Danida Alumni Activity Grants in the time of COVID-19

Danida Alumni Network Ghana
Spaces on a Danida alumni-organised geophysics field school at the University of Ghana were in high demand. The initiative was completed well before the COVID-19 pandemic spread to Ghana. Photo: Shutterbug

The coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic delays upcoming activities and disbursements under the latest round of Danida Alumni Activity Grants. However, counterbalancing this unfortunate news, most grantees under the previous round of funding have luckily managed to complete their alumni activities as planned ahead of the outbreak spreading to their countries.

By Nina Vlemmings

A total of 19 submissions from 12 countries were received in response to Danida Fellowship Centre’s fifth call for proposals for Danida Alumni Activity Grants, and over half of these have so far either received full or conditional approval from DFC’s Selection Committee. This makes it set to be the most wide-reaching call and grant round since this funding opportunity was first launched at the end of 2017.

However,  to avoid the risk of alumni activities and gatherings contributing to the spread of the virus, and thereby potentially undermining any COVID-19 measures that have been put in place, Danida Fellowship Centre will be delaying the start dates and disbursements under this latest grant round until 1st June at the very earliest.

We are nonetheless still working with the relevant applicants to ensure that all necessary information is prepared and approved well ahead of time, and we look forward to sharing further details concerning the approved activities in the DAN Facebook and LinkedIn groups in due course.

Alumni activities in Ghana and Tanzania offer inspiration

In the meantime, we are pleased to report that eight out of the ten initiatives that were approved for funding under the previous and fourth round of Danida Alumni Activity Grants have been completed ahead of the pandemic taking a foothold in their countries, whilst two have had to be postponed until after the COVID-19 situation has stabilised.

Be inspired by the latest alumni activities in Ghana and Tanzania.

Danida alumni in Ghana help young geophysicists bridge the gap between theory and practice.

Partly inspired by conversations with their Danish research partners, Danida alumni at the University of Ghana organised the 3-day field school “Praxis, translating theory into practice for effective training of geologists and environmentalists”. It was the first of its kind, and with demand significantly outstripping the spaces available, there appears to be much appetite for this type of hands-on training amongst young Ghanaian geophysicists.

Danida Alumni Network Ghana
The practical hands-on approach to the geophysics field school was highly valued by the participants. Photo: Shutterbug

The 34 participating practitioners and students highly valued the opportunity to complement their extensive theoretical knowledge with its practical application. Sessions were focused on data collection, processing and analysis using specialised equipment.

The event was delivered by a team of Danida alumni in partnership with the Department of Earth Science, University of Ghana and the Water Research Institute – Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

A cross-sector effort to strengthen alumni’s understanding of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Tanzania

The DANIDA Alumni Network in Tanzania organized a one-day workshop dedicated to enhancing its members’ understanding of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and their implementation in Tanzania.

This event is a great example of cross-sector collaboration and knowledge sharing, convening 30 participants from across industries and disciplines to not only share experience and expertise in relation to tackling the SDGs, but also to jointly explore the common challenges and ambitions of the 2030 agenda.

Danida Alumni Network TZ
Participants of the alumni workshop on the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Tanzania. Photo: Danida Alumni Network Tanzania

Speakers and facilitators represented government agencies, academia, the private sector and not-for-profit organisations and spoke to a range of the SDGs in the context of Tanzania – coverings topics such as inclusive education, sustainable cities, the use of green resources for pharmaceuticals and healthcare and community forests.

With over half of participants stating that they had limited knowledge of the SDGs ahead of the workshop, the event helped strengthen participants’ understanding of the 2030 agenda in the Tanzanian context and motivated a call for more awareness-raising to be done on this important subject.

Partners and speakers included the Bliga Groups, Buni Innovation Hub, UN Association of Tanzania, Alarma Art and Media Production, Tanzania Forestry Research Institute and the Sokoine University of Agriculture.

Through training in postharvest management Danida alumni contribute to sustaining food  supplies for rural Tanzanian schools

A team of alumni in Tanzania organized an initiative in the Konda District of Dodoma region as part of a larger effort to minimize losses from post-grain harvesting. Specifically, the ambition of this project was to improve the safety and quantity of food made available to school children through an emphasis on postharvest management.

Danida Alumni Network Tanzania
Participants in the week-long training of trainers on postharvest management. Photo: Victor Jape

A key component of the initiative was a weeklong training of trainers workshop, delivered by Danida alumni specialists and a representative from the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture. The trainees were a group made up of five teachers and nine students from a total of five schools in the area, along with 22 government extension workers. The workshop included a combination of theoretical and practical sessions on topics such as storage, transportation, packaging and use of pesticides.

The training of trainers was complemented by a larger awareness-raising event for approx. 650 attendees with speeches and practical hands on sessions to demonstrate good postharvest grain management practices for students.

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