Higher Education for Food Security and Environmental Sustainability in Eritrea

Research summary

To support and strengthen the capacity of Hamelmalo Agricultural College (HAC) so that it can contribute to increasing agriculture productivity and enhancing environmental sustainability, through their education mission by meeting ecological, economic and social needs and by building of new multidisciplinary partnerships and networks and strengthening of the existing ones.


The present situation in Eritrea demands a renewed thrust for enhanced quality and relevance of agricultural higher education institutions so as to facilitate and undertake human capacity building for producing self-motivated graduates who are capable to deal with the problems and concerns of sustainable development of agriculture in all aspects. Therefore, there is a strong need to mobilize knowledge and technical know-how to produce agricultural graduates having skills and entrepreneurship confidence to start an enterprise, and become capable to fight poverty and increase environmental care. Provisioning adequate food is empowering poor people and moves them away from dependence on food aid.

The needs to improve the existing farming and grazing practices, to innovate new methods that respond to the requirements of resource users as well as environmental protection and conservation of natural resources have become an urgent matter. The management of natural resources faces great challenges in the face of present heavy utilization pressure and of global climate change. The conventional methods and classical models for natural resource management are no longer viable and need to be substantially improved. HEFSESE recognizes the importance of forests and trees and their role in food security and ecology seeks and facilitate establishment of a new department for Forest Sciences to contribute to publicity of forests for livelihood improvement and sustainable land management.

HEFSESE aim for strengthening institutional capacity for education and training by improving the teachers�… skills towards more an integrated methodology. The improvement of the pedagogical capacity of the teachers will contribute to the skills and knowledge of the graduates. Also, the scope of curriculum will be widened to include courses such as agroforestry, remote sensing and others. This will increase employment opportunities of graduates and improve the food security and economic-sufficiency of the poor who will be benefitted from the knowledge and management abilities of the graduates.

HEFSESE holistic approach incorporates and builds on human rights aspects including the gender and socio-economics of the marginalized poor communities. The project includes the following three components:
•Component 1: Doctoral and teachers exchanges (2 PhD students and 4 teachers exchanges)
•Component 2: Intensive courses (2 intensive courses including practical)
•Component 3: Nursery establishment and operations and tree planting(nursery training, seedlings production and tree planting)

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Project information

Research info

Research title
Higher Education for Food Security and Environmental Sustainability in Eritrea

Research timeline
1.1.2016 - 1.12.2017

agroforestry Environment sustainability food security higher Education capacity building pedagogy



University of Helsinki
Forest Sciences/VITRI
Helsinki, Finland

Funding instrument
Ministry for Foreign Affairs (ICI, HEI-ICI, N-S-S)

Head of research
Markku Kanninen

Research team
Mohamed Elfadl, Semere Amlesom, Juha Helenius, Mike Starr, Markku Larjavaara

Hamelmalo Agricultural College (HAC), Eritrea

Contact information
Mohamed Elfadl
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