Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE)
20th anniversary marked by major symposium
The 20th anniversary of the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE) will be celebrated in Ghana and marked by a major symposium from 6-7 November.
The symposium, entitled “Twenty Years of Extension Education in Africa: the SAFE Way”, will start at the International Conference Centre in Accra on 6 November with the official opening involving the Ghanaian leadership, a video message from former US President Jimmy Carter and a keynote address by Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina. Speakers will include Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, which has funded the SAFE programme since its inception. Ministers of Agriculture from African countries, Vice Chancellors and Deans from participating institutions, and representatives from international organisations and NGOs, will be attending.
The second part of the symposium programme will be held at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), where the SAFE programme began in 1993 under the stewardship of the former Vice Chancellor, Professor Samuel Kwasi Adjepong – who is also playing an active role in the symposium.
With the second day being launched by UCC’s current Vice Chancellor, Professor Domwini Dabire Kuupole, panelists will lead working sessions on subjects such as ‘curriculum development and the value chain challenges’; ‘gender – breaking down the barriers for extension’; and ‘extension – the changing role of the private sector and the donor community’. A fourth session will face up to the ‘challenges of training mid-career extension staff’.
SAFE’s Managing Director, Deola Naibakelao, describes his organisation’s guiding philosophy as “African tertiary educational institutions offering responsive continuing educational opportunities in support of agriculture and rural development”.
In this way, he says, “an increased number of mid-career staff will have opportunities to receive quality extension education locally”.
The SAFE concept has spread far since it was founded at UCC. Today there are 19 universities and colleges from nine African countries participating in the programme. By the end of 2013, the total enrolment, including graduates, will be 4,580.
Comments Deola Naibakelao: “multiply these results across our network of participating universities and it can be seen that we are making a major impact”.
The programme’s success is well summed up in the history of the Sasakawa operations in Ghana, “Setting the Grassroots on Fire”, edited by Joseph and Ida Kwarteng and launched in Accra on the first day of the Symposium.
Professor Joe Kwarteng is a former Dean and UCC Lecturer. Writing in the book he states, “It is unquestionable that the SAFE initiative has been a good thing for Ghana. Several hundred graduates from the programme are positioned in every district in Ghana working for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture or NGOs in various leadership roles. The programme, through the Supervised Enterprise Projects (SEPs), has also given lecturers greater exposure to the farming communities across Ghana and beyond for a better perspective of real-life agricultural and community development issues. More importantly, through the SEPs, farmers’ problems are being addressed throughout the country”.
Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE)
SAFE is a product of two development imperatives: (1) to bring African agricultural universities and colleges more fully into the agricultural and rural development process through the creation of new innovative continuing education programs and (2) to expand and strengthen the knowledge and skills of frontline agricultural and rural development advisory service providers to improve their capacity to more effectively serve the needs of smallholder farm families. >> read more...
Progress Report and Annual Reports (2003-2012) Brochure
One of the innovative aspects of the Mid-Career Agriculture Extension BSc Program is the component that students plan, execute independent field-based projects called the Supervised Enterprise Projects (SEPs) with the main objective of narrowing the gap between theory and practice. SEPs have been very much commended by the graduates, instructors and employers and being reflected in the graduates performance, confidence and professionalism. >>
Technology Village is a tract of land situated in or near of the SAFE training institutions. The purpose of Technology Village is to the develop/adapt and demonstrate improved technological innovations that are practical, affordable and sustainable to students, farmers and the general public. SAFE has established and strengthened technology villages in all program institutions. >>
The SAFE Alumni Associations are established with the objective of putting the mid-career graduates under one umbrella for the purpose of sharing experiences, contributing to the improvement of agricultural extension and consequently to the development of agriculture at national level. The Alumni Associations promote the welfare of farmers by facilitating communication between agricultural extension professionals, researchers, academic staff, and policy-makers. >>