 1960, IDA helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.

• About the French Development Agency. For more than 75 years, the French Development Agency (AFD) has been fighting global poverty by supporting policies and investments that benefit the poorest populations. Strengthening the social link between individuals, groups and territories is now at the heart of its actions in education, health, employment, urban planning, climate or biodiversity. For AFD, balanced development requires a real reduction in inequalities.

REQUEST FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST CONSULTING SERVICES – FIRMS SELECTION

Country:                    Ghana

Name of Project:       Second Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence for Development Impact Project (2nd ACE Impact)

Grant No.:                  D5330

Assignment Title:     External Evaluation of the Development Impact of the Africa Centres of Excellence Impact Project 

Reference No.:           GH-AAU-GHANA-229175-CS-QCBS

 

The Association of African Universities has received financing from the World Bank toward the cost of the Second Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence for Development Impact Project (2nd ACE Impact Project) and intends to apply part of the proceeds for consulting services.

 

The consulting services (“the Services”) include an independent external evaluation of the extent to which the ACEs have contributed towards development Impact as per the agreed indicators. Secondly the evaluation will make an overall independent assessment about the past performance of the project, paying particular attention to the impact of the project activities against its objectives. Finally, the consultancy will identify key lessons and propose practical recommendations for follow-up actions.

 

The assignment will be undertaken for a maximum period of four (4) months effective the time of signing the contract until the submission of the final report. The services are expected to commence in May 2021.

 

The detailed Terms of Reference (TOR) for the assignment are attached to this request for expressions of interest. Click here to download it.

 

The Association of African Universities now invites eligible consulting firms (“Consultants”) to indicate their interest in providing the Services. Interested Consultants should provide information demonstrating that they have the required qualifications and relevant experience to perform the Services.

 

The shortlisting criteria are:

  1. Demonstrated experience in conducting evaluations of higher education projects that span across various countries.
  2. Broad experience with universities, international and regional research, and development projects in Africa will be a requirement.
  3. Demonstrated practical field level support for regional / international organizations in Africa on the development and use of monitoring and reporting tools.
  4. Experience in and knowledge of capacity development and higher education in Africa
  5. Demonstrated and internationally recognized consultancy service delivery.
  6. Full working knowledge of English and of French languages.

Key Experts will not be evaluated at the shortlisting stage.

 

The attention of interested Consultants is drawn to Section III, paragraphs, 3.14, 3.16, and 3.17 of the World Bank’s “Procurement Regulations for IPF Borrowers” July 2016, revised in November 2017, and in August 2018 (“Procurement Regulations”), setting forth the World Bank’s policy on conflict of interest.

 

In addition, please refer to the following specific information on conflict of interest related to this assignment: The attention of interested Consultants is drawn to Section III, paragraphs, 3.14, 3.16, and 3.17 of the World Bank’s “Procurement Regulations for IPF Borrowers” July 2016 and revised in November 2017, and August 2018 (“Procurement Regulations”), setting forth the World Bank’s policy on conflict of interest available on this link http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/178331533065871195/Procurement-Regulations.pdf

 

Consultants may associate with other firms to enhance their qualifications but should indicate clearly whether the association is in the form of a joint venture and/or a sub-consultancy. In the case of a joint venture, all the partners in the joint venture shall be jointly and severally liable for the entire contract, if selected.

 

A Consultant will be selected in accordance with the Consultant’s Qualification-based Selection method set out in the Procurement Regulations.

 

Further information can be obtained at the address below during office hours i.e., 0900 to 1700 hours GMT.

 

Expressions of interest must be delivered in a written form to the address below (in person mail or by e-mail) by 1700 hours GMT on 07 May 2021 and specifically mentioning Consultancy Services for the External Evaluation of the Development Impact of the Africa Centres of Excellence Impact Project for the attention of:

 

Sylvia Mkandawire (Dr.)

 Program Manager, ACE Impact

Association of African Universities

African Universities House, Trinity Avenue, East Legon, Accra, Ghana

P. O. Box AN 5744, Accra-North, Ghana

smkandawire@aau.org     

https://ace.aau.org/  |  https://www.aau.org /

 

Innovative research produces patented breakthrough product improving the economic status of women in Burkina Faso

Innovative research produces patented breakthrough product improving the economic status of women in Burkina Faso

Safiatou TRAORE, a national of Burkina Faso, is enrolled for her PhD studies at the Center for Training, Research and Expertise in Medicine Sciences (CFOREM) hosted by Joseph KI-ZERBO University.  She is currently in her 1st year of doctoral study in ‘Development of Phytomedicines’ and expects to graduate in 2023. She specifically chose to study with CEFOREM because of the high-quality teaching methods and the personal inspiration and guidance from Professor Rasmané SEMDE, who gave her the zeal and courage to not give up after successfully completing her Master’s. She appreciates the fact that she could balance her family life with her research work and studies.

 

Ms TRAORE PhD research is a continuation of her research at Masters level. Her research title is “research and development of creams based on honey, shea butter and Burkinabè plant extracts for the treatment of burns”. She indicated that in Burkina Faso, 13.7% of children under the age of 5 are admitted in hospitals for burns (2015). The local treatment of burns is currently based on expensive imported products which are financially inaccessible to the majority of the population.

