ESDU launched a community development initiative (CDI) to build on the expertise gained from the many projects under its umbrella fostering partnerships between communities and development actors including policy-makers, donors, the private sector, CBO s and NGO s. The objectives of CDI are:
1. Innovative action-centered, policy-relevant participatory research. 2. Promoting links between higher education institutions and their communities by providing an original graduate teaching and research medium. 3. Creation of networks for community development. 4. Dissemination of current understanding from the research community to the user and policy-maker communities. 5. Development of community training modules in natural resource management, nutrition and health, efficient energy use and sustainable livelihoods.
CDI activities focus on the following:
1. Networking - The establishment of a National Capacity Building Network for Community Development (CBN-CD). - The promotion of a Regional Forum for information and experience exchange on sustainable community development in the Drylands. - Strengthening links with relevant international R&D institutes.
2. Education and training - Development of community training packages and modules. - Creation of on-line courses on community development. - Dissemination of relevant research results to policy-makers and the private sector.
3. Capacity building in research on community development - The establishment of a fellowship program and student and faculty exchange programs with partner institutions to enhance academic expertise on community development issues.