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First institutional collaboration project Orange Knowledge Programme in Iraq


Alumni in Water, Energy and Climate


‘Strengthening education through collaboration’ is the motto of the Orange Knowledge Programme, which was recently given the opportunity to provide funding for an Iraqi-Dutch collaboration project to strengthen education in Iraq in water management and climate smart agriculture.

The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the programme’s funder, sees great value in strengthening education through international collaboration between Dutch and foreign knowledge organisations to stimulate sustainable social and economic development (Netherlands development cooperation policy). For many years, the Netherlands has been providing scholarships and training opportunities in Iraq through the MENA Scholarship Programme, but never provided funding for multi annual institutional collaboration projects in education in this country before. The project aims to sustainably secure high-quality education in water management and climate smart agriculture.

Demand driven approach

Based on stakeholder analysis and needs assessments Nuffic and the Netherlands embassy in Bagdad developed a country plan of implementation for Iraq. It aims to increase employment in the agri-food sector through government to government (g2g), knowledge to knowledge (k2k) and business to business (b2b) collaboration. Advancing competitiveness in production, processing and marketing of agri-food will improve employment prospects for youth and women in Iraq. Supporting efficient water-management will contribute to climate smart agriculture.

The awarded first collaboration project with the Netherlands on education development is called ‘Efficient water management in Iraq switching to climate smart agriculture: capacity building and knowledge development’. It was launched in Erbil on Sunday 19 January 2020 at the University of Salahaddin in attendance of several Dutch and Iraqi government officials, Nuffic and involved project partners.

Mr. Eric Strating, the Netherlands ambassador to Iraq, on the initiative: "The people of Iraq have seen difficult months with violence against protestors, tensions in the region and missiles and rockets landing on Iraqi soil. Especially during the demonstrations at Tahrir and elsewhere it became clear how large the need for sustainable employment opportunities is. I am grateful that the launch of Orange Knowledge Programme contributes to job creation and agriculture infrastructure in Iraq."

"Dutch knowledge institutions will assist with training and capacity building, as well as by improving skills in water management and agriculture. The Netherlands has a wealth of agricultural and water expertise and is eager to share this knowledge in this partnership."

6 Iraqi universities involved

The consortium consists of the University of Salahaddin, University of Basra, University of Mosul, University of Anbar, Kerbala University and University of Kufa, and Wageningen University & Research, IHE Delft and iCRA global from the Netherlands. The € 1.1 MIO project will enhance knowledge and skills in efficient water management and climate smart agriculture by:

  • improving teaching methodologies in the involved universities for the academic/non-academic staff on water management and climate smart agriculture;
  • enhancing capacities of students/new graduates to better meet the needs of the labour market;
  • supporting minorities and women by giving them targeted training;
  • improving institutional polices to become more inclusive;
  • supporting alumni by starting an alumni association at the end of this project.

Dr. Mohammed Azeez Saeed, project coordinator of the project from Iraqi side: “This project will look at the best ways for water management in Iraq for optimising agriculture and to guarantee sufficient production by applying smart climate information. For instance, knowledge of evapotranspiration, crop water requirements, irrigation scheduling, will reduce water wasting as much as possible. The necessary knowledge will be studied at university level by developing modern and up to date curricula for teaching, to be implemented in the Iraqi agriculture sector. Marginalised farmers will benefit in their agricultural planning and in protecting their fields from natural hazards by using early warning systems.”


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