Source: University of Guelph
U of G Gets $4.7 Million for International Projects
November 6, 2006
The University of Guelph has received nearly $5 million from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to enhance resource-poor livelihoods in Ghana and to restore the tsunami-affected areas of Sri Lanka, it was announced today.
The Ghana project received funding from CIDA’s prestigious Tier 1 fund, totalling $3 million over six years. This is the first time U of G has received Tier 1 funding. Tier 1 projects are managed by CIDA’s Universities and Colleges Program and promote major development and institution-building projects.
The Sri Lanka project received $1.7 million from CIDA under the tsunami reconstruction facility program. The project was developed by a consortium of Canadian universities, including U of G, the University of Manitoba, Queen’s University and the University of Waterloo.
"These announcements reflect the efforts and commitment of people at the University of Guelph to become engaged globally," said Alan Wildeman, vice-president (research). "The University of Guelph has a distinctive presence on the international stage, to which many faculty, staff and students contribute. We are delighted that these two projects, and the people leading them, are being acknowledged with this support, and we welcome interactions with partners abroad."
Environmental biology professor Andy Gordon and research associate Naresh Thevathasan are heading the Ghana project. Their goal is to enhance livelihoods in resource-poor communities using agroforestry technologies. Increasing degradation of the natural resource base relied on by rural communities is a major contributor to a persistently low quality of life in central and northern Ghana, said Thevathasan. "This is why agroforestry land-use technologies have been identified as a key aspect in promoting environmentally sustainable cropping practices that will foster food and income security for resource-poor farmers in the target areas."
Gordon and Thevathasan’s project will improve income generation and food security, strengthen Ghana’s vision of becoming West Africa’s centre of excellence in agroforestry, train men and women as agroforestry techologists, and help develop national natural resource management policies. They will work closely with private and public institutions to expand and promote agroforestry practices and to train and hire community members, technicians and faculty in agroforestry research and technologies.
"We are very pleased that CIDA has recognized Guelph’s capacity in agroforestry research and development and are thrilled to be working on these serious problems in Ghana, a country the University has interacted with for more than 30 years," said Gordon.
Retired rural extension studies professor Jana Janakiram is heading the Sri Lanka project, which aims to help reconstruct the shattered lives of communities affected by the tsunami in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. Emphasis will be placed on empowering women through skills training, entrepreneurship training and alternative livelihood training. It will also develop community-based early warning and emergency response plans for natural disasters.
"I am happy this project was funded because it addresses the needs of the tsunami-affected people and villages in specific areas of Sri Lanka," said Janakiram. "I was born in Sri Lanka and am now able to give back to the recovery process of the country through the University of Guelph and CIDA."
Contact: Andy Gordon Environmental Biology 519-824-4120, Ext. 52415, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jana Janakiram Rural Extension Studies 519-824-4120, Ext. 56783, or email@example.com
Naresh Thevathasan Environmental Biology 519-824-4120, Ext. 52565, or firstname.lastname@example.org
For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.