Aims and Objectives
In line with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, this project views a lever of social and economic development for rural areas and, consequently, a means of reducing the number of people seeking to leave the countryside or their countries due to the lack of attractive prospects. Therefore, the main aim of this project is to support the Egyptian rural-community with the necessary qualified graduates and university expertise to improve agricultural productivity, enable more sustainable food production, develop the poor villages, enhance farmers’ income and their living conditions to prevent migration to cities or beyond. The developed capacity building program is to achieve this aim taking into consideration the good natural resource management, adaptation to climate change, food and nutritional security for the people, and promoting the resilience of agricultural and fishing communities to crises (whether related to the market, prices or health or due to natural disasters, conflicts, etc.). In this regard, in Egypt, agriculture and rural regions clearly remain a source of resilience for many families in the face of economic shocks.
To identify the push factors for migration from rural communities, needed skills in the Egyptian organisations, and market to contribute directly or indirectly to rural-development especially in the agriculture and food production sectors.
Modification and reorientation of the existing post- and undergraduate curricula to supply the market with graduates who contribute to the implementation of the country’s sustainable development vision and ensure the sustainable rural development. This will include introducing new concepts such as triple-performing agriculture – at the economic, environmental and social levels.
Establishing four DeVilage Service Offices at the four Egyptian universities to provide technical support for the farmers and public and private sectors. These offices will provide info sessions and support needed for stakeholders dealing with agriculture in old and new lands in Egypt.
To develop a capacity building programme to train and equip the professors in the Egyptian universities with the knowledge and tools to address the different dimensions of sustainable agriculture and rural development in the modified curricula.
To develop Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as Open Education Resources (OER) for spreading the knowledge and raising the awareness of different stakeholders (students, politicians, academicians and wider society). The MOOCs will be high quality materials that are copyright free and publically available.
These five objectives will ensure graduating new generation of professionals who are aware of the root causes of migration, sustainable agriculture and rural development. Joining public and private sector, these graduates can change the face of the poor villages, enhance the living standard of farmers and steer migration. In addition, the capacity building program and DeVilag Offices will provide an enormous support to all the stakeholders dealing with agriculture in the country to achieve these objectives.
Activities and Methodology
The methodology is designed to achieve the five objectives of DeVilag through five work packages. Below the followed methodology is described per objective including activities proposed per package, major milestones, leadership and involved teams and measurable qualitative and quantitative indicators:
The capacity and qualifications required in different sectors to deal with migration, sustainable rural-development and agriculture in Egypt will be identified with focus on university graduates (Objective 1). AUC with its three Centers for Migration, Social Research and Sustainable Development will be leading this WP. The Ministry of Agriculture will facilitate accessing poor villages and public bodies. The private sector will be also involved through ISIS company. The other EG universities will be involved in the needs assessment to geographically cover more locations. The EU partners especially SLU with its experience in rural-development, agriculture and socioeconomic fields will support in developing the data-acquisition model and the approach to deal with the rural-community. Data will be collected through different techniques (e.g. questionnaires, interviews, documentations). The milestones include design of the data-acquisition model, data collection, data analysis and reporting. The expected outputs are identification of “push factors” for migration, lacking qualifications of university graduates, and potential services that universities can offer to rural-communities. Examples for measurable indicators are number of the identified “push factors”, quality of describing the market needs and feasibility of expected services of universities.
The objective is to modify and re-orient existing graduate and undergraduate programs in the four Egyptian universities to provide the market with qualified graduates who can contribute to achieving sustainable rural-development and agriculture and preventing migration. The targeted university programs will be reviewed based on the real needs in rural-areas and expected qualifications (results of Objective 1). UNIC will be leading this work package because of its experience in curriculum development and pedagogical approaches. The EG universities will assess existing courses and compare their learning objectives to the real- on the ground needs (results of WP1). Workshops involving EG and EU professors will be organized to discuss “how the Egyptian universities can meet real needs by modifying courses and developing new ones?” The EU partners will provide latest scientific developments. The milestones include conceptual approach, EU-EG curriculum workshops, modifications and new courses, and modified university programs. Examples for indicators are relevance of the new courses to meet real-world problems, quality and quantity of the new materials and local accreditation.
In order to offer services and technical support to the rural-community and stakeholders involved in agriculture and rural development, each Egyptian university will establish an office for this purpose (DeVilag Office). The mandate of the four offices will be decided based on the needs identified in WP1 including the services that each university can offer. Knowledge sharing and long-term cooperation between all the consortium members through a knowledge-sharing platform are part of the plan. Fayoum University, will lead this package because its tied relations with the rural-communities and other stakeholders. The milestones of this package will include a conceptual structure and mandate of the four offices, the management and technical teams involved, infrastructure needed, and annual wok-pan. The measurable indicators include, the quality of the developed concept, the quality of the teams involved, and the number/type of services offered by the four offices.
Capacity development program is to be developed and carried out for the EG university professors. This will be the responsibility of the EU partners led by SLU because of its experience in TOT and most of the subjects to be covered. Each EU University will host a training in Europe to allow the Egyptian trainees to be exposed to the EU technologies and teaching style. The main aim of the capacity building program is to enable the Egyptian colleagues to teach the newly developed undergraduate and postgraduate materials (objective 2) and gain needed knowledge to offer services to the communities (objective 3).The main milestones in this package are; a) assessing needed skills, b) developing training materials, c) training workshops in Germany, Cyprus and Sweden. The measurable indicators could be; quality of developed training materials, trainees’ knowledge (before/after), and number of direct and indirect trained professors.
To spread the impact of DeVilag, Open Education Resources such as Massive Open Online Courses (OER MOOCs) will be developed for selected topics. The MOOCS will address topics in the modified undergraduate and graduate programs (Objective 2) such as migration, sustainable development, and interdisciplinary resources management. RWTH with its blended learning team will be responsible to lead this package. RWTH has all the necessary facilities that can be used to support the Egyptians to establish their own infrastructure. Egyptian partners will also receive hands-on training to develop their own MOOCs. The main milestones will be; selecting the contents, designing the MOOCs, developing the video materials, and sharing the materials with students and other stakeholders. Examples for measureable performance indicators are number and quality of developed MOOCs, number of Egyptians able to develop their MOOCs, infrastructure enhancement in Egypt, as well as number and feedback of the users.
The quality control activities are integrated in the framework of all the work-packages as will be described in section X. In addition to these five work-packages, four other work-packages are devoted to ensure the project sustainability, dissemination, quality control and management. Further details of the methodology and approach are described in part H.