Global Impact for Good
As you may have read, I returned several days ago from a visit to Ghana. It was a trip that for me and the other members of our delegation – Associate Dean Deborah Sheely, Dr. Anton Post (Director of URI’s Coastal Resources Center – the CRC), and Reverend Dr. Joseph Quainoo – cogently illustrated the importance, impact, and value of the University of Rhode Island’s work in capacity building and international development. The visit was organized and coordinated by Dr. Brian Crawford of the CRC, who is “Chief of Party” for one of the USAID-funded projects currently underway in Ghana. He and his staff did an outstanding job in facilitating our visit and in making it very productive.
The University of Rhode Island is currently the lead institution on two USAID projects in Ghana: the Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP), and the Analytical Support Services and Evaluations for Sustainable Systems (ASSESS) effort. These projects total approximately $24 million. The SFMP has goal of developing and assembling the broad-based support necessary to rebuild the major fisheries in the Gulf of Guinea that are critically important to a sustainable food supply for Ghana. ASSESS is designed and conducted to provide essential outcomes-based assessments and evaluations for USAID projects throughout West Africa. It is a partnership with Delaware State University and the USDA. Both of these high-impact projects are based on proposals prepared by the CRC staff at the University of Rhode Island, in collaboration with universities in Ghana and Delaware State University (ASSESS). Both proposals were funded following a highly competitive process, in which the URI teams out-competed much larger institutions. The vision, dedication, and the very high quality of the leadership and staff at the CRC, together with its long-standing, international record of success, clearly are valuable assets for URI and the state.
An important outcome of the projects is the development of partnerships in Ghana and the West Africa region involving government agencies, universities, and NGOs. Our two key partners in Ghana are the University of Cape Coast (UCC), with the SFMP, and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), with the ASSESS project. Our delegation visited both universities, meeting with the leadership, faculty, and many students. Vice Chancellor Professor D. D. Kuupole (UCC) and Vice Chancellor Professr W. O. Ellis were splendid and generous hosts. There are numerous opportunities for the University of Rhode Island to collaborate with the programs and faculty at both institutions, and many talented students who are already scheduled to spend a semester or more at URI, or are interested in pursuing advanced degrees here. We can be confident that the partnerships that have been established or strengthened among URI, USAID, UCC, KNUST, and Delaware State University will be productive and have a positive impact well into the future.
But the most important “take-home message” for our community is this. The work that the University of Rhode Island is doing in Ghana and West Africa is making a difference – transforming the world to make it a better place, and laying a foundation for a sustainable future. The fisheries in the Gulf of Guinea are the most important source of protein for the majority of Ghana’s people, and the annual catch is in steep decline – currently about 10% of the historic highs for multiple key species. Success requires new research, new policies, new technologies, new business practices, new support services, and even significant cultural changes. Members of the CRC and their partners and allies are working in all of these areas simultaneously. Their work is challenging and difficult – success is by no means assured – but also productive and inspirational. Students, faculty, and staff from UCC work alongside those from URI. The ASSESS project will provide the methodologies and results to enable USAID’s programs across West Africa to be more effective, have higher impact, and be sustainable. KNUST, Delaware State, and URI The SFMP and ASSESS projects will build lasting capacity within Ghana and the region to facilitate continuing economic development and improvements in the quality of life of the people.
The entire University of Rhode Island community can take great pride in these tremendous endeavors.
Here are some additional images from our trip. If you would like to read more, check out the following links: https://www.usaid.gov/west-africa-regional/press-releases/usaid-inaugurates-assess-project-africa-center; https://dfas.ucc.edu.gh/news/historic-visit-president-university-rhode-island-usa-university-cape-coast-ghana; https://ucc.edu.gh/news/universities-must-solve-numerous-challenges-facing-world; http://www.crc.uri.edu/2016/04/hundreds-attend-president-dooleys-lecture-in-ghana/.