Arba Minch University launches ‘2nd International Field Course’

AMU today has held the kick-off meeting for ‘2nd International Field Course’ that involves 66 students from KU Leuven, Belgium, ETH Zurich, Switzerland and host AMU. Course will continue for two weeks in seven selected kebeles as research sites in Arba Minch Zuria i.e. Chano, Chencha, Mirab Abaya, Dorze, Lante, Geresse and Dembile. In all 22 resource persons will train students in respective areas. Click here to see the pictures

The Field Course has 66 students of which 21 are from KU Leuven, ETH Zurich, 15 and 30 from AMU; and of 22 resource persons KU Leuven has 8, Prof Joseph Deckers, Prof Jan Diels, Prof Tobias Fremout, Prof Miet Maertens, Prof Roel Merckx, Prof Kaat Hoyweghen, Prof Karen Vancampenhout and Prof Hervé Vanderschuren.

ETH Zurich has Prof Johan Six and Prof Anett Hofmann; AMU has 8, Dr Simon Shibru, Dr Dereje Tsegaye, Mr Amanuel Shewa, Dr Teshome Yirgu, Dr Nebiyu Yemaneh, Dr Genaye Tsegaye, Mr Alemu Assele and Dr Zenebe Mekonnen and University of Eldoret, Kenya, has Prof Balozi Bekuta, Dr Ruth Njoroge, Dr Abigael Otinga and Dr Florence Waminga.

At the outset, Vice President for Research and Community Service, Dr Simon Shibru, welcoming 66 Master students from KU Leuven, ETH Zurich and AMU, said, in this 2nd International Field Course we will try to be better. This unique venture benefits students, resource persons and professors alike as people from different socio-economic and cultural background hobnob and work in a team. Particularly students from Europe get to know the challenges of tropical region; he gave them important tips and encouraged them to get acclimatized with the new environment.

Coordinator from KU Leuven, Prof Jan Diels, expressing gratitude towards AMU for this course, said, in last year’s training students were trained how to apply knowledge; they learnt in theoretical class and how to use them for the societal challenges. They worked with villages and tried to understand farming, agro-ecology system and its subsequent threats; they also endeavor to think together to reach at possible solutions.

Reiterating that this year’s approach will be the same, he said, such courses help because they train people; it doesn’t immediately bring solutions to the people and that’s not realistic, but the most important is the learning process for the students that helps them to be equipped when they become professionals to work with people and find solutions. This time they are given equipments like device to examine soil quality, field pH meter, color book, shovel, etc.

Kenyan Prof Balozi Bekuta, said, we will exchange ideas in the field course as we have expertise in soil science, forestry, agronomy and nutrition. He said Kenya and Ethiopia share quite a lot in common for 3 species i.e. terminalia, gravillea robusta and cotton grown in both nations so our experiences can be of immense value to each other.

KU Leuven’s Professor Emeritus, Seppe Deckers, said, this courses bring mix bag of experiences from different culture and educational streams hence this basket of experience really complement each others. So, this time students will do problem-solving surveys, diagnose small farmers’ problems by discussing together. And input from them itself is a spark for project intervention because they go down in the fields, spoke certain issues, make certain proposals for in-depth research or they may find solutions together with their professors that may spark intervention for community’s livelihood, he opined.

Prof Roel Merckx informed the students that they will be given marks on their experience in team work, and we expect a lot from this training; he urged to sort out if they encounter any issues. He lauded those who worked hard to organize this 2nd International Field Course.

Sharing their enthusiasm, Master student from ETH Zurich, Lutsiya with focus on agriculture, economics and policy, said, ‘‘I would like to have an experience about different tropical cropping system; what crops are produced here and issues like soil erosion and which methods can be used to correct them. Similarly, Yohannes from ETH Zurich, is excited to know about social setting, agricultural problems and to work in different cultural background.

Dr Genaye Tsegaye apprised the students about logistics and other arrangements. From November 19, 2019, all students will begin their respective research.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)