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University of Peradeniya displays CDAE project to University Research Session

At a research session, University of Peradeniya displays a poster about CDAE project on a special corner. The poster aims to present the abouts of the CDAE project and its results to its constituents.

Novel Group presents VLE platform

The agroecology e-learning platform was launched on September 08, 2022 during the Study Visit to the Philippines. It was presented using the Zoom platform to the Asian and European partners. Nikolaos Politopoulos walked through the partners on how to navigate the platform.

 

The e-learning platform will be used by students and professionals for the Master of Science in Agroecology. Modules/courses can be accessed by signing up.

Day 4 Study Visit to the Philippines

On September 8, 2022, the academic and administrative staff, participants, and resource speakers convened in a plenary session at Everlasting Hall, Research and Extension building, for the last day of the Study Visit to the Philippines: Capacity-building training of the Curriculum Development in Agroecology project funded by Erasmus+.

 

Marios Paraskevopoulos (Paras) & Michalis Tsakonas, resource speakers from Novel Group Sarl (Novel), commenced the training about networking skills and discussed three topics: partnerships and communication, computer-mediated communication, and branding and contextual design. Paras discussed that networking is getting to know the people who can assist in creating your career prospects. On the other hand, partnering relates to actions and arrangements in which both parties agree to cooperate and collaborate to progress their joint and mutual interests. He also added some of the importance and differences of having partners and networks. "Networks open new doors for new opportunities, and it gets support from high-profile individuals while partnering provides opportunities to learn new strategies and get or make your project/institution/organization more popular or known. So, it is important to choose your partner well in projects and linkages," Paras advised.

Paras cited that the pandemic opened many online networking communities, but most struggle to make meaningful connections. So, Paras suggested that to make your connections expand, one must join in networking events such as conferences or study visits. "Networking events can be physical conferences or online. Setting up physical and online conferences should be planned strategically and carefully. We should also evaluate if the venue is conducive or appropriate or if the participants are familiar with the online platform to be used," said Paras.

 

Tsakonas ended the Vocational Educational Training with his branding and contextual design lecture. He emphasized that quality and personal excellence are crucial elements of branding. "Some things that can impact personal brands are using an email signature, accounts on LinkedIn, business cards, emails, voice messages, and any presentation or visual aids presented or handed to anyone. Choose wisely on social platforms to mainstream your branding, and focus on what is important to your organization rather than what is most popular," said Tsakonas.

 

The morning plenary session continued with a presentation from Rui Amaro of Polytechnic of Coimbra featuring the Analysis of an Agroforestry farm of 1,305ha with three main objectives; type of forest, trees, animal production, and pastures (Irrigated & Non-Irrigated Land).

 

Further, Janet Pablo, BSU project leader, facilitated the networking activity prepared for the last day of the Study Visit to the Philippines. This activity allows the European partners and Benguet State University to exchange information in areas of agriculture, forestry, environmental science, statistics, and the opportunities for the MSAE program. This engagement involves research directors, department chairpersons, faculty of various colleges, and heads from the admin sector of the university.

 

Moreover, the afternoon plenary session commenced right after the networking engagement. The afternoon session focused on the remaining two replication training and the presentation of the Virtual Learning Environment platform.

 

Manuela Abelho of Polytechnic of Coimbra started the afternoon session with her lecture on Soil Microbial Biomass as an Indicator of Soil Health. "The increasing demand for food led to intensive agriculture, which resulted in using fertilizers and pesticides. With these problems, organic agriculture is viewed as a solution. Also, the effects of microorganisms and microbial biomass as an indicator of soil health and basis for productivity seems to be the best practice in organic agriculture," explained Abelho.

 

The replication training was completed by Pedro Moreira of Polytechnic of Coimbra in his lecture on Circular Economy in Agroecosystems. Moreira stated that the 'circular economy in agriculture production and agricultural commodities reduces as much as possible the external inputs, closing nutrient loops, and reducing negative discharges to the environment for both waste and emissions. "It is like transforming a/the waste into a solution to the system," Moreira added. Further, Moreira emphasized organic agriculture as a tool for a circular economy and cited their Project Divulgar-Bio as an example. "This project created publications- manuals for organic agriculture with the help of partners from various universities and directly involving farmers and organizations," Moreira supplemented.

