Season’s Greetings to partners and friends
Another year has passed and what a year. We had hoped that the Covid-19 pandemic would have ended long ago, but it has continued through 2021. Nevertheless, 2021 will be remembered for several major accomplishments.
We kicked off the year by launching Danida Fellowship Centre’s new strategy Knowledge in Action 2021-25. The pandemic restrictions prevented in-person learning programmes and research study stays in Denmark for the first five months of 2021 so we took further steps to exploit the opportunities that online formats offer for learning, research and global collaboration across sectors, countries, and continents.
Learning programmes reflecting the Sustainable Development Goals
In June, it was with great joy that we welcomed our first course participants to Denmark. Twenty-five Kenyan SDG pioneers arrived to participate in the learning programme “Strengthening Policy Dialogue to accelerate SDG implementation”. As part of their research for developing the action plans that they will implement at home, the Kenyan delegation attended the “People’s Meeting”, an annual democracy festival on the Danish island of Bornholm, situated to the south of Sweden. Here they took part in debates with among others the Danish Minister of Development Cooperation, Flemming Møller Mortensen, and Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University. We video-documented their study stay in Denmark here and here.
In total, we offered 32 learning programmes in 2021, 25 of which took place in Denmark. In light of our new strategy, we continued to test new approaches to make our programmes even more practice-oriented and even more likely to prepare and inspire our participants to make positive changes in their home countries.
Again, in 2021, the profile of Danida Fellowship Centre learning programmes reflected the Sustainable Development Goals and the increased global focus on climate change. We will continue to strengthen our green profile in 2022 with the launch of no less than seven new learning programmes in the area of environment and energy.
Research collaboration and knowledge in action for impact
The portfolio of the Danida supported research projects administered by Danida Fellowship Centre focuses increasingly on sustainable development and climate change.
In 2021, 24 new research collaboration projects started up in countries that have development cooperation agreements with Denmark and the same number is set to start up in 2022. Currently, we follow 112 ongoing research collaboration projects.
The 2022 application round opened in November 2021. The overall theme of the Call is “Climate change, nature and the environment”. In a move to reach as many potential applicants as possible for the 2022 application round, we arranged an open online information meeting that allowed researchers from different locations to take part. See the YouTube video from the meeting here.
Following the positive outcomes of the communications seminars, Bridging the Gap: Science for the public, we asked researchers for input on how Danida Fellowship Centre could further assist in increasing research uptake. The result became the online training seminar Engagement, Influencing and Impact. The demand for this seminar exceeded our initial expectations and we had to run not just one, but three courses to accommodate everyone. In addition, continuing our commitment to assist our researchers transform evidence-based knowledge into action, we also launched the Knowledge in Action grant schemes. These grant schemes are open until the funds are exhausted.
In August, the mid-term review of The Building Stronger Universities, BSU III (2017-21) programme was published. The programme’s overall objective is to enhance the role of the six collaborating African universities as providers of education and research and their outreach to society. The review concluded that the programme is achieving its aims and, in light of the implementation delays caused by the pandemic, recommended its continuation until the end of 2022. Read the review here.
Redefining the alumni network
Since the 1960s, more than 30,000 professionals from the developing and growth countries with which Denmark collaborates, have received a Danida fellowship. The alumni constitute a tremendous resource of expertise that can play a crucial role in transforming knowledge into action for the benefit of the alumni and other stakeholders and interest groups across sectors.. We are in the process of identifying how the alumni programme can best compliment and align with our Knowledge in Action Strategy.
In the same spirit, we pioneered our new online initiative, Knowledge in Action Talks. The talks convene brilliant minds, provide powerful inspiration and facilitate meaningful connections across our knowledge ecosystem. Watch How to turn business into reality and Combatting a Global Pandemic.
Finally, we had the great pleasure of awarding the Danida Alumni Prize 2021 to Dr Olman Segura-Bonilla for his pioneering and tireless efforts to use innovation and new knowledge to advance the green transition in Costa Rica.
One organization – two locations
As part of the Danish government’s strategy to create job opportunities for people all over Denmark by placing more public institutions outside of the capital and the larger towns, the relocation of our administration to the town of Holbæk was finally implemented in August 2021. Danida Fellowship Centre is now one organisation in two locations.
While the hostel remains in Frederiksberg, the administration has moved to Østre Skole in Holbæk alongside three other public institutions working with education.Flemming Møller Mortensen, Minister for Development Cooperation, inaugurated the new premises at a festive event on 25 August 2021 alongside Jesper Petersen, Minister for Higher Education and Science, and Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil, Minister for Children and Education. Holbæk’s Mayor, Christina Krzyrosiak, also graced the event with her presence.
Here, at the end of the year, I want to thank all the Danida fellows and partners who joined us online in 2021 for your flexibility in accepting the changes made necessary by the pandemic. To those of you who had to endure a period of quarantine in Denmark in order to participate in an in-person learning programme, we extend special thanks for your patience and courage. Thank you all for your unfailing optimism and we hope to stay in touch through our alumni activities.
With Season’s Greetings,
Ulla Næsby Tawiah
Director, Danida Fellowship Centre