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February mission EENSAT Project Coordinator to Ethiopian Partners

To conduct a program with various partners and covering different domains, like sustainable strengthening of higher education and TVET capacity, establishing a coherent research program involving PhD and MSc research as well as various outreach activities, requires careful planning. In February a two week mission was conducted by the University of Twente, Faculty of Geo-information and Earth Observantion (ITC) project coordinator to the 3 Ethiopian partner universities.

The overall objective of the mission was to further plan and coordinate activities within the overall duration of the project. For this purpose each of the universities was visited, as well as to the Ministry of Education. During the meetings at the Universities discussions have taken place with the EENSAT project management teams established, discussions with the potential PhD candidates on their “sandwich” PhD trajectory and application procedure, discussions with the Vice Deans for Academic Affairs and Research / Community Services, discussions on overall project planning and pending financial and administrative issues, curriculum review process, governing board meetings, review procedures for clearance of computer equipment and review status of server and lecture rooms allocated to host the computer equipment purchased for the project.

Also affiliated TVETs have been visited in Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar and discussions took place between EENSAT project directors and Deans of the TVETs. Furthermore the Tana Sub-Basin Authority in Bahir Dar and the National Meteorological Agency in Addis Ababa have been visited as these are important stakeholders within the project and future ways of collaboration have been discussed. In Addis also the Ethiopian Education and Research Network (Ethernet) was visited as they are providing fast network access and other services relevant for education and research to public universities, TVETs and research institutions in Ethiopia.

By the end of the mission a number of issues and their way forward have been identified, like clearance of equipment and connectivity to the main University network, selection of PhDs, follow-up on the curriculum review process, assessment of TVET needs and overall project planning. It was observed that the EENSAT project has been well established within the partner universities through active participation of the members of the project management teams with overall support from the University Administration. Within each of the universities, next to the EENSAT project director, handling the day to day issues, other members are project coordinator, gender advisor, ICT advisor, community service and entrepreneurship advisors as well as various thematic domain experts.