Published on 17 Jun, 2021

Closing of the SEAD project

Blog Featured Image - Closing of the SEAD project

The SEAD project is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs through Nuffic’s Netherlands Initiative for Capacity Development in Higher Education (NICHE) programme, and implemented through a partnership between the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Mott MacDonald in a consortium with SNV, Delphy, Maastricht School of Management, Q-Point, Stellenbosch University, Delft University of Technology and Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences.

The SEAD project is closing end of June 2021 after five years contributing to achieve sustainable food security in Rwanda by  bringing together higher learning  and TVET institutions, the public sector, farmers, cooperatives and private sector to develop more practice-orientated, demand-driven education and research in order to improve food security and agricultural livelihoods for the benefit of the people and the national economy.

Among many others, SEAD focused mainly on demand-led curriculum development, entrepreneurship, and incubation, applied research, outreach services, student mentoring, career guidance and Gender and inclusiveness.

SEAD introduced an effective curriculum development model and associated procedures based on the DACUM model. Which shows that graduates will be well-equipped with the relevant skills and knowledge they need to find meaningful work in existing and emerging roles within the agricultural sector, making the most of technology and new ways of working to  boost agricultural productivity, food security and the economy. Also, staff from higher learning and TVET institutions were trained to better understand how to manage curriculum review and development processes.

More than 10,000 farmers from these cooperatives benefited from the trainings facilitated by the SEAD project. In partnership with partner institutions, SEAD developed training materials, approved & validated by the authorities, in Kinyarwanda, that were distributed to farmers, extension officers, lecturers and private sector.

The project also supported higher learning and TVET institutions to embed entrepreneurship and incubation more firmly into their offer for students, and in how they themselves run.

SEAD strengthened the research and innovation capacities of the institutions by allowing cross institutional teams to propose research topics, addressing relevant topics in the selected value chains. Research teams got support from experts in the SEAD consortium to design their research, carry it out (with funding of the project), write up their research findings and present them during a relevant event. This was categorised under the RICD SEAD Fund.

SEAD supported Education Institutions to reach out to farmers, cooperatives, and agribusinesses to address the constraints that limit the quantity and quality of their production and their competitiveness. By focusing on selected agricultural value chains (poultry, potato, dairy and horticulture).

Staff at higher learning and TVET institutions are now equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to deliver relevant and meaningful career guidance and counselling services to students.

SEAD availed 3000$ fund which helped student Ministries for the advancement of gender & inclusiveness within higher learning and TVET institutions.

SEAD also strengthened the competencies of stakeholders providing them with tools and techniques to address challenges in the education and agricultural sector in relation to gender equality and social inclusion, vulnerable groups and persons with disability, by providing tools and skills to promote equal and inclusive access to resources and benefits in both education and agricultural sector more specifically to gender focal points, students ministries, legal, planning and M&E officers, district and sector agronomist and veterinarians.

The project Invested €2.5 million into the establishment of the Service Trainings and Innovation Centres (STICs), the mechanism for partnerships to continue to flourish and where research, outreach and education can work together to respond to community and market needs.

With all the above-mentioned achievements, SEAD is coming to an end and it made a huge impact as testified by many beneficiaries.

‘’Through the SEAD Project I have benefited a lot, and this helped me not only advance my career but also to improve my daily responsibilities (teaching, research and innovation, and community outreach activities). The three interventions which include research and innovation, curriculum review/ development and outreach activities tackled all areas of my career and linked my workplace with other partners who contributed to the training process. The SEAD project has elaborated a strong collaboration between my college (RP/IPRC Huye) with other RP colleges, University of Rwanda, private universities, private sector, and the farmers. The partnership established between these actors resulted to the availability of different tools such as updated curricula, training manuals, and publication which helps farmers to increase their productivity and undoubtedly the trainers improved the training delivery. In addition, the Service Trainings, and Innovation Centres (STICs) which are under establishment process and initiated by SEAD Project also discovered the possibility of partnership which can be established between higher learning institutions and private partners towards a viable business. My appreciations to the entire team of SEAD Project, who together with us managed to put a vibrant milestone to strengthening the agriculture sector without leaving behind any actor of the sector’’. Twizerimana Gervais, Head of Agricultural Engineering Department at IPRC HUYE

