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Regional workshop in Niger for closure of capacity building projects

02-01-2023

In the first week of November, an important regional workshop was held in Niamey, Niger, within the framework of projects RESCOM and TMT+ CoP. More than twenty participants from the three Sahelian universities (UAM/Niger, USJPB/ Mali and UJKZ/ Burkina Faso) and the Dutch partners (MSM, CINOP and ECDPM) met in person for four intensive days of exchanges and activities.

After 2.5 years of intense work at the national and regional levels, partially online and partially in person, it was time for all the consortium partners to meet and reflect on the outcomes and the lessons learned, and eventually to discuss and elaborate ideas, needs and opportunities for future collaboration and work in the region.

Regional Platform for Policy Dialogue
The highlight of the week was a public conference held at the Gran Hotel du Niger on Wednesday 2nd of November, under the honourable presidency of the Minister of Higher Education and Research, Ph.D. Mamoudou Djibo, and of the Rector of UAM, Pr. MAMADOU Saïdou.

The conference constituted a Regional Platform for Policy Dialogue on the enhancement of national and regional support to community resilience. The platform involved the researchers and professors from the universities, academic authorities from the three countries, research institutes, regional organisations, NGOs and development agencies.

It was the occasion for the RESCOM consortium to present and disseminate the results of the regional research that was conducted over the last two years.

The research focuses on the impact and interconnection of climate change, insecurity and bad governance, and the resilience strategies adopted by local communities. It was developed with a common methodological approach and was then carried out in parallel in the three countries, focusing on regions close to the three-borders area that are afflicted by the same problems. Each university carried out the research at their national level, involving interdisciplinary teams with researchers from geography, sociology, political science and law. In addition, Dutch partner ECDPM conducted the same research with a focus on regional programs and approaches by regional and multilateral organisations.

At the event in Niamey the researchers presented the main findings of the research and collected relevant feedback and contributions by external stakeholders.

This feedback will be integrated in the regional synthesis report, which is expected to be finalized and published before the end of 2022 together with the regional policy study by ECDPM.

The audience appreciated the regional and the interdisciplinary approach to problems which are more and more interconnected and in a transnational dimension. The topics of climate change, security and governance remain a top priority for the Sahel region and the need for further research and dialogue, especially with policy makers, remain very relevant.

Closing the projects and future perspectives
The other three days of the regional workshop were hosted at the campus of Université Abdou Moumouni of Niamey and were dedicated to internal activities within the consortium. Meetings were held in a very positive and collaborative environment, giving space to animated debates and exchanges between the participants form three Sahelian countries and the partners from the Netherlands.
The participants shared a general satisfaction for the achievements of the RESCOM and TMT projects and for the activities carried out in person and online over the last 2.5 years. At the same time, all participants reported the interest, if not the need, to continue the efforts made at a national and regional level, in order to capitalize on the lessons learnt and to secure the outputs achieved.

The regional research project opened new areas and topics of interest and the need for further research, involving also other areas and disciplines, and remain very relevant for the universities as key actors in the creation and dissemination of knowledge.
The national and regional platforms, which were created as an informal network for the exchange of information and good practices, will also need a sustained effort to become a more formalised and relevant actor, which can effectively be an interlocutor of national and regional authorities in the formulation of new policies and programmes.

In the same way, the universities will need to continue the efforts made for the launch of the cliniques juridiques within their institutions and the organization of caravanes juridiques around the countries. These innovative models have been a great success with both beneficiary communities and organisations in the sector and have great potential for becoming a reference structure in the training and coordination of all actors involved in legal assistance to vulnerable communities.

Institutional relations
The event in Niamey was also the occasion for MSM to cultivate the institutional relationships in the country and exchange with partners about the needs and opportunities for further work in the region. With a small delegation of the RESCOM consortium, MSM paid a visit to the Ministry of Higher Education and Research of Niger, exchanging with the Minister and with the General Director of Higher Education on the main perspectives and needs of academic institutions in Mali.

MSM also visited the Dutch Embassy in Niamey, exchanging with the Deputy Head of Mission about the priorities for Dutch cooperation in the country.

Finally, MSM’s project coordinator Stefano Locatelli also had the honour to chair the official inauguration of the new video conferencing hall at the University Abdou Moumouni, built with  contributions of the OKP project. The RESCOM consortium symbolically handed over the keys of the new facility to the Rector of UAM, in front of many academic authorities, teachers and students.

In this occasion, MSM and the UAM management renovated their willingness to continue a fruitful collaboration also in the years ahead.

Orange Knowledge Programme
These projects are part of the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) which is funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Nuffic. For more information click here.

MSM's Expert Centre on Emerging Economies

This institutional collaboration project is part of MSM's Expert Centre on Emerging Economies. The department is an expert centre on local economic development in emerging and developing markets.‚Äč We capacitate managers and professionals from government, private sector, NGOs, and post-secondary education in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America. We offer consultancy and customized training programs, and we manage complex projects in key sectors, e.g. water, agriculture and health. For more information click here.

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