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WP1 - Needs Assessment and Analysis
As it was described earlier, the project aims to prevent migration by enhancing sustainable development. For this we need of course to now, which are the reasons for the rural population in Egypt to migrate to the big cities, or to Europe. These reasons can be divided into two groups, which are called “push” (for example low income or bad working conditions) and “pull” (for example higher income) factors. This Work Package 1, also called “Needs Assessment and Analysis” the American University of Cairo took the lead.
In the beginning, we had to make thoughts about the targeted outcomes of this WP and how to achieve them. For that we developed a so called “Data Collection Framework” in which we determined the target groups, we want to include in the Needs Assessment like (non)contractual farmers of all genders, agriculture start-ups or agricultural companies and how get the information we need. Following that, we had to determine the way of collection for each of the target groups, the “Data Collection Tools”. For example, it would not we very effective to send questionnaires via e-mail to farmers in rural areas and expect high response rates. Otherwise expecting a high ranked manager of an agricultural company to be available for a personal interview would not be feasible as well.
The next step is the implementation of the “Tools” we developed before, meaning that teams were send out to rural areas to interview farmers and digital questionnaires were send to other suitable target groups.
Lastly, the interview notes written in Arabic were translated into English and all gathered information from the data collection was summarized and recommended action for the four participating Egyptian Universities were developed.
WP2 - Curriculum Development
The core of the whole project is the development of new study programmes or the update of already existing programmes to educate the experts of tomorrow in a good way so that they can solve future problems. These tasks are summarized within Work Package 2 “Curriculum Development” and is coordinated by the University of Nicosia. As written in WP1, the reasons for migration need to be determined and according to that the single courses of the programmes have to be chosen.
Overall, it is planned to work on four programmes, 1 each per University. To avoid doing already finished work twice, the first step is to find out which courses and which material of already existing programmes can be used and/or built on to create the new programmes. After that the exact structure of the programmes will be determined and having this, the courses that should be included will be selected form the previous created group of useful courses/material. To support this task, there will be a workshop hosted by the WP leader in Cyprus. In this workshop, guidelines on the development of the courses will be set like the creation of learning objectives, the share of practical parts of the programmes and the level of cooperation between the four universities. As a result of the Workshop, the four universities will develop their programmes under advisory of the WP leader until piloting of the programmes in autumn 2020.
WP3 - DeVilag Service Offices
To unburden the future graduates of the developed programmes mentioned before, the project aims to introduce the so called “DeVilag Service Offices” (DSO), each one per University. These DSOs will not only offer case specific support for farmers, agri-entrepreneurs or agriculture companies, but will also host dissemination events to rise awareness of the problems that have to be faced in future.
To unify everyone’s understanding of the mission of the DSOs, a business model should be developed in first place and the team who is going to work in and coordinate the offices has to be appointed. Since the four DSOs should help and support each other as good as possible, there also will be a cooperation agreement between them. Of course, these offices also need furniture and space, to establish the offices themselves. Since neither buying furniture nor paying rents from EU Grants is allowed, these two groups summarized under the term “infrastructure” has to be determined and provided from other sources, preferably the universities their selves. Lastly task description and a time plan which activities, the DSOs will carry out will be developed. The latter, of course will be regularly updated and expanded in reasonable periods.
WP4 - Capacity Building
As part of the „Capacity Building in Higher Education” branch of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, there is of course an own dedicated Work Package for capacity building in DeVilag. In WP4, there will be five Training carried by the European Universities according to their expertise. The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) will take the lead of this Work Package.