 

As a pre-ending capacity-building activity, Novel presented the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) platform via Zoom to the consortium and the participants. Nikolaos Politopoulos virtually walked through the participants and partners to the VLE platform. Specifically, Politopoulos presented how to: create an account, access the course, and how to use the platform's features. He also presented valuable references to familiarize the platform. "The platform and the courses are already accessible; the sooner you create an account, the sooner we can assist you if you have concerns using the platform," said Politopoulos.

 

The Study Visit to the Philippines: Capacity Building of Academic and Administrative Staff ended with a sharing of takeaways from the European partners and the participants from Benguet State University and Central Luzon State University. The Director of the International Relations Office, Maria Luz D. Fang-asan, delivered the closing statements of the event.

BSU displays CDAE Project IECs

The International Relations Office highlights the Benguet State University Internationalization Programs and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during the 106th BSU Foundation Anniversary Exhibit on September 27- 30, 2022.

 

Displayed in the exhibit are Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials from international projects: Curriculum Development in Agroecology; Pathway to Employability; and Antenna. The IECs were hand-picked out by BSU students, employees, and community members.

Day 3 Study Visit to the Philippines

On September 7, 2022, the Capacity Building for administrative and academic staff was divided and transpired simultaneously. Resource speakers from Novel Group Sarl handled the Administrative Staff, while Mendel University in Brno and Polytechnic of Coimbra managed the academic staff. Selected students of Benguet State University from the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences also participated in this engagement.

 During the administrative training, the Novel Group Sarl (Novel) discussed three skills: business administration skills, management skills, and fundraising skills. Michael Tsakonas of Novel lectured on management skills. The first slide of his presentation received attention from the participants. It is a quote that says; success today is no guarantee of success tomorrow. "One-day success doesn't determine the success for the entirety. There are many possibilities and outcomes that can affect tomorrow, and complacency is dangerous in management. Keep exploring beyond boundaries and innovating," stressed Tsakonas.

The first skills highlighted the importance of making timely management decisions and leadership, including basic leadership skills for start-up agroecology projects. Then, the training progressed to business administration and fundraising skills, which engaged the participants in analyzing, assessing, and planning a business and fundraising management strategy.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the hall, Mendel University in Brno (Mendelu) presented six replication training to the BSU and CLSU academic participants. The first replication training was lectured by Milada Stastna of Mendelu regarding Agroecology and its place or position in Agriculture. Stastna emphasized the principles that are aligned and unaligned with Agroecology. 

"Contrary to the notion of people, agroecology is not organic farming, and it comes under agroecology," she stated.

The second replication training is on Environmental Security and Ecosystem Services by Hana Stredova of Mendel. "Global security threats as of today and for the next years are nuclear war, ecological collapse, and the debate for the use of biotechnological innovations. However, these challenges can be abated when a community or countries gather together to discuss indifferences for the betterment of the world," said Stredova.

Further, Pedro Moreira from Polytechnic of Coimbra presented Environmentally Friendly Plant Protection Strategies and emphasized how plants are valuable and essential in habitat, clothing, and fighting climate change's effects. "Plants are our helping partners in sweeping the global environment crisis and is one of the main sustainable approaches to agriculture," Moreira added.

At the halftime of the Day 3 training, the project partners had a quick visit to the BSU-International Relations Office (IRO) and an excursion to the Apiary Demonstration Farm located at the College of Forestry, which were accompanied by IRO and BSU staff during the engagement.

After the quick excursion, the fourth replication training on Agroecology Directions and Examples of How to Foster Impacts of Climate Change by Stastna continued. "Agroecology plays a major role in climate change adaptation and mitigation than conventional agriculture," said Stastna. To prove this claim, Stastna provided a case in point pieces of evidence and sustainability components for crops, soil, and water to fulfill the economic, social, and ecological of agroecology.

Stredova ended the training with her lecture about Agroecology and its frame in agrosciences, agronomy, agrology, and agroecology. Stredova underscored that agriculture and the environment must go hand-in-hand. "It should not only be balancing agricultural activities which are often or most of the time devastating nature but also trying to preserve and conserve the 'ecology' or natural resources as much as possible," said Stredova

The project was launched in November 2019 and it will be implemented within the next three years.

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