The Journey to INES Ruhengeri’s partnership with Rhineland Palatinate
Written by: Dias Nyesiga
Sunday, September 8th, 2019, 11:17
On August 29, 2019 Dr. Volker Wissing, Rhineland Palatinate’s minister for economy, transport, agriculture and viniculture visited University of Applied sciences-INES Ruhengeri. The Minister together with Bishop Vincent Harolimana, the University’s Chancellor oversaw the signing of a partnership between Bingen University of Applied Sciences and INES Ruhengeri. Light Magazine asked Fr Dr Fabien Hagenimana about the Chronology of this partnership in line with the Minister’s visit.
LM: Briefly tell us about Ministers visit
FH: He came in the framework of partnership that already exists
LM: Can you elaborate about this partnership?
FH:The origin of partnership is a long journey we made. Actually I met a German guy who was working with DAAD-Germany Academic exchange Service, he was participating in workshop in Kigali, we had just started shifting from classic university to applied sciences then knowing that in Germany they have universities of applied sciences I asked him how can we get supported by DAAD.He said that in order for us to be supported we need to be strategic, we need at least have one partner university in Rhineland Palatinate because the existing relationship between Rhineland Palatinate and Rwanda can be a good channel to get support.
He linked me with a professor Dr.agr. Clemens Wollny. Professor from the Bingen University of Applied sciences,so we started communicating. Professor invited me to Rhineland and I saw how they operate. During that visit we discussed the letter of intent and even signed it.
So we started partnering with them mostly on shaping the concept of the University of Applied Sciences. So they had to shape this concept and kept on communicating as we were looking for opportunities of collaborating in a clear manner.
LM: On that point of linkage between you and the Bingen University of Applied Sciences, did you immediately start the partnership?
FH: He first sent students to do their research here, either from his university or from other universities around and he even sent students to do six months to study some courses.
But we didn’t have something concrete that could motivate our partnership more and he tried to find how we can use the link between Rhineland Palatinate and Rwanda and he inspired the Minister Wissing Folker to come to INES Ruhengeri and explore more because Wissing also wanted to see something can move. So he came to Rwanda in May 2018, visited, we discussed some priority areas among them was to use technology, to promote farmers, promote viticulture something like that.
LM: We can see that the whole chronology of this partnership was between the two universities, so how did the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal resources come in?
FH: When he(Wissing) left, we had to collaborate and see how these ideas can take off, meanwhile we realised that it can’t go far if we do things that are not blessed by ministry of Agriculture so we elaborated a concept that was submitted to the ministry of Agriculture and the ministry requested the ministry officials based on hat concept to explore priorities that could be key areas where this partnership can be based and the ministry of Agriculture gave feedback , then recently I went back and visited the Bingen University and we went to see minister Wissing and discussed how do we address priorities of ministry because there were slight changes compared to what we were thinking before but we said since we want to work in a clear umbrella its better we fit in so we came back to elaborate a better concept that fits priorities of the ministry then minister Wissing Folker planned his visit and came to Rwanda and signed a letter of Intent with Ministry of Agriculture focusing on three priority areas smart farming, farmer cooperatives promotion and Viticulture promotion.