NORHED takes off

The Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development (NORHED) in December 2013 made its first disbursement to higher education institutions (HEI) in Africa, Asia, and Latin-America and to their Norwegian HEI-partners. 

Strengthening Higher Education Institutions in Developing Countries

Villa Kulild
- Contributing to capacity building on higher education and research is a priority of Norwegian development policy, says Villa Kulild, Director General of Norad.

In July 2013 Norad announced that it would fund several joint projects between higher education institutions in low- and middle-income countries together with Norwegian HEIs. Norad has signed 36 agreements as a result of its first round of the NORHED main call with a total budget of more than 600 million NOK during the next five years. There are six sub-programmes: Education and Training; Health; Natural Resource Management, Climate and Environment; Democratic and Economic Governance; Humanities, Culture, Media and Communication; and Capacity Building in South Sudan.

- Contributing to capacity building on higher education and research is a priority of Norwegian development policy, says Villa Kulild, Director General of Norad. She acknowledges the excellent dialog Norad enjoys with the participating HEIs.

Ambitious goals

Etiopia_Hawassa_University_02
The NORHED programme will contribute to capacity building on higher education and research. Hawassa University in Ethiopia is an important partner. (Photo: Ken Opprann)

- We have ambitious goals for this important programme, says Bjarne Garden, Director of Norad’s Department of Health, Education and Research. A challenge will be to document results so that we know the investments pay off. The project reporting is tasked to ensure this, and we look forward to it because of the high caliber of the partners. 

- Higher education and research are highlighted in Norad’s 2013 Results Report. Students and candidates who have completed master and PhD degrees with Norwegian support are contributing to institutional capacity building at their home institutions. The report shows how important it is to document results and to measure what the investments yields. 

Africa predominates

Projects recommended for support are from all geographic areas targeted by NORHED . Asia, the Middle East and Latin America are represented in the programme, but the majority of projects are in East Africa. In Uganda research and education in meteorology and ICT will be run by the University of Makerere with the University of Bergen. In Ethiopia NORHED  funds projects on climate-smart agriculture, sustainable natural resource management and food security. Cooperation partners are Hawassa University, Mekelle University and the University of Life Sciences (NMBU). 

The University of Malawi cooperates with the University of Stavanger on educating mathematics teachers for primary schools. Furthermore NORHED  supports master students and PhD candidates in political science and public administration at the University of Malawi in partnership with the University of Oslo.
NORHED  has a specific sub-programme on South Sudan. The University of Juba was from 1989 located in Khartoum, but has since 2005 gradually moved back to Juba. However not all academic staff made this move, and this has created a considerable demand for faculty at the University. In addition there is a pressing need for infrastructure, technology and management in order to secure adequate education for the more than 10,000 students at the University of Juba. The NORHED programme addresses such basic needs. It will also help to build competence in areas such as natural resource management, democracy and good governance and mother and child health.
Professor and Vice-Chancellor Aggrey Abate at the University of Juba welcome the initiative. He is pleased that Norway supports cooperation between academic institutions in developing countries. 

- Through NORHED  colleagues from the University of Juba have visited Uganda and Ethiopia. This is very important for us. We can learn much from our partners in neighbouring countries. Together we are finding solutions to similar challenges, says professor Abate. 

Kristin Skare Orgeret is professor of journalism and media studies at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (OAUC) and project coordinator of a NORHED project in South Sudan, Uganda and Nepal. Prof. Orgeret says the main goal is to further develop journalism studies in these three countries that are emerging from conflict.

- NORHED’s focus on HEIs and research is valuable and highly relevant to advance development and human rights in partner countries, says Prof. Orgeret. She underlines that by enhancing academic studies and research opportunities, the programme contributes to democratic development and knowledge sharing.

Asia also represented

Asia is also represented in the NORHED programme. The University of Oslo with the University of Myanmar aims to strengthen the education of physicians and improve public health via support to master students and PhD candidates. The project has a sizeable research component and a goal to publish several articles in the world’s leading medical journal The Lancet.
The annual NORHED budget is approximately 150 million NOK. Funding for individual projects will be around 7-18 million NOK, for a period of up to five years, with a total NORHED portfolio of some 36 projects.