Month: October 2015

Member University in Focus: African Virtual University

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AVU LogoThe African Virtual University (AVU) is a Pan African Intergovernmental Organization established by a charter with the mandate of significantly increasing access to quality higher education and training through the innovative use of information communication technologies.  AVU is a member of the Association of African Universities.

Eighteen (18) African Governments – Kenya, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger, South Sudan, Sudan, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, and Nigeria have signed the Charter establishing AVU as an Intergovernmental Organization.

The AVU has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya and a Regional office in Dakar Senegal.  It has host Country Agreements with the governments of Kenya and Senegal and a diplomatic status in these countries.

Initially launched in Washington in 1997 as a World Bank project, AVU was later transferred to Kenya in 2002 and became an Intergovernmental organization in 2003.

AVU has an online platform, the AVU Virtual Class, where each student has her or his individual webpage called MyAVU Virtual Classroom. Once you register for a course or a program, you are given a Login and Password to enter the MyAVU Virtual Classroom.

  1. AVU will be hosting its 3rd international conference from 6th to 8th July 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya. The theme of the conference is “Integrating Mobile Learning to Open up Access to Quality Education and Training Opportunities in Africa”. Find the call for papers on this link:
  2. AVU Programmes include – Webinars (Online Seminars); Self Learning Programs; Workshops; Certificate/Diploma Programmes; Degree Programs; Consortium Programs; Joint Programs; Hosted Programs
  3. Services offered by AVU include: workshops, content development, consulting services on e-learning, establishment of e-learning centers, hosting of programs and courses, e-conferences, webinars and hosted communities
  4. The AVU Open Educational Resources Repository can be accessed from here:
  5.  Dr. Bakary Diallo is the Rector of AVU whilst Prof. Rogerio Uthui is the Chairperson of it’s Board

How to contact AVU
The African Virtual University
Cape Office Park (Opposite Yaya Center)
Ring Road, Kilimani, PO Box 25405 – 00603, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel : +254 20 2528333; +254 20 3861458 / +254 20 3861459; +254 722 205883
Fax: +254 20 3861460

DATAD Annual Conference

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Positioning your digital institutional repository for visibility: A workshop not to be missed by librarians and IT staff supporting libraries

The Association of African Universities (AAU) championed the development of DATAD (Database of African Theses and Dissertation) in 2003 with the goal of improving the visibility of African scholarly work. The idea behind DATAD is to harvest theses and dissertations from Africa and create a continental portal where these full text resources could be accessed from anywhere. Through DATAD our goal is to link to national and university repositories in Africa. We also aim to build the capacities of AAU member university libraries and national libraries and support them to design and implement effective repositories.

In light of this the AAU in collaboration with Uganda Martyrs University, Uganda, is organizing a three-day DATAD annual conference under the theme “Providing platforms for knowledge sharing among African Universities”. This conference is slated to take place at Entebbe from the 23rd to the 25th November 2015.

Conference Overview
The conference will bring world renowned experts / resource persons to take participants through various discussions featuring a review of Institutional Repositories in Africa, the future of digital Institutional Repositories, lessons from Institutional Repository initiatives, and strategies for making repositories more visible, why libraries must implement Unique Resource Identifiers and tools for tracking the usage of your IRs. Participants will also be taken through a practical session to demonstrate setting up successful Institutional Repository platforms. Institutions seeking to join the AAU DATAD platform are also invited to apply to attend the conference. They will have the opportunity to be taken through how to configure their Institutional Repositories so that their content can be included on the DATAD platform. This conference will be an excellent platform for establishing partnerships, sharing experiences, learning about emerging trends in IRs and learning from each other.

Target Participants

The target participants are electronic librarians and IT staff that support national and university libraries.

Some of the topics to be covered include:

  1. Status of Institutional Repositories in Africa
  2. The future of digital Institutional Repositories
  3. What makes Institutional Repository initiatives fail?
  4. A review of common Institutional Repository platforms
  5. Practical Session on setting up DSpace
  6. What is DATAD and why it is important for African Universities
  7. Making your repository more visible
  8. Top tools for tracking the usage of your IR

Early registration fee is $250 per participant and will cover the cost of snacks, lunch and training material. Interested participants are kindly requested to register online by clicking here. Please register before 8th November 2015, to allow time to apply for visas. Participants will cover their costs of air travel, accommodation and related allowances. Please register online here and find AAU Bank details here

For further information please contact: 

  1. Abednego Corletey on
  2. Copy Edith Laari

Update from WACCI Africa Center of Excellence-2010 Students Return to Submit Phd Theses

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WACCI picsThe 2010 batch of students from the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), University of Ghana, Legon have returned to the Centre upon completion of their research work in their home institutions to complete theses for submission. This research component of their PhD training lasted a period of 33 months. WACCI is one of the Africa Centers of Excellence.

A number of these students are already making impact in research for development at the country and regional levels in West and Central Africa. These students will be game changers and history makers as West and Central Africa strives to end hunger and attain food and nutritional security by 2030. Highlights are as follows:

  1. WACCI 2Mrs Maureen Atemkeng’s thesis research was on “Genetic analysis of nodulation in cowpea “Vigna unguiculata (L) Walp in low phosphorus soils”. She works as a researcher at the Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD), Cameroon and was appointed as Chief of Research Programme in June, 2015. Her responsibilities include monitoring activities of researchers in the field, developing technical bulletins for legume and vegetable production and organising open days to present research findings to farmers and stakeholders. Soon before returning to WACCI to complete her PhD thesis, she was appointed as Chief of Station at IRAD, Barombi-Kumba.
  2. WACCI 4Mrs. Dorcas Olubunmi Ibitoye worked on “Genetic analysis and identification of quantitative trait loci associated with pre and post flowering drought tolerance in cowpea for her thesis. She was an award winner in “The Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa (ITOCA) and the Essential Electronic Agricultural Library (TEEAL) research paper competition, 2015. Her paper titled “Performance of cowpea hybrids under drought induced and well-watered conditions” was awarded the second prize in the PhD category for the West Africa Region by a distinguished panel of judges. Dorcas is a Research Scientist at the National Horticultural Research Institution in Ibadan, Nigeria. She is returning to her workplace to take her PhD research forward and to release highly adaptable and high yielding cowpea varieties for water-stressed soils in Nigeria following her training in modern plant breeding for effective and efficient development of superior climate-smart varieties for resource poor farmers.

Five other students from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Nigeria have also made breakthroughs in their work on four staple crops (Cassava, Cowpea, Maize and Sorghum) and are returning to their home institutions in December, 2015 to work towards developing improved and resilient crop varieties with genes for resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses.

The eighth student of this cohort, Kenneth Fafa Egbadzor completed his PhD a year ahead of his colleagues and is back at the Plant Genetics Resources Institute, Bunso, Ghana leading a programme on cowpea improvement.

The quality and importance of the WACCI PhD in plant breeding programme has been acclaimed worldwide and recommended for replication in Africa and south East Asia by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in their 2009 report. Development partners and Foundations are encouraged to support the WACCI programme for West and Central Africa to develop the critical mass of plant breeders needed to develop the climate-smart, high yielding and nutritious varieties of staple crops urgently needed in farmers fields to meet the goal of food and nutritional security in the region by 2030. For more information on WACCI, visit