SA Government officially hands over Institute for Development Assistance Management to UFH

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On the 18th of November 2022, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) officially handed over the ownership of the Institute for Development Assistance Management (IDAM) to the University of Fort Hare (UFH). This after the five-year partnership between the University and the Department ended – the handover signaled a new chapter for the Institute.

Established 14 years, IDAM is a product of an agreement between the then Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). It was developed out of a need for a strong and effective support capacity in development cooperation in the agricultural and food security field in South Africa and its neighbouring countries to prevent skills and capacity dependency from countries outside Africa for services.

The University was brought on board in the project as the institution to provide formal teaching, learning, and research in the area of Development Assistance and Management.

The Institute located on the Bisho campus was officially opened on the 22nd of March 2016. Currently, the Institute under the UFH Department of Public Administration offers a Postgraduate Diploma in Development Assistance Management – an NQF Level 8 qualification.

To signify the end of the partnership and the start of a new chapter, a project close-up evaluation report was handed over by the Deputy Director-General of DALRRD, Mr Nasele Mehlomakhulu to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Sakhela Buhlungu during a close-up celebration event held on the Bisho.

Speaking at the event, Prof Buhlungu described the moment as special saying: “We are here to close a chapter and begin a new chapter.”

According to the VC, the new chapter includes entrusting the future of IDAM in the capable hands of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Partnerships and Innovation, Dr Ntabi Taole-Mjiba who is responsible for research centres and institutes at UFH.

The VC extensively outlined the profile of IDAM, such as the Institute’s capability to organize many significant research conferences that attracted Kings, Ministers and other high-level dignitaries. He also highlighted some of the challenges the Institute overcame during the past chapter.

The VC said while some of the Institute’s activities will continue, the University will undertake a process of reimagining IDAM. “There is a plan and there is serious thinking and all will be revealed by the DVC. Part of the plan is to exploit synergies between IDAM and the Faculty of Science and Agriculture and other University activities.”

The DDG, Mr Mehlomakhulu who is an alumnus of the University, said when they were looking for a partner for this project, the Department never doubted the capability of the University of Fort.

“The University of Fort Hare’s slogan is Together in Excellence and we know of the excellent leaders it has produced in the country and in the African continent. It is therefore no surprise that we partnered with this University in this journey. We are happy to celebrate this milestone.”

“As we exit, we should remain partners to ensure that all the good work that happened over the years continues. We are pleased with the University's vision for IDAM and as we exit, we are doing it with comfort knowing the University will continue the good work.”

While the partnership has ended, both parties have shown great interest in future collaborations to ensure the success of the Institute.

By Aretha Linden