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Ugandan Biotechnology Challenge Wins LINK IV Competition

LINK IV Uganda focuses on providing plant material to farmers. Photo: GKI
LINK IV Uganda focuses on providing plant material to farmers. Photo: GKI

After an intensive review by an international Technical Committee of experts, the Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI) proudly announces the winner of the fourth round of our partnership-forging LINK (Learning and Innovation Network for Knowledge and Solutions) program: Dr. Geofrey Arinaitwe, of BioCrops Uganda Limited.  We would like to congratulate Dr. Arinaitwe, a seasoned entrepreneur and biotechnology expert, who—with his team—won the LINK program’s collaborative innovation training, strategic design, and network-building benefits.  GKI has implemented previous LINK programs in Rwanda and Kenya, and through a joint program with winners from both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Dr. Arinaitwe acts as Managing Director of BioCrops Uganda Limited, a Kampala firm that produces certified planting materials.  His challenge focuses on improving food production and security in Uganda by broadening farmer access to quality banana and sweet potato planting materials.  The goal of LINK Round IV: help Dr. Arinaitwe and his team broaden access to quality planting materials for farmers by developing a purpose-driven international network of partners committed to solving this challenge. 

To achieve this goal, the winning team, which also includes Dr. John Bananuka and Dr. David Talengera, will receive GKI support in three main activity areas:

1. Locating partners and resources to develop, refine, and implement solutions.  GKI will develop an in-depth analysis of political, business, and economic factors relevant to solving Dr. Arinaitwe’s challenge.  Through fact-finding sessions, GKI will help the team identify specific aspects of the project where partnerships are needed.

2. Enabling Dr. Arinaitwe’s team to build sustainable, purpose-driven networks. GKI will train the team in skills for team management, problem solving, and innovation. With GKI’s help, Dr. Arinaitwe’s team will develop a robust strategy for implementing their solution.  This strategy will identify partners and resources

needed, and will guide networking activities.

3. Connecting winners with needed partners.  Through exposure to GKI’s worldwide network, Dr. Arinaitwe’s team will have the opportunity meet potential partners and build their own network.  Using insights gathered through analysis and strategy sessions, GKI will also identify specific, strategic partners well-placed to help Dr. Arinaitwe’s team solve their challenge.

Announcing LINK Finalists

Kenyatta University research team looks at shallow well in Kitui County. Photo: GKI
LINK III Kenya focuses on rainwater harvesting in the drylands. Photo: GKI

For the first time, GKI will also provide focused collaborative innovation training to three LINK Finalist teams.  Finalists look forward to building skills needed to solve challenges, strategic introductions to potential partners, and publicity of their work.  LINK Round IV finalists include:

Dr. Rose Mujila Mboya of KwaZulu-Natal University who works to address mycotoxin contamination of staples in poor communities in the Rungwe district of Tanzania.  Dr. Kwasi Sackey Yobo and Dr. Unathi Kolanisi join Dr. Mboya on her team.

Dr. Tumwine Fredrick of Makerere University who undertakes research to improve bee farming and processing of hive products in Uganda’s Kamwenge district.  Dr. Amy Richmond Krakowka, Dr. Frank Mugagga, Mrs. Jennifer Tumwine, and Mr. Tunanukye George join Dr. Fredrick on his team.

Dr. Sandy Turketti of Stellenbosch University who plans to develop a Horticulture Extension Center to address food loss and sanitation issues in the farm-to-fork chain in South Africa.  Dr. Elke Crouch joins Dr. Turketti on her team.

In the coming months, GKI will deliver rigorous, in-depth trainings to LINK teams in Africa, while beginning to develop an international network around Dr. Arinaitwe’s winning team.  We look forward to closely working with the LINK teams to craft solutions to the complex development challenges that they seek to solve.

Contributors: Latoya McDonald and Andrew Gerard

Representatives from CIRAD; University of California, Riverside; SPREAD; and GKI visit the Maraba Washing Station
LINK I Rwanda focuses on specialty coffee defects. Photo: GKI
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