Bound by a common conviction that a world without hunger is possible, 32 DAAD alumni from Sub-Saharan Africa convened at the University of Hohenheim’s interdisciplinary Winter School to address the challenge of feeding the world.
“Putting an end to world hunger will require experts from a range of different disciplines to come together and exchange knowledge,” says Katrin Winkler, Coordinator of the University of Hohenheim’s Winter School. To this end, the university, together with the German Association of Postgraduate Programmes with special Relevance to Developing Countries (AGEP), invited former DAAD scholarship holders to attend the Winter School event, which was made possible by funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Good management the missing link
The event and its participants were highly interdisciplinary. Alumni from ten DAAD-funded Development-Related Postgraduate Courses shed light on the topic of food security from the perspective of agricultural sciences, medicine, land-use planning and the energy industry. They worked together in workshops and group discussions to develop approaches to overcoming the challenges. “Our discussion focused on food, energy and regional planning,” says Mohamed Menatalla Mostafa Youssef Salem, a geoinformatics specialist from Egypt. “Our conclusion was that sufficient resources do indeed exist, but there’s a lack of good management to ensure fair distribution of food.”
Many alumni live in countries plagued by hunger and malnutrition. Boniface Chibwana, from Malawi, returns to his home country with some important insights gained at the Winter School: “You don’t have to be an agricultural scientist; you can apply simple farming methods that can go a long way toward improving the food supply in Malawi,” says Chibwana, a social scientist by training. “I would like to build a fish farm in my village from which the people can live.”
Taking part in the Winter School also paid off for Mohamed Menatalla Mostafa Youssef Salem, who was able to identify a topic for her doctoral thesis. “I want to research how geoinformatics can contribute to improving food supply in Egypt so that fewer and fewer people suffer from hunger and malnutrition.”
Boniface Chibwana summed it up on a positive note: “The only way to fight poverty and hunger is through interdisciplinary collaboration. The Winter School in Hohenheim was an important step in this direction.”
Impressions from the Winter School on facebook