RUFORUM Climate Curriculum Knowledge Sharing and Co-Design Workshop

RUFORUM, the Columbia Global Centre of Nairobi (CGC-Nairobi) President’s Global Innovation Fund (PGIF) projects and AICCRA are hosting a design workshop to share knowledge on, harmonise & advance the co-development of climate-related curricula at the university level for African universities and to inform the development of content for a new online curriculum platform currently under development by RUFORUM.


Climate change and year-to-year climate variability have resulted in widespread, pervasive impacts to ecosystems and people in Africa, including increases in the intensity of weather extremes such as droughts and floods. While these shifting and varying temperature and precipitation patterns have affected the productivity of many climate-sensitive sectors, the agricultural sector has been the most impacted, resulting in reduced food availability and increased food prices, ultimately jeopardizing food security, nutrition, and livelihoods of millions of people.

Despite the enormous role that climate information can and has played in supporting resilience of agricultural and food systems and the availability of high-quality climate information in many Africa countries, including through the Enhancing National Climate Services (ENACTS) initiative , however, the effective use of climate information in decision-making processes to support climate adaptation has remained limited. This reality persists despite strong policy and enabling environments in many of these countries and despite significant investments in climate information and services through national and sectoral strategies, policies, and programs.

Part of the problem stems from a lack of foundational capacity and common understanding of climate basics, including a shared vocabulary and knowledge of basic terminology and dynamics to both articulate and engage in meaningful collaborations and design of solutions. Another part stems from the reality that even when available, climate information may not be easily accessible or transformed to decision-relevant formats for those working in the agricultural sector to act upon, or that there is poor awareness of products that do so.

Still, another major issue with the exploitation of climate information for agricultural decision-making and adaptation lies with poor conceptual understanding of how climate impacts agriculture and the pragmatic climate-sensitive decisions that farmers and the network of actors that support them must make as a result of these impacts.

Agricultural universities in Africa have an enormous role to play in addressing challenges related to climate change. Their graduates go on to work with - and even lead - initiatives with key institutions and actors within the agriculture and food system, such as the agricultural extension system, non-profits, development organizations, and disaster risk management and reduction agencies.

Moreover, beyond a theoretical understanding and knowledge of these challenges and potential solutions, they can play a catalytic role in advancing the practical skills needed to analyse, assess, and ultimately address climate-related challenges in the agriculture and related sectors.

About the co-design workshop

Acknowledging these gaps and the resultant enormous opportunity to professionalize the agricultural sector with the knowledge and skills to support climate resilience, the Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) project has been working to co-design and co-implement curricula targeting universities, and/or the agricultural extension systems, in each of the six AICCRA target countries, to build foundational knowledge and skills to manage climate risk.

Moreover, it has been working to ensure these resources and others on climate risk management (CRMI, climate information services (CIS), and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) are shared more widely with others on the continent confronting similar challenges through the establishment an online curriculum platform ,  in close collaboration with the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) , a consortium of 163 universities in 40 countries in Africa aimed at strengthening the capacities of universities to foster innovations responsive to demands of smallholder farmers.

In tandem with these efforts, and as a hub for global curriculum and scholarly outreach in the region, the Columbia Global Centre of Nairobi (CGC-Nairobi)  through the complimentary President’s Global Innovation Fund (PGIF) Linking Education on Adaptation and Resilience with National Systems in Ethiopia (Ethiopia-LEARNS) project  has been working to catalyse awareness, mobilize resources, and share knowledge to support the expansion and scaling of such high-need curriculum development to other countries, or even other sectors beyond agriculture, in the East African region or continent of Africa.

To harmonize and advance the co-development of climate-related curricula at the university level for African universities, as well as its sharing via the RUFORUM online curriculum platform under development, the AICCRA and PGIF projects will jointly host a workshop.

This knowledge-sharing and co-design workshop aims to:

  • provide an overview of the various existing curricula on the topics of climate risk management (CRM), climate information services (CIS), and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) that have been developed through the AICCRA project,
  • share experiences and lessons learned from their development and implementation,
  • document the priorities and perspectives of key education stakeholders in East and Southern Africa and the wider continent on the value of CRM/CIS/CSA curricula and the online curriculum platform effort, including alignment with needs and demand.


The agenda for the workshop is as follows:

Monday, July 17


Workshop opening:

  • Opening remarks
  • Dr. Florence Nakayiwa (RUFORUM)
  • Dr. Berhanu Belay (ILRI; AICCRA-Ethiopia & AICCRA-East and Southern Africa
  • Dr. Todd Crane (ILRI-Kenya; AICCRA-Kenya)
  • Dr. Tufa Dinku (IRI, Columbia Climate School)
  • Introductions by participating organisations and institutions


Overview of the AICCRA project and its capacity building goals and strategy (Tufa Dinku, IRI)


Overview of workshop objectives and context (Amanda Grossi, IRI)


Overview of the curriculum platform effort—partners, needs assessment results, design specifications, commitments, timelines (David Amitu, RUFORUM & Amanda Grossi, IRI)


Tea Break  


Knowledge and experience sharing: Overview of the IRI/AICCRA curriculum development and implementation approaches (Amanda Grossi, IRI)


Knowledge and experience sharing from Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, Senegal, and Mali : Climate Risk Management in Agricultural Extension (CRMAE) curriculum for public and private extension and advisory service providers and Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education Training (ATVET) colleges (Amanda Grossi, IRI)


Quick reactions and questions


Knowledge and experience sharing from Ethiopia: Climate Risk Management in Agriculture (CRMA) short course curriculum for graduate and postgraduate students (Tufa Dinku and Jim Hansen, IRI)


Quick reactions and questions


Knowledge and experience sharing from Ethiopia: Mainstreaming Climate Risk Management (CRM)/Climate Information Services (CIS)/Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) curricula for undergraduate students at 31 universities (Berhanu Belay, ILRI)


Quick reactions and questions




Knowledge and experience sharing from RUFORUM : Climate Information Services(CIS)/Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) curriculum developed from RUFORUM (Majaliwa Mwanjololo, RUFORUM)


Quick reactions and questions


Knowledge and experience sharing from Kenya : Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) curriculum developed through AICCRA-Kenya (Noël Templer, ABC)


Quick reactions and questions


Tea Break


Guided discussion:

  • Feedback and perspectives on curricula presented and alignment with needs (value of the curricula)
  • Identification of priorities (target learners, topics, length and format of course, etc.) of participants present
  • Perspectives on curriculum platform effort—opportunities and challenges
  • Recommendations for future engagement and promotion of climate curricula (strategic vision)
  • Piloting, embedding, and scaling curricula in different contexts
  • Way forward and next steps

16:50- 17:00

Workshop Closing: 

  • Summary of discussions
  • Closing remarks

Next steps - 18 and 19 July

To harmonize and advance the co-development of climate-related curricula at the university level for African universities, as well as its sharing via the RUFORUM online curriculum platform under development, the AICCRA and PGIF projects will jointly host a curriculum writing session from July 18-19, 2023, in Nairobi, Kenya.

The overarching aim of this workshop, which will incorporate feedback and perspectives shared during the previous day's Climate Curriculum Knowledge Sharing and Co-Design Workshop, are to:

  1. Finalize the design of pilot content for the RUFORUM curriculum platform.
  2. Outline a plan for any further adaptation or development of content needed for the curriculum platform pilot, including delineation of roles and responsibilities.
  3. Outline a roadmap for RUFORUM to build content on its online curriculum platform.
  4. Co-develop an implementation and promotion plan for pilot content on the curriculum platform.