Scientific exchange deepened

Scientific exchange with colleagues from other countries and other scientific disciplines is an important element of their work for scientists at the University of Burundi.

The three scientists who took part in the Hidden Hunger Congress at the University of Hohenheim in March at the invitation of the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ) agree on this. We spoke to Professor Dr. Aloys Misago, Professor Pascal Nkurunziza and Professor Dr. Sanctus Niragira from the University of Burundi in Bujumbura.

How was the exchange with your international scientific colleagues at the Hidden Hunger Congress?

The exchange with international researchers during the congress initially opened horizons by presenting different points of view on a topic of global importance such as the double burden of malnutrition. Through the exchange and contributions we were able to discover the richness of the theoretical and empirical frameworks of various authors. The Congress made clear to us the impact of the double burden of malnutrition and the various research opportunities and policy strategies to reduce this burden. At the congress we were able to find out from our other colleagues about hunger and poverty in their respective regions and the status of scientific research in this area on various continents. We were impressed by the high quality of contributions from researchers and participants in the field of food security.

A very interesting aspect is that the international researchers present at the congress are open to collaboration with Burundian universities and researchers. This international collaboration remains essential to enable partnerships and networking of our universities and academics around the world and to ensure access, transfer and adaptation of knowledge within and outside Burundi.

The University of Burundi is particularly interested in the mobility of lecturers and doctoral students. The mobility of researchers and teachers, as well as administrative and technical staff, could help improve cooperation between education departments and research centers. The mobility of the students enables them to take part in an international university course and thus train young talent for the University of Burundi. The prerequisite for such collaboration is contact between the researchers and the interest that both sides find in this collaboration.

We were particularly pleased about the exchange with colleagues from Hawassa University and the University of Kenya. This meeting paved the way for South-South cooperation, particularly in the area of ​​food security.

What personal suggestions did you take away for yourself and your work??

As we explore agriculture and food security, we will deepen the selection of crops to optimize the nutrient-dense products needed by the body. We will also continue research on edible insects.

The congress opened up new research opportunities for us in our empirical studies! A master's student in rural development and agricultural economics was entrusted with a research topic on the role of food markets in relation to food security in East Africa. At the end of the congress we realized that the fight against malnutrition, hunger and poverty is not only a question of material means, but also requires a change in mentality. Therefore, cross-sectional research is required that includes both agricultural sciences and social sciences.

At the level of cooperation, the Hidden Hunger Congress suggests that it is possible to unite the efforts of the North with those of the South in order to develop common strategies in the fight against hunger, but in particular in promoting a balanced diet. The fight against hunger is not only about increasing food production in quality and quantity, but also a question of good governance and good management of all natural resources available on earth.

The cooperation with Baden-Württemberg through the SEZ will be very useful in establishing a partnership within the framework of the East African Nutritional Sciences Institute (EANSI), which will start in Bujumbura in July 2019 with the support of the African Development Bank. This partnership can cover different areas: teaching support, curriculum development, material and financial support, as well as scientific mobility and exchange of experiences between researchers.

Finally, the congress will influence the scientific events of the coming months at the University of Burundi. The Week of Partnership between Universities, Public and Private Institutions, from May 22 to 24, 2019, will explore themes related to food security in order to encourage the various partners to invest more in the agricultural sector and thus contribute to improving nutrition.

The Conference on Partnership for Development on August 29, 2019 also highlighted food security as an important step for integral economic development. Finally, on World Food Day on October 16, 2019, the University of Burundi will join the international scientific community by organizing a symposium.

What topic do you want to focus more on after the congress?

Some of the topics we will cover after the congress include “Sensitive Nutrition Agriculture” and the social aspects of malnutrition. We will continue to conduct research on the impact of regional integration through trade with the EAC, the East African Community, on food security in Burundi. The cultural causes of malnutrition will also be deepened and the close connection between extreme poverty and malnutrition will continue to be researched.


Mine. Your. One World. 2021

01. September to 31. October 2021

The nationwide initiative My. Your. One World. of the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ) will take place from September 1st to October 31st, 2021.

The SEZ will announce details on participation and the registration process on its website by the end of April 2021 at the latest.

My initiative. Your. One World. (MDEW) is taking place for the ninth time this year. The municipal initiative, which takes place every two years, aims to raise awareness of global issues, encourage responsible action in everyday life and strengthen local networks. Mine exists in its current form. Your. One World. since 2006. In 2019, 32 municipalities took part in the project with a total of almost 400 events.

Further information about MDEW can be found here here.

You can find the press kit for MDEW 2019 here.


Mine. Your. One World. 2019

Mine. Your. One World., the municipal initiative of the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ) will take place in 2019 from September 1st to October 31st. The registration deadline for participation ends on August 26, 2019.

The aim of the project, which is carried out in cooperation with Engagement Global's Municipalities in One World service point, is to encourage citizens of Baden-Württemberg's municipalities to act independently in everyday life and to strengthen local networks. Cities, municipalities, districts, associations committed to development policy, schools, kindergartens, adult education centers, church communities, migrant self-organizations, youth or senior centers, libraries, museums, leisure facilities, local businesses and companies, to name just a few, can take part. The registration deadline for participation ends on August 26, 2019.

The beginnings of the My Initiative. Your. A world goes back to the 1990s, as Astrid Saalbach reports. She is responsible for the project at the SEZ. “From the beginning, the foundation has supported One World Days in Baden-Württemberg, which were spread throughout the year. Then the idea came up that we could raise more awareness of the issues by doing a concerted effort and that's how the project came about. As many places as possible should participate within a limited period of time.”

My initiative. Your. One World. takes place every two years. In 2017, 29 cities and municipalities as well as one district took part with around 360 events. Further information can be found here.


34th Burundi meeting: Diaspora as bridge builders

The 34th Burundi meeting of the Burundi Competence Center of the Baden-Württemberg Development Cooperation Foundation (SEZ) was under the theme “Diaspora – Expertise, Experience, Commitment”.

Both the host countries and the countries of origin benefit from the services provided by the members of the diaspora, said Astère Hatungimana from the Burundian Diaspora Association. “They contribute to the transfer of knowledge in both countries.” With a view to Baden-Württemberg’s partnership with Burundi, he expressed the expectation that the association will be involved as a bridge in the future. “We want to create a platform for Burundian and German companies so that they can network better and exchange ideas better. We expect the partnership to help us with our integration here in Germany or to provide us with know-how when we return to Burundi.”

Amin Hasanein from Islamic Relief Germany discussed the involvement of the diaspora in the country of origin. He highlighted the commitment of the Syrian diaspora in their homeland to help the victims of the civil war. According to Hasanein, the diaspora has cultural competence and contacts, which is an advantage in aid situations. The disadvantage is that, for example, there are no standards for work and in some cases there is little expertise among the members of the diaspora. But “it’s worth qualifying a diaspora association.”

Jeannot Ekobe from the Center for Transnational Migration examined the topic of diaspora from a social science perspective and spoke of a “problematic” term, which he criticized. According to his argument, it leads to a shift in the balance of power in development policy. And for members of the diaspora living in Germany, it means that they have to “justify their presence in Germany or their membership in German society in some way on a daily basis.”

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