Safiatou aims to develop a stable honey-shea-butter cream for the local treatment of burns to help support those most vulnerable who cannot afford to purchased imported burn treatment creams. The two raw materials are proven to have healing properties and most importantly, are locally produced, readily available, and at a low cost. “This research will not only produce an affordable local treatment for burns, but will also create new outlets and commercial opportunities for the honey and shea butter producers, who are mainly women’s associations in Burkina Faso.”

 

The patent of this innovative and problem-solving research product has been registered with the African Intellectual Property Organization, an intellectual property organization headquartered in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The shea-butter-honey cream is already on high demand by Burkinabè clinicians and pediatric surgeons. The Joseph KI-ZERBO University incubation office has invested in this product, including it within their framework as a university start up business. A business plan has been developed for its commercial exploitation and expansion.

 

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) defines a patent as “a set of exclusive rights granted by law to applicants for inventions that are new, non-obvious and commercially applicable”. Patents are important because they allow holders to commercially exploit their inventions on an exclusive basis. The global patent system is intended to inspire innovation by giving creators time-limited exclusive legal rights, thus assisting them to appropriate the returns from their innovation.

 

In the short term Ms TRAORE wishes to participate in the valorization of local Burkinabe natural resources. Medium to long term, she hopes to become a seasoned academic, continuing to share and pass on knowledge and experience to build the next generation of female scientists. Safiatou’s academic journey has made her a strong believer in developing research capabilities of Africa. “There is no need to aim to only enroll in PhD programs in western universities.” Many women find it challenging to leave their families for studies – thus eventually not pursuing PhDs. Ms TRAORE advises that opportunities do exist in Burkina Faso for quality doctoral training and research programs. As a special plea to women, she states “sometimes family conditions hold back the ambitions of women to pursue their doctorate studies. Through centers in Africa like CEFOREM, which create conducive conditions for their female candidates – it is now possible for female scientists to enroll for their PhDs.”

 

Safiatou tells us that “studying at CEFOREM has proved to be rewarding because of the availability of the supervision team, the accessibility of reagents and consumables, the excellent support provided to each student and the presence of foreign students that allows exchange of experiences.” The ACE for development impact centers are demonstrating that through student-led research it is possible to foster creativity and innovation for economic growth and development in Africa.

Expanding opportunities for young African female scientists to reimagine their dreams

Expanding opportunities for young African female scientists to reimagine their dreams

Jessica Nnenna Uwanibe is one of many young female scientists enrolled in a PHD/Master’s program at one of the ACE Impact II centers. Jessica is scheduled to complete her PhD studies in Molecular Biology and Genomics at the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) hosted by Redeemer’s University in Nigeria. Her research work is focused on identifying and comprehending drug resistant patterns of Salmonella species in South West Nigeria, research she hopes will help treat thousands of people, reduce suffering, and save lives. Salmonella are types of bacteria that can cause diarrheal illness in humans, typhoid fever, gastroenteritis and other related illnesses. “This research will work to inform the proper diagnosis of Salmonella related diseases and suggest improved monitoring policies in Nigeria.”

 

As a young and upcoming African Scientist, Miss Uwanibe has always wanted to solve global health challenges through her research. Her career goal is to achieve this by enrolling for a Postdoctoral fellowship to focus on translational infectious diseases research. She aspires to lead large research projects to unravel the mechanisms by which pathogens cause diseases and develop novel therapeutics and vaccines to fight them.

 

Jessica chose to study her PhD at the Redeemer’s University African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases as she found the field of Molecular Biology and Genomics to be “new, exciting, and innovative.” She tells us how science and engineering centered subjects always had low female participation rates and she wanted to see this change, inspiring the next generation of young women. “ACEGIDs vision really resonates with my own personal vision for using science and research to improve everyday people’s lives.”

 

As a PhD fellow at ACEGID, Jessica says the aspect she enjoyed the most was being exposed to innovative research and cutting edge molecular tools. This access afforded her the ability to serve Nigeria during this time of crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been “such a life changing opportunity and experience.” She is looking forward to her graduation in September 2021 after four years of intense, but fulfilling research.

 

Knowledge and resource sharing are at the core of all ACE Impact centers. Miss Uwanibe has benefited from the expertise of her mentors whilst participating as a member of the ACEGID team involved in the pioneering and innovative COVID19 research, led by Professor Christian Happi. “I am so proud to be part of the first team in Africa to successfully sequence the genome of SARS-CoV-2 and share it with the international science community.”

 

ACEGID has proceeded to identify 10 distinct lineages of SARS-CoV-2 in circulation within Nigeria through genome sequencing and this work has been helpful in steering Nigeria’s public health response. The experiences of being part of the ACEGID team handling the COVID-19 diagnosis and sequencing have given Miss Uwanibe the confidence to reimagine what is possible in the field of health research in Africa moving forward.

 

Miss Uwanibe’s advice to young people and particularly young women aspiring to do their PhDs is that they must “persevere, be patient, tenacious and be mentally prepared.” Jessica is just one example of the high-quality postgraduate students being trained under the Africa Centers of Excellence for Development Impact Project. The project is positively improving the quality, quantity, and development impact of postgraduate education in sub-Saharan Africa by supporting regional specialization in thematic areas that address regional challenges.

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