Team of IITA BoT members embark on IITA Rwanda visit
On 9 October, the IITA Board Chair, Dr Amos Namanga Ngongi, and the Programs Committee Chair Dr Christian Borgemeister, paid a courtesy visit to the IITA Rwanda offices. They were transiting through Kigali from Bukavu where they attended the inauguration of the President Olusegun Obasanjo Research Campus at IITA Kalambo. “The purpose is to see the IITA Rwanda offices and briefly learn what is going on,” said Namanga Ngongi.
The visiting team was received by Silver Tumwegamire, IITA Cassava Breeder who is also the Leader of Cassava Agribusiness Seed System (CASS) and the Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) Control projects. Tumwegamire was standing in for the Country Representative, Marc Schut who was leading a majority of the 18 Rwanda station staff in field operations as part of the annual meeting for the ICT4BXW project that was in progress at the time. This pleased the visitors as it indicated that the staff at IITA Rwanda were busy implementing their programs. “We didn’t expect to find all of you here and we would be surprised if we did,” said the Board Chair.
The visitors embarked on a tour around the offices and were briefed on staffing and the seven projects that are being coordinated from Rwanda. Some of these projects also have activities in neighboring countries, Burundi and DR Congo. These include the Consortium for Improving Agriculture-based Livelihoods in Central Africa (CIALCA), the Aflatoxin Control Project, the Rural Urban Nexus Project (RUNRES), the Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) Control Project, the CASS Project, several CGIAR RTB projects, and the ICT4BXW Project.
The visitors were also informed of the presence of other CGIAR centers (CIP and CIAT) and AGRA and GAIN in the same office building. The Board Chair urged staff to always work as one CGIAR consortium and initiate consultative meetings to share ideas and discuss ongoing projects and activities within their respective offices.
Namanga Ngongi was keen to know the way IITA Rwanda projects are implemented and how they work with local partners. IITA Rwanda implements all projects through partnerships and collaboration, with the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resource Development Board (RAB) as the main partner. Other partners include the One Acre Fund, Rwanda Standards Board, Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum, Kinazi Cassava Processing Factory, media platforms, and many farmer cooperatives. The visitors urged IITA Rwanda to always ensure the visibility of IITA’s collaborative activities with other partners in the country. They were also happy that IITA Rwanda is expanding both in personnel and activities on the ground.