During a visit to Kigali, Rwanda this past September,the NASA Harvest Africa team met with leadership at Carnegie Mellon University Africa (CMU) to learn more about the university and explore opportunities for collaboration. Since the trip, exciting steps have been taken to move these relationships forward and support ongoing and new Harvest activities.
CMU was founded in Rwanda ten years ago with only twenty-two students; this past year, 300 students are enrolled, with graduates pursuing various prestigious jobs in government, finance, and technology. The CMU mission is to transition Rwanda from an “agrarian to a knowledge-based society,” Much of the teaching curriculum is designed to be hands-on and STEM centered.
During the September visit, the NASA Harvest team met with CMU leadership to learn more about their research and study body, as well as the Kigali Collaborative Research Centre (KCRC), where many CMU faculty are affiliated. The Centre provides an enabling environment for collaborative research and innovations in Africa. Since September, NASA Harvest Africa has been working with Dr. Moise Busogi, an Assistant Teaching Professor with CMU-Africa and the Deputy Director of KCRC to bring the Centre in as a partner with the EO-Farm Pilot in Rwanda project, funded by USDA-FAS. KCRC, along with its partner, the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) can potentially support crop type mapping in Rwanda as well as field boundary delineation via the Radiant Earth Zindi Challenge. NASA Harvest also hopes to support 1-2 CMU graduate students as visiting researchers at the University of Maryland next year.