Programme of Strategic Cooperation between Irish Aid and Higher Education, Research and Non-Governmental Institutions
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5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES, *training, *pedagogy, 5.4 SOCIOLOGY, Social issues, Social sciences
BACKGROUND It is increasingly recognised that a well-functioning higher education system is a necessary condition for economic and social development. The sector however needs to considerably strengthen its capacity to make an effective contribution to poverty reduction. The Irish Aid funded Programme of Strategic cooperation is designed to facilitate the systematic integration and expansion of education and research institute engagement in development cooperation. OBJECTIVES This ambitious North-South programme aims to achieve capacity strengthening, through a medium term effort to invest in people, systems and knowledge building. The longer term consolidation of this collaboration aims to foster academic and non-academic leadership in development cooperation for eye care. METHODS The Mozambique Eyecare Project (MEP), a strategic collaboration between Dublin Institute of Technology, University of Ulster, Universidade Lúrio and the International Centre for Eyecare Education have successfully secured Programme funding, and brings eye care to the forefront of Irish Aid’s development agenda. RESULTS The MEP continues to: • initiate collaborative research • enhance teaching and learning across institutions • establish a flourishing cross-institutional network • generate specialist knowledge, research expertise, increased awareness and critical engagement in development cooperation. These successes have already driven policy change in Mozambique including the recognition of a new professional cadre for eye care service delivery. DISCUSSION The higher education sector is seen as a key organ in strengthening governance, research generation and knowledge development, and creating space for independent analysis of development issues to address public sector needs. In funding this initiative, Irish Aid provide formal recognition that poor vision is an indicator of vulnerability, a constraint to sustainable livelihood development and education and more generally implicated in health and poverty complexes. This represents a significant broadening of Irish Aid’s development agenda for Mozambique.
Loughman, J.: Programme of Strategic Cooperation between Irish Aid and Higher Education, Research and Non-Governmental Institutions. World Congress on Refractive Error, Durban, South Africa, 2010.