Running a project requires continuous coordination and communication to ensure an equal and strong collaboration. Personal meetings are very important for that, particularly for cross-country projects. After the Kick-Off meeting of the WoodCluster project in Ethiopia in February this year, we invited the project partners in August to Tharandt for a first status workshop. Two representatives from each partner institution in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as one from our German partner, the Rhine-Waal University, came for presenting and discussing activities on the two project lines: research and teaching.
Since the last meeting, several MSc and PhD students already conducted first research trips to the study sites. Based on that, a first review was done regarding the selection of the research sites, followed by the planning of further student research topics.
Main point of the agenda was the structure and implementation of the planned postgraduate teaching module. This module shall be integrated in the forestry related master programs in all participating universities: Hawassa University (Ethiopia), Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania), Makerere University (Uganda). The jointly elaborated module on wood-based bio-energy shall enable students to design and apply scientific methods and tools from farm diagnostics, to value chains and cluster. 60% of the syllabus is jointly elaborated, 40% are country specific, elaborated by the project country teams. Theoretical knowledge gained in one semester’s time shall be applied in a following summer school for practical exercise. As the structure and regulations in all universities differs, it needs transparent discussions and a planning to enable an implementation in all universities.
The linkage of the teaching and research parts of the project shall lead to synergies: Student’s MSc and PhD research provides inputs for the country specific teaching content. The study sites where the research is conducted shall parallel serves as socio-economic field laboratories for the practical exercise of the teaching module
At the end of two productive workshop days, a list of contents for the teaching module and a roadmap for the coming year was elaborated.
The workshop was finalized, with an excursion to the national park of the Bohemian Switzerland in Czech Republic. The highlight was the hike to the Pravčice Gate, a fascinating rock formation, surrounded by forests. It was a good physical and social activity for the cross-country project team.
By Maxi Domke (WoodCluster Project Coordinator)