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22 September 2019
It`s Happening Here

PLATFORM2013: The objective of the Nigerian-Canadian [NINCANVEG] project is to increase food security and economic empowerment of women farmers.

Obafemi Awolowo University’s PLATFORM 2013 article in PLATFORM2013  discusses how the importance of indigenous leafy vegetables to human nutrition has been realized in the present situation of economic meltdown, global food crisis and climate change.

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PLATFORM2013: Production, processing and marketing of Moringa Oleifera by rural women

University of Ibadan’s article in PLATFORM2013 outlines how the popular superfood moringa oleifera became part of a University of Ibadan value-chain research project in the field of agricultural extension and rural development. This has resulted in community uptake of production, processing and marketing skills, which has led to income generation and improved rural community well-being.

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PLATFORM2013: Cameroon’s Anti-malaria campaign

University of Yaoundé 1’s feature in PLATFORM2013 discusses how treatment policies for uncomplicated malaria in Cameroon have changed four times since 2004, and how, to reach the goal of universal malarial treatment coverage, policy changes must take into account evidence from field-based studies to win the battle against malaria.

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PLATFORM2013: The SIAD project at University of Buea seeks to improve food security and economic growth as a priority for fighting poverty

University of Buea’s article in PLATFORM2013 describes how the Sustainable Integrated Aquaculture Development [SIAD] project uses a farming system that integrates aquaculture and agriculture, and aims to contribute to improving broad-based agricultural productivity, competitiveness and markets for Cameroon’s rural poor, through the development of sustainable integrated aquaculture capacity.

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PLATFORM2013: Rotavirus Vaccine Introduction in Ghana

University of Ghana’s article in PLATFORM2013 outlines how over the last two decades the overall objective of their research into rotavirus treatment has been to provide a much-needed evidence-based data to the Ministries of Health and Finance, as well as to policy-makers, to support the recognition of rotavirus as a significant cause of diarrhoea in children in Ghana and Africa.

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PLATFORM2013: Flora of Ethiopia by University of Addis Ababa

University of Addis Ababa’s article in PLATFORM2013 features a research project that documents the wealth of local plant diversity in Ethiopia, providing evidence that has already positively impacted on policy decisions. Further mutually beneficial opportunities to link these research results with policy-makers have been identified.

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PLATFORM2013: The cost of overloading freight vehicles on Ghana’s transit corridors

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)’s article in PLATFORM2013 discusses how the opening of Ghana’s transport corridors to landlocked West African States has prompted a study of the economic impact of the overloading of freight vehicles.

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PLATFORM2013: The impact of water sector reforms and interventions in urban Kenya

University of Nairobi’s article in PLATFORM2013 briefly discusses how utilisation of research information from the WASRIP project will form the evidence base for policy development to address access to safe and affordable water, especially to the urban poor, in Western Kenya, Kisumu, Kisii and Homabay counties.

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PLATFORM2013: Inspirational sustainable island farming in Mauritius

University of Mauritius’ article in PLATFORM2013 outlines a project in Mauritius that focused on working closely with a community of onion farmers to implement environmentally friendly farming practices on sloping coastal land in a way that both supports the local eco-system, and increases crop yields and fish catch in the nearby lagoon.

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PLATFORM2013: An urgent rescue intervention is needed to save the Acacia Kirkii tree from extinction in Rwanda

NUR Vice RectorNUR Vice Rector

National University of Rwanda (Huye Campus’) article in PLATFORM2013 highlights the threat to the endangered Acacia Kirkii species, found only along the Muvumba River in the Eastern Province of Rwanda.

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PLATFORM2013: University of Rwanda College of Medicine and Health Sciences, studies Rwandan youth and substance use

University of Rwanda College of Medicine and Health Sciences (formerly Kigali Health Institute) article in PLATFORM2013 discusses a commissioned study involving stakeholders and beneficiaries that has contributed to the evidence-base needed to begin planning a policy-led campaign against drug abuse among Rwandan youth.

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PLATFORM2013: Moi University looks at E-Waste management as a permanent feature that needs to be managed in the digital age

Moi University’s article in PLATFORM2013 revolves around the vast amounts of e-waste accumulating in the Upper Nile Watershed States. This formative-stage research postulates that as e-waste as a permanent feature of the digital age, its management and regulation need to be factored into policy. 

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PLATFORM2013: Micro-propagating disease-free cocoyams by Kenyatta University

Kenyatta University’s article in PLATFORM2013 outlines how the micro-propagation of Kenyan cocoyam project has the potential to improve food security, nutrition and health for Africa’s rural poor. The intention is to achieve this through wider growth of healthier, more resilient Kenyan cocoyam crops.

Researcher: Dr Ruth Wanjau | Senior Lecturer | Department of Chemistry | Kenyatta University | Nairobi | Kenya.