Before being able to hold trainings, a lot of other tasks have to be done in advance. To avoid teaching already well-known subjects to the local lecturers, an assessment of the knowledge-gaps has to be performed in first place of course. To do this as accurate as possible, the considerable target group has to be determined as all as the right questions to evaluate the target groups knowledge. After the assessment has been done the trainees have to be selected. Of course, it is a good opportunity to travel to Europe for training purposes and due to that, the number of applicants is high. To guarantee a fair selection, a set of criteria has to be developed like language & communication skills, commitment to forward the knowledge in Egypt after the trainings and base knowledge of the subjects of the trainings. After this has been done it is on the European Universities to plan and prepare the trainings. Out of the five trainings, SLU and UNIC both will hold two each and RWTH Aachen will hold one training. This imbalance comes from the commitment of RWTH Aachen to perform another training within WP6. The focusses of the training will lay on Migration, Agriculture and Rural Development for SLU, Socioeconomic Factor of Rural Development for UNIC and Resources Management and Water-Energy-Food Nexus for RWTH Aachen, respectively.
WP5 - Pilot Implementation and Infrastucture
Work Package to is made up of two main tasks. The first is to ensure, that for all the developed study programmes, there is sufficient infrastructure available to run them without any problem. Infrastructure in this case means equipment for lab or field courses like pH-Meters, pipettes or greenhouse components. Under this infrastructure, also the equipment needed for the DSOs described in WP3 and for the MOOC production in WP6. The second task is the pilot implementation of the developed programmes. This is a very important step so that we can see how they work out under real conditions and needs to and can be improved. To get information about the quality, there will be feedback questionnaire developed for both students and lecturer to fill out after the first semester.
WP6 - Developing MOOCs as OERs
Since we do not want to limit the outreach of our capacity building measure to physical attendance-based knowledge transfer it is WP6’s goal to develop Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as Open Education Resources (OER). Each of the four universities should create one MOOC in relation to their study programme developed in WP2. As mentioned in WP5, adequate Equipment for this is needed to both generate video content as well as maintenance the MOOC itself and the Learning content Management System (LMS) the MOOC should be shared with. After the equipment has been bought, there will be a MOOC training, with will be carried out by RWTH Aachen. In this training, both lecturers and IT-staff should be taught how to plan and development a MOOC in addition to the creating of learning material and different didactical approaches. After this the MOOC-production starts under the advisory of RWTH Aachen. In the last semester of DeVilag, the MOOC will be piloted just like the whole study programmes to get feedback on them if there is potential for improvements.
WP7 - Quality Control
Every project needs Quality Control, which is the task of Work Package 7. Quality control means to ensure, that all produced official documents like reports, attendance lists or any other physic outcome fulfil a certain standard. This begins with the use of a standardized template for documents or presentations and the correct use of the logo of both the EU and the project. Within Quality Control, there is also a guideline developed with includes qualitative (like holding a conference for performing a pilot implementation of the programmes developed) and quantitative (like number of students enrolled for the programmes) indicators of success. This guideline also acts as benchmark for all the partners to compare if the outcomes their achieved each in their Work Package fit to the expectations of the project.
WP8 - Dissemination and Exploitation
The eighth Work Package deals with the Dissemination of the project. As the title is already self-explaining, awareness on the progress should be risen as much as possible. This is mainly based on three pillars:
First, there is the internet presence via an own project website on the one hand and different social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter in the other hand. The website should mainly inform the publicity on the partners, contents and outcomes of the project, while the social media channels should keep it up to date with current developments in the project.
Secondly, there will be different kinds of physical events and also webinars to inform both academics and industrials on the projects newest development and also advertise the benefits each of the groups can achieve. A special sort event will be the two DeVilag conferences which are planned to be hold in the second half of the project.
Lastly, there is the publicity material, which could also be named as promotional items. These could be for example stickers, posters/banners, notepads, pens or mugs.
WP9 - Management
Every project either if is trans-continental or within a small group of people need Management of some sort. This Work Package is coordinated by RWTH Aachen as the grant applicant. Still, every other participating organisation takes part in the Management Board to make all important decisions. As WP leader, RWTH also manages the preparation of report of each outcome when necessary and the mid term and final reporting to the EU. They also act as voice to ask the EACEA for advice if needed or to get feedback on proposed changes of the project’s implementation. The management also includes contractual negotiation especially in the beginning and also months before the official start of the projects as well as the financial bookkeeping and transferring of the Budget to the partners.