Major Categories of CSs
The diversity of JU CSs notwithstanding, we can nevertheless identify three major categories:
CSs arising from JU research activities
These are CSs formulated based on research findings/outputs funded by both government budget (staff and student research) and externally donors or partners (i.e., collaborative/joint research projects). Most of the CS projects funded through competitive funding scheme are included in this category. Currently, a total of 15 CS projects were approved under competitive funding schemes of which 9 are currently progressing well. The remaining 6 projects were not able to proceed as planned due to various unforeseen constraints. To view the details of these projects, click here. Most consultancy services (paid or otherwise) are also categorized under this category of services. Moreover, there are a number of collaborative/externally funded projects that are involved in provision of various community services. While most of these projects combine the CS delivery with research as part of their goal, some projects deliver such services as part of their main goal. Some ongoing and previous examples include micro hydro power generation (JIT, GIZ); commercializing solid waste (IUC-JU, Africa-Entrepreneurship Prize); integrated fish and dairy farming; biochar (McNight Foundation, Cornell University, GTZ); health outreach services (KOFEH, KOICA); drug trials; nutrition projects (JUCAN, DANIDA); RAN (USAID)
CSs arising from JU teaching-learning and related activities
There are also number of community services that do not necessarily arise from research outcomes, but rather mainly employing or drawing from the stock of knowledge and technical skills available or generated as part of the teaching-learning or academic process within the university. Some examples include: entrepreneurship development (center); free legal aid services (10 centers); tutorial services; educational leadership capacity building; scholarships opportunities to disadvantaged groups; ICT training; and advisory services (development advisory forums).
Community support/local development initiatives
Included under this category are community services such as promoting sport (support to football clubs representing Jimma city, mainly technical); capacity building and support to MSEs (training, employment opportunities through outsourcing, contract service agreements, etc); ICT support (networking, website development, automation); health outreach (mainly government funded); special donations; community awareness creation (media); voluntarism and environmental protection.
Challenges and Prospects
There are a number of challenges facing JU’s CSE activities. The first challenge relates to lack of coordination (fragmentation, duplication of efforts, lack of comprehensiveness, poor consolidation, M&T, and publicity). Another serious challenge is also the common misconception about the concept of CSE (partly due to considering JU as near NGO or donor agency despite its being tax-funded public institution). Other challenges include: lack of sufficient funding; engagement related problem (lack of community ownership, participation); challenges related to sustainability; and community fatigue. Better institutionalization and coordination; continuous dialogue and engagement; regular community forums; and advocacy are some of the strategies and solution that need to be employed to address these challenges.
Moreover, the policy attention and priority given to CSE in recent periods by the government such as the draft directive research, CS & technology transfer; prospective designation research-university status, STI policy; HE proclamation; etc. are some of the opportunities considered as favorable.
For further information, you may contact the Director of CSE via the email address: Jemal.email@example.com