FAPI General Meeting will follow with more thematic meetings

The Finland-Africa Platform for Innovation (SDG9) network had its General Meeting online on 28 September. 20 attendees from various member institutions participated in the discussions and shared their activities and perspectives regarding the future of the network. The meeting was focused on news and updates about activities and projects related to FAPI, on reviewing the results of the FAPI survey from spring 2023, and on discussing these results along with reflecting on the organisation of FAPI.

Progress has been the main characteristics of all ongoing project and collaboration within the network. The different member institutions provided concise updates on their past, current and future work and activities related to FAPI. In 2021, common areas of interest for collaboration have been identified as for example engineering, social aspects, education and entrepreneurship. Current projects and collaborations are related to topics of education, research, art projects, health technology, sustainability, digital technology, etc. Additional activities include but are not limited to different workshops, trainings, staff and student mobilities, academic publications. Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia have been identified as current key countries for cooperation, whilst projects are carried out in or involve partners from Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ruanda and Somalia too.

Furthermore, results of the FAPI survey from February 2023 were presented and discussed. The survey was carried out for two reasons: firstly, in order to obtain an overview of the current projects and their potential for developing and advertising under FAPI. Secondly, to develop the network’s organisation and activities, and to enquire about common interests, which could facilitate the preparation of the creation of concrete actions. In survey results, the most common fields and topics of interest included multidisciplinary Social sciences, social innovation and social justice and Education, pedagogy and teaching (68 and 63 % mentioning these). Next were Natural and environmental sciences and Economy, leadership and business (both with 47 % mentions). Engineering and Future technologies and both got 32 % of mentions. Art and humanities received 21 % of mentions. In addition to the thematic interest areas, members expressed their interest in various forms of cooperation, most commonly as education, training, competence building, online courses; research cooperation, events, publications; mobility and visits. Based on the summary results, some project were added to the FAPI website.

The Action Plan of FAPI also directs the emphasis onto mapping the thematic focus areas and actions together with members, receiving feedback on the network’s operation from members, communicating about current projects, applications, activities and events, as well as identifying key countries for cooperation and collaboration. The coordination team encourages the members to share their FAPI activities and participate to the relevant thematic meetings which will be arranged shortly. As the FAPI website has also recently been undergoing updates and modifications, it could serve as one important platform for the dissemination of the projects and the network’s work and activities.

Join the thematic meetings to discuss the cooperation in your interest areas

FAPI aims to create sustainable partnerships in research, education, as well as in co-creative innovation projects between Finnish and African universities and higher education institutions as well as other actors. The network’s aim is to develop together activities, events, publications, projects, funding applications and more. The thematic discussions could facilitate the preparation of the creation of these concrete actions created together. Therefore, the FAPI network will offer the possibility for the members and their co-operators to discuss in the smaller groups and with more thematic subject areas.

Therefore, in November (or end of October), FAPI aims to organise the first three thematic meetings to discuss the cooperation in those areas particularly.

In order to check the interest and availability of the members, there are now Doodle links open (until October 15th). If you are interested in one of the topics, please choose the times suitable for you.

If there is interest for these meetings, other thematic meetings will follow for example in Natural and environmental sciences and Economy, leadership and business and Arts and Humanities. Please note that Engineering and Technology was one of the topics which was of special interest in SANORD special interest group arranged in Norway in September. In that area there is also potential to create cooperation in the SANORD context together with Southern African and Nordic actors.