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PLATFORM2013: Sleeping sickness diagnosis improved by University of Zambia

University of Zambia’s article in PLATFORM2013 discusses the re-emergence of sleeping sickness, a tsetse transmitted debilitating disease of humans and animals in Sub-Saharan Africa. Diagnosis of sleeping sickness in endemic regions remains unsatisfactory, but cost-effective Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification [LAMP] has the potential to accurately address this problem.

Researcher: Prof. Boniface Namanagala | Head of Department | Paraclinical Studies | University of Zambia | Lusaka.

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PLATFORM2013: TB/HIV Intervention Evaluation by the University of the Free State

The University of the Free State’s article in PLATFORM2013 describes the ‘Centre for Health Systems Research and Development’ (CHSR&D) public health evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of training and mentoring interventions to improve TB patients’ uptake of HIV testing in the Free State Province.

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PLATFORM2013: Nguni cattle enter the South African beef market: a project underscored by numerous development goals by University of Limpopo

University of Limpopo’s article in PLATFORM2013 gives us insight into cross breeding of Nguni cows with angus bulls as a means to increase the ouput of beef cattle in South Africa, highlighting the important role that indigenous livestock can play in Africa.

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PLATFORM2013: A water quality capacity intervention by the University of Fort Hare

University of Fort Hare’s article in PLATFORM2013 reveals the urgent need for intervention in the water sector in the Eastern Cape province to ameliorate the problem of a shortage of skilled specialists, especially in its impoverished communities.

Researcher: Prof. Al Okoh, Group Leader: Applied and Environmental Microbiology Research Group (AEMREG) and Head of Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology | University of Fort Hare | Alice | South Africa

(Portrait: Researcher Prof. Al Okoh)

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PLATFORM2013: Textile technologies for the empowerment of rural women in Zimbabwe by National University of Science and Technology

National University of Science and Technology’s (NUST) article in PLATFORM2013 discusses how gender inequalities continue to influence the dependence of women on men, and how textile technologies have been used to empower women to minimize this dependence through training and research.

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PLATFORM2013: Functional Foods by Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)

Prof L Vuyisa Mazwai-TangaProf L Vuyisa Mazwai-Tanga

Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s [CPUT] PLATFORM2013 article discusses the ingredients of a unique and affordable omega caro-e food supplement that have been scientifically proven to have specific health benefits in terms of health promotion and reducing the risks for diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and inflammatory diseases..


Prof. A J S Benade and Dr Maretha Opperman, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) | Cape Town | South Africa

[Photo: Prof L Vuyisa Mazwai-Tanga, Vice-Chancellor, CPUT]

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The PLATFORM2013 Research Uptake Conversation begins

PLATFORM2013 – a print and digital publication from the DRUSSA Universities in Sub-Saharan Africa [SSA] – is aimed at accessibly communicating evidence-based development research with the goal of deepening its reach and impact in the region. From Thursday 5 December 2013 to 16 January 2014* at 10.30am daily will feature a DRUSSA University article PLATFORM2013 as a conversation starter in the Research Uptake Conversation. 

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African research performance
During DRUSSA's 2013 short courses offered by CREST in early October in Johannesburg, Jean Baptiste Micomyiza of the Public Relations Office at the University of Rwanda, Huye Campus (formerly National University of Rwanda) interviewed CREST Director Prof Johann Mouton on the question of African research performance. Prof Mouton said while significant research was being done in Africa, it was also true that Africa’s overall share of world scientific production is only about 1.4 percent. Prof Mouton cited a number of reasons for Africa’s poor research performance, including a lack of funding, brain drain and conflict. 
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DRUSSA launches PLATFORM2013
The Development Research Uptake in Sub-Saharan Africa (DRUSSA) programme is taking the opportunity to officially launch PLATFORM2013 tomorrow at the Association of Commonwealth University’s Centenary Celebrations in London. This conference addresses higher education questions around the theme “Future forward: taking charge of change”, which is a good fit for the introduction of this groundbreaking regional publication.
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Benefits of Fort Hare Nguni Cattle Project to be felt for generations to come

In September last year, Prof Naftali Mollel wrote a blog for the DRUSSA website about the successes achieved in the Nguni Cattle Project at the University of Limpopo in South Africa. This project is, in fact, part of a larger one taking place in seven provinces, whereby a university in each of the provinces collaborates with the department of agriculture and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to work with emerging farmers to grow Nguni herds. 

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Research into policy: Kenya`s UPAL Policy

Urban and peri-urban farming is a fact of life in many developing countries. In Africa, you’d be hard pushed to name a single country where this is not the case. It is here to stay—and to be encouraged rather than eradicated—as more and more people migrate from rural to urban areas, food prices continue to escalate, salaries remain low and jobs are scarce. By 2010, for the first time in history, 52 percent of people globally were living in urban areas and the number keeps escalating. At least 800 million of them in developing countries practice urban and peri-urban agriculture and livestock rearing (UPAL).