‘’I was trained by SEAD in their Management and leadership class, this was my opportunity to discover my potential in leadership and management which now I am using in my daily performance. I learnt then that facing challenges is not a failure but assists me to think differently. I can now identify my weaknesses which then I work to improve. Ingabire Clementine, Director of quality assurance at IPRC KIGALI 

“Imbaraga farmers organizations cannot really appreciate the SEAD project enough, farmers were trained on so many topics such as soil preparations, disease identification and pest control, good agriculture practices, farming as a business, income calculation, etc. farmers are now applying what they learnt and tapped into the potential of their yields, minimised post-harvest losses and increased the quality of what they offer as improved livelihoods and increased income’’. Munzuyarwo Denis, Executive Secretary of Imbaraga Farmers Organization in Northern province

Lack of skills and knowledge in poultry farming was the biggest challenge, SEAD trained poultry farmers, helped them to connect with higher learning institutions, now lecturers have a larger view on poultry farmers in Rwanda, farmers also benefited a lot. The project also gave us a platform to network, share experiences and access to information’’. Ruzibiza jean claude, Owner of Rwanda best farm and former Chairman of Rwanda poultry association

‘’The capacity building programs provided by SEAD in the areas of cyclical leadership and management, management of curriculum development and review; and career information, advice and guidance were impeccable. I want to believe that all those who were trained through the SEAD Project are now better versions of themselves and through the  application of management principles and approaches such as the plan-do-check-act cycle, M&E practices, delegation among others has enhanced organizational performance. I take this opportunity to extend my sincerest thanks to the SEAD project. The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you and that means SEAD Project has given us a lifelong treasure that will help to address the current challenges and act as a baseline for handling future management challenges’’. Shema Fred, Acting Deputy principal in charge of academics and training at IPRC Gishari

In the SEAD project, IPRC Musanze has greatly benefited from the capacity building of its staff because they have attended various trainings in which they collaborated with other staff from both universities and private sector. Under the support of the Dutch experts, they were capacitated to (1) develop formal and non-formal curricula, (2) implement community outreach activities by reaching out to the farmers and (3) carry out research. This multi-stakeholder network will make the SEAD project interventions more sustainable.

IPRC Musanze aspires to contribute to the sustainable establishment and capitalization of both Potato and Dairy STICs which will be important platforms where farmers, private companies, government, and institutions will interact for the sake of agricultural development and sustainable food security in general.

During the extension services benchmark mission in February 2020 that took a Rwandan mission of delegates to the Netherlands, I personally witnessed and learnt a lot on the journey The Netherlands took to smoothly transit from pubic to private sector led extension services and how the private sector, government and knowledge institutions work together to strengthen the agricultural sector. I was really impressed by this journey, which started in the 60’s (60 years now) and has now resulted in a dramatic decrease of subsistence/ smallholder farmers to an increase of fully commercial, specialized and professional farmers, thus making the Netherlands the second-largest agricultural exporter in the World.

Although the SEAD project is almost coming to the end after 5 years of different impactful interventions, I do hope that the established collaborations and synergies will continue in order to seek knowledge-and skills-based solutions to the most pressing challenges around various agricultural value chains’’. Clement Ngendo, Lecturer at IPRC Musanze

Working with SEAD has given me a better understanding of various challenges and barriers faced by women, girls, and people with disabilities in agricultural value chains and in the TVET sector. SEAD has given me the opportunity to meet with many stakeholders in agriculture and livestock value chains. The greatest memory was discussing with women farmers during outreach meetings in their cooperatives and getting insights from their touching stories. Thumbs up for the SEAD project for empowering women farmers for greater participation in capacity building programmes around agricultural transformation. Eugene Rutabagaya; SNV Gender Expert