The South Ethiopian rift valley is one of the frontier regions of Ethiopia where agricultural expansion is among the fastest of the country. Hence, social and technical problems have been leading to ethnic tensions and severe land degradation. Agricultural productivity is threatened by poor crop and animal husbandry while terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity is dwindling due to poor natural resource management. Tropical infectious diseases and malnutrition lead to high maternal and child mortality figures and overall poor health status. Hence, poor livelihoods continue to prevail in rural areas despite tremendous development efforts of the government. Therefore, a well-informed strategic development policy is required for the region. Academic and research institutions in the area such as Arba Minch University are expected to deliver research based solutions which are technically sound and socially acceptable. To comply with its mandate of providing quality education, conducting problem solving re-search and rendering relevant community services in the area, capacity enhancement is of critical importance.
The overall academic objectives of AMU-IUC are to improve the capacity of academic and research staff as well as to improve the research and teaching facilities of the university. Due to the higher education expansion program during the first growth and transformation plan of Ethiopia a number of new campuses with new programs have been launched at AMU. The limited number of experienced staff and the dated infrastructure of AMU, however, has impeded the provision of quality education. Library and ICT facilities are insufficient, information accessibility is poor and lab facilities below standard for teaching, learning and research activities. With a dearth of qualified staff and up-to-date facilities, university education and research are falling short to answer the challenges for a sustainable development in the region. In its strategic 5 year plan, AMU wants to improve the quality of teaching and research through recruiting staff, upgrading facilities and training local staff to MA/MSc, PhD and post-doc levels while removing the gender imbalance. However, such effort requires international cooperation. Therefore, this proposal aims to fill the persistent gaps in human capacity (knowledge, attitude, and skill), information management (ICT-Library) and research facilities through VLIR-UOS cooperation.