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Uptake of drug abuse research: Rwanda`s success story

Research done into drug abuse among the youth of Rwanda has had significant impact in that country, not only changing its policy direction, but also giving rise to interventions by civil society and other stakeholders, ultimately leading to changes in behaviour at grassroots level. Many factors must have played a role in the success of the uptake of this research done last year and concluded earlier this year at the Kigali Health Institute, including the fact that the study was done in collaboration with the country’s ministry of youth, which one may assume indicates commitment on the part of the government. But the effective communication of the research findings to segmented audiences had to have played a major role in this success story.

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Effectively communicating research for maximum impact

The folders on the computers of African researchers and scientists are full of information that can benefit ordinary Africans and inform the work of policymakers, officials in national and local government, NGOs and CBOs, not to mention Regional Economic Communities like SADC, COMESA and ECOWAS. Yet, how much of this, often groundbreaking, research actually reaches those upon whom it can have an impact? Very little, says a study done for the UK National Commission for UNESCO in May this year.

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Economic benefits follow Research Uptake in SA`s Limpopo Province

by Prof Naftali Mollel

Despite impressive economic growth over the last 15 years, South Africa’s Limpopo Province is still characterised by high levels of unemployment and poverty. An innovative programme underpinned by research done at the Agricultural Research Council, Nguni Breeders’ Society and the University of Limpopo can help stimulate the economy by creating a substantial number of new jobs.

The Limpopo IDC Nguni Cattle Development Programme (download pdf) entails the production of beef through the entrepreneurial development of rural cattle farmers into beef producers across the whole beef production value chain.

An initiative of the Limpopo government in partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the University of Limpopo, the programme initiates rural farmers into the mainstream beef production industry by upgrading cattle in the rural areas by reintroducing indigenous Nguni bloodlines through the university. How it works in practice is that farmers are loaned 30 pregnant heifers and a bull and have to pay back the loan by providing the same number of heifers and a bull as progenies of the initial herd within a five-year period. Some farmers have been so successful that they have been able to pay back the loan within two-and-a-half years.

The partners formed the Limpopo IDC Nguni Cattle Development Trust as a vehicle for the implementation of the programme. Since 2006, when the pilot phase began, 44 successful projects have been established and there has been wide uptake of the programme in the province. The beef-production industry is volume based. To introduce rural farmers into the beef production industry and integrate them right through the beef-production value chain, the programme now has to be expanded. The massification of the programme will contribute to poverty reduction in the area by developing an integrated, differentiated and competitive beef-production industry.

A large number of communal cattle farmers have organised themselves into various cattle-farmer associations, which provide platforms for collective action in advancing common interests. These associations will in future be upgraded into cattle farmers' cooperatives. The cooperatives will be established in such a way as to enhance chances of success by eliminating the traditional weaknesses of cooperatives. In fact, a number of the successful cattle farmers' associations are already operating as cooperatives.

The massification project has three main stages, namely the backgrounding stage, the feedlot stage and the slaughtering stage. It is estimated that at least 5 500 direct jobs will be created at the primary production level. An additional 400 jobs are estimated to be created during the backgrounding and feedlot stages of the production process. These figures exclude jobs that will be created at the supporting industry levels in the value chain. The massification project will also create further opportunities in meat processing, turneries and distribution channels.

South Africa has seen an increase in demand for beef, creating a shortage estimated at 340 000 cattle a year. Communal farmers in Limpopo own more than 720 000 heads of cattle, but they’re mostly excluded in the beef production industry, largely as a result of substandard farming methods. The gap in the market is sufficiently large and provides opportunities.

The success of the pilot phase of the programme caught the attention of other roleplayers in the beef production value chain, including one of the country’s largest supermarket groups, which opens up further possibilities. Its ongoing success will be enhanced by the judicious selection of entrepreneurs.

A framework for monitoring and evaluation has been developed, with self-sustainability and outreach being the two main outcomes to determine the success of the programme. Financial success will be measured by the extent to which operating costs can be recovered, the value of resources preserved and grown, resources mobilised and reliance on subsidies minimised. Uptake will be measured by the spread of beneficiaries and size of assets. Cattle farmers and entrepreneurs in the beef-production value chain constitute the primary stakeholders. Other stakeholders are government, research institutions, financial institutions and institutions for collaboration.

By holding a common vision for the Nguni Cattle Development Programme in Limpopo, all the stakeholders contribute to developing social capital in the province.


Prof Naftali Mollel is the Director of the Rural Development and Innovation Hub and DRUSSA Leader at the University of Limpopo.

Keeping momentum in policy rollout is crucial

Innovative and visionary thinking combined with inspired leadership and mobilisation can go a long way in bringing relief to Africa’s poor. But is that enough?


Take the case of Ethiopia’s Southern Nations Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR), where poor hygiene and sanitation are the main causes of ill health. In 2003, the region’s Bureau of Health launched a community health strategy that aimed to educate households on hygiene and sanitation and promote the building of household latrines.

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