Synthesizing resilience dimensions and problem sets.

The purpose of the fourth annual ResilientAfrican Network (RAN) Partners’ Forum was to discuss and establish the link between resilience dimensions, problem sets and innovation protocols/strategies. Additionally, this was an opportunity for participants to clearly discuss, share and link innovations to the resilience framework and monitoring and evaluation aspects. The 2015 Partners Forum brought together more than 50 participants from USAID Washington D.C, RAN Core Partners, Network and Network plus Partners and faculty in support of Solutions through Innovation. “We cannot move forward without reviewing where we have come from,” said Dr. Roy William Mayega, RAN Deputy Chief of Party.

In his opening remarks, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Deputy Vice Chancellor in-charge of Finance and Administration at Makerere University and RAN Patron, noted that the work being done by RAN was probably the most-effective work augmented by USAID for long-term solutions to Africa’s challenges. The investment in research is fundamental, and Makerere University continuously appreciates USAID’s efforts to support RAN among the other projects in Uganda. RAN has potential to contribute to enhancing Africa’s resilience given that these challenges are here with us and thus the need to strengthen and in some places build resilience. “Once we change the way we are doing things, we are able to positively impact the communities,” Prof. Nawangwe emphasized. Given that the African community’s challenges are diverse and re-occurring, there is a need for all of us to keep equipped with innovative solutions to address the same. As Prof. Nawangwe welcomed all to Uganda – The Pearl of Africa – he noted that “Africa’s hope greatly depends on what we the privileged few can do in order to change the situations within the under privileged.” He commended the work funded by USAID and urged all to continue in the service of those in need.

In her remarks, Tara Hill, Senior Program Manager at the Center for Development Innovation | Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN) U.S. Global Development Lab | USAID, noted that HESN was proud of RAN’s commitment to listening to the communities and learning from them. The work RAN is doing is not only important for Africa, but it also important to the world. She added that the first-annual “State of Sub Saharan African Resilience” report was a great achievement for RAN, and the USAID Team remains committed to joining hands to drive these efforts forward.

In his remarks, Prof. William Bazeyo, Dean Makerere University School of Public Health and RAN Chief of Party/Lab Director, shared that the 2015 Partners’ Forum was unique as it provided time and an opportunity for the network to show off work in progress. He welcomed all to the launch of the first-annual “State of Sub Saharan African Resilience” report scheduled May 8, 2015 and thanked the team for the good work being done. He noted, “We have left the kitchen and are now on the dining table ready to eat in regards to the RAN activities.”

Key questions to guide discussions during the 2015 Partners’ Forum included, “How best do we improve where we need to; How can we achieve more; and How can RAN make a bigger positive impact in the communities?
Prof. Bazeyo also informed participants that Deliberative Polling (DP) was implemented successfully in the East and West Africa regions, and RAN participated in and won the Ebola Challenge, which attracted 1,500 applicants.
So the million dollar question was: “Where do we want to see RAN in the next 20 years?”