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Strengthening Rural Transformation Competences of Higher Education and Research Institutions in the Amhara Region, Ethiopia

The TRANSACT project is a joint initiative of two Ethiopian universities, one agricultural research organizations, one Austrian funded rural development program and one Austrian university. The main objective of the project is to strengthen the transformation competences of the Ethiopian consortium partners in research and training. Such transformation competences demand institutional capacities that translate into new partnerships and learning alliances allowing higher education and research to become more effective development partner and community service providers in North Gondar.

This is important, because in North Gondar there is untapped potential for social, economic and technical transformation that would gradually improves lives and livelihoods of farmers. These include technical improvements in agricultural and natural resource management, the realisation of new income opportunities, and thus the transformation from rural worlds with farmers living in poverty and social injustice to a rural society experiencing equality and prosperity. The realisation of this potential requires public and private actors to join forces with rural communities.

The TRANSACT projects helps universities to respond more effectively to transformation opportunities among farmers in complex and risk-prone rural areas. A particular emphasis of this project is placed on learning and human behaviour as well as communication and collective action, especially in connection with society interactions that mediate change. This puts capabilities to coach farmers during transformation processes into the foreground. Hence, through this project much more effective linkages between research, higher education and extension will be realized.