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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA aiding Ethiopia with famine

    Researchers from the UA have received a three-year, $200,000 grant to aid in Ethiopia’s famine disaster.

    The UA has teamed with Bahir Dar University to build a center of excellence and create a new master’s curriculum in disaster risk management in Ethiopia. The program received the $200,000 grant from the U.S Agency for International Development in 2007 and is for the entire three-years.

    The program will train 15 students through distance learning and give them skills for disaster management as well as earn masters with Bahir Dar University. Four of the 15 students are UA professors and three are Ph.D. candidates.

    The center will offer short courses on disaster management and offer certificates of completion to participants.

    The program aims to strengthen Ethiopia’s infrastructure and make Bahir Dar a leader in disaster prevention and risk management.

    Ethiopia is a highly populated country in Africa with a large drought and famine problem. Because most Ethiopians live off of the land, and depend on farming, droughts lead to famine.

    The curriculum is four semesters with a 30 credit hour graduate program.

    “”The students will use an online portal and do their learning on the web. The project team will be in Arizona most of the time. We will go to Ethiopia once a year,”” said John Magistro, project coordinator.

    He also said during the students’ third year in the program they will spend 60 days here in Arizona doing intensive program preparation.

    Tim Finan and John Magistro from the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, Muluneh Yitayew from the agriculture and biosystems engineering department, Lezlie Moriniere from the Office of Arid Lands Studies, along with two private sector partners make up the team for this program.

    Muluneh Yitayew, co-principal investigator for the program and a professor in the agriculture and biosystems engineering department, is helping to develop the curriculum on disaster risk management and sustainable development.

    “”I think the program is something very worthwhile for the country because you see a lot of famine and disaster there in Ethiopia,”” Yitayew said.

    TANGO International, a consulting firm in Tucson that works with non-governmental organizations, and Ferguson Lynch, a consulting firm in New Mexico has joined the UA to help with the project.

    The UA will be working with the Disaster Risk Management and Sustainable Development Center at BDU.

    Tim Frankenberger, president of TANGO International, worked in the Office of Arid Land Studies at the UA and has a lot of contacts in Ethiopia.

    “”My job is to help develop some of the training modules,”” Frankenberger said.

    As for the success of the project, “”it is just getting off of the ground, it is too early to tell,”” Frankenberger said.

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