In the late 1970s/early 1980s many African countries struggled to cope with severe food insecurity caused by prolonged droughts. The late Japanese philanthropist Ryoichi Sasakawa on his part responded by sending food aid to several of the affected countries. He asked the late Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug and former US President Jimmy Carter to join hands with him in search of a more sustainable solution to Africa’s food challenges. The three therefore founded the Sasakawa Global 2000 African Agricultural Initiative, as a result Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) was established in 1986. SAA serves as a lead management organization of SG2000 agricultural programs in Africa.
SAFE is part of the Sasakawa-Global 2000 (SG2000) agricultural initiative launched in 1986. The initial plan was to grant individual graduate school scholarships for mid-career extension leaders, but focus soon changed to building capacity of African agricultural universities/colleges to train much larger numbers of people.
SAA realized that there were sufficient technologies to make a difference at the farmer level. Extension & especially front line extension agents were ill-equipped to handle agricultural modernization initiatives. Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE) was founded in 1991 to address the crucial issue of human capital development in the African agricultural extension systems.
SAFE’s guiding principle is that African tertiary educational institutions can offer responsive continuing education opportunities in support of agricultural and rural development. In this way, a large number of mid-career staff can receive quality education locally to upgrade their knowledge, technical and human leadership skills.
The SAFE initiative is unique in two ways:
1. Programs are designed to run as partnerships between employers and agricultural education institutions. This approach ensures mainstreaming and sustainability.
2. Programs are demand-driven, based on identified needs & Value chain oriented. Provides practical, hands-on laboratories, problem-focused courses and field-based “Supervised Enterprise Projects” (SEPs).
The program consists of three distinct but
interrelated and interconnected models. These are SAFE Demand driven curriculum
(SDDC), Supervised Enterprise Project and Enterprise Center.
SAFE Demand driven
curriculum (SDDC) provides experiential extension education based
on commodity value chain to mid-career extension officers in universities and agricultural
colleges on a defined need, prevalent and of high-concentration and demanded by the farming communities in the
catchment areas of such university or agricultural college (such as community
&rural development, dryland farming, livestock extension, e-extension,
aquaculture extension, pastoral extension). This lead to the development of
critical mass of human capital needed to guide extension processes at the
national, state and local levels.