The SEAD partners decided in the early stages of the project that the best prospect for making sustainable investments in the project would be through using the investment budget to purchase equipment that would be made accessible to students and staff of the education institutions, put into operation as a business and adequately supervised and managed jointly between education institutions and enterprises. This decision led to the formulation of the Service Training and Innovation Centres (STIC) concept based on partnerships between education institutions and private sector operators. The former was to take responsibility for the education, training, research and outreach components of the STIC, while the private sector partner should bring in the entrepreneurial and management experience, ensuring the facilities are professionally operated, are financially viable and are oriented toward the market. The SEAD project is supporting 4 STICs in Dairy, Poultry, Potato and Horticulture.
Development of STIC concept notes and business plans were done in 2018 and 2019 and procurement of the equipment and construction works for the establishment of four STICs started in 2020, right when the COVID19 pandemic erupted. Despite this unexpected circumstance, the STICs are nearing completion in October and November 2021.
-For the Dairy STIC in Musanze, conceptualised by UR CAVM, IPRC Musanze and Alpha Milk the construction of the wastewater treatment plant is completed. The milk tank and yoghurt cup filling machine are produced and will be installed by the Netherlands-based company Ante BV. Thereafter milk, yoghurt and ghee production can start, and students can get practical training in dairy technology, farmers will be able to test their milk in the research laboratory and the STIC will service as an information centre for potential investors.
-The Poultry STIC is a collaboration between IPRC Gishari, IPRC Ngoma and Abusol Ltd. At both IPRC Gishari and IPRC Ngoma state-of-the-art modern technology for chicken farming has been installed by the Netherlands-based company Vencomatic. Upon handover of the Poultry STIC to the STIC partnership, they will provide technical skills to local farmers through short courses targeting specifically women and youth, provide hands- on skills to students in RTQF level 3 in poultry farming, conduct applied research and innovation in poultry housing and hygiene, feeds formulation and consultancy services and last but not least obtain income through selling eggs, pullets (chickens ready to lay), off-layers and organic chicken manure.
– The Potato STIC is a collaboration between UR CAVM and IPRC Musanze. Both the warehouse and greenhouse are in the final stages of completion, and the STIC is expected to become operational in November. Upon handover of the Potato STIC to the beneficiaries they will start production of quality potato seeds, provide training/services to students and farmers on seed production and to improve coordination among the key players along the potato seed value chain in Rwanda.
– Finally, the Horticulture STIC in Huye is a joint initiative of IPRC Huye and GIFT Rwanda to produce and sell seeds and seedlings and provide practical training to students in agriculture curricula at IPRC Huye and the TVET institutions in the area. Construction works of the site foundation, solar water pump and state of the art greenhouse are on-going, following which the STIC will become operational and start production.
The SEAD project is looking forward for the 4 STICs to become operational over the coming weeks, and for these innovative partnerships between educational institutions and the private sector to become exemplary projects for Rwanda and the wider region as sustainable partnerships towards achieving social, environmental, and economic impact at scale.