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Partnering with universities to strengthen country capacities

14/06/2016

Young people and working professionals don’t always have access to the latest thematic knowledge on agricultural development, nutrition and food security. In order to ensure they acquire the knowledge and skills they need to contribute meaningfully to the development of their countries, FAO is making available learning resources it has developed with a broad range of partners and academic institutions.

The primary aim is to support the professional development of people in the global south, including the professionals of tomorrow. The learning resources made available by FAO cover a range of thematic areas and include self-paced e-learning courses and face-to-face support material.

FAO is working with university partners to facilitate the use of FAO’s materials both within existing university curricula, and for the development of new specialized curricula. University professors and local trainers adapt FAO’s materials to their own learning programmes and country contexts.

FAO has partnered with the Universidat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) (Open University of Catalunya), an internationally recognized online university with a community of over 50,000 students from over 70 countries worldwide. Thanks to this partnership, these students now have access to state of the art courses and can receive accreditation in Food Security, Agriculture and Nutrition.

University consortia have also been working with FAO to ensure the uptake and distribution via their networks. FAO has established a partnership with the Unión de Universidades de América Latina (UDUAL), a network of 226 universities in Latin America and the Caribbean. UDUAL have developed a Masters in Food Security, which is being adapted and fine-tuned by individual universities, in accordance with their curriculum needs. FAO also has a long-standing partnership with the African Virtual University (AVU), a network of 53 universities across Africa, in Francophone, Anglophone and Lusophone countries. FAO’s learning materials are available on through the VU Virtual Classroom and AVU is making them available to their network of academic institutions and universities.

These initiatives promote sustainability, by ensuring that the latest thinking and knowledge is made available to local academic institutions, who in turn tailor and customize FAO’s offerings to address country-specific learning needs. FAO continues to explore new partnership opportunities and mechanisms to expand its reach even further.

For more information on FAO’s e-learning courses and educational resources offered free of charge visit the FAO e-learning center at: www.fao.org/elearning. For information related to this article, please contact capacity-development@fao.org.

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