SDG Alumni Projects: Knowledge and Practice for Development
Projects by universities and DAAD for Germany Alumni from emerging and developing countries. They combine active learning in seminars with practical experience at trade fairs and conferences.
In the SDG Alumni Projects (formerly: Alumni Special Projects) professionals from emerging and developing countries who have been trained in Germany have the opportunity to come into contact with German and international representatives from academia and business at important trade fairs and conferences.
As decision-makers in their home countries with close ties to Germany, they are important contacts: academics and executives from emerging and developing countries who have studied or done research in Germany, the so-called Germany Alumni.
The DAAD supports these experts with the SDG Alumni Projects where they receive further training at a German university / research institution and then get in touch with companies when they participate in a trade fair, an industry convention or a specialist conference.
Their new contacts and enhanced expertise enable the Alumni to contribute to the economic development in their own countries.
The programme aims to extend the skills of Alumni to resolve development-related issues. It also helps Alumni engage with other Alumni in academic networks both in their own country and internationally. At the same time, Alumni often play an active role as disseminators for knowledge transfer. Ideally, they maintain long-term ties to Germany and cooperate with higher education / research institutions and companies in Germany.
Finally, the programme is designed to further strengthen the expertise of the host universities / research institutions in Germany in matters of development cooperation.
Funded projects, measures and partners involved
As part of the programme, specialist seminars for Alumni are sponsored on various topics. The thematic focus is based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, in particular:
• Water / water management / wastewater / waste / recycling
• Nutrition / food security / food technology / rural development
• Renewable energies / climate protection
• Education / lifelong learning / information and communication technology
• Medicine / public health
• Biodiversity / ecology
After the seminar, the Alumni participate in an international fair or conference in line with these topics. Here, the participants familiarize themselves with new product developments and technologies or the latest research results and get to know exhibitors, companies and further experts. This enables both sides to establish important contacts and initiate collaboration.
Projects are advertised, for example, during the following events:
• IFAT (Munich, Johannesburg and Mumbai)
• HANNOVER MESSE
• The Smarter E
• Online Educa Berlin
Planned and already implemented SDG Alumni Projects
(until 2021: Alumni Special Projects)
In 2019, 225 Alumni from emerging and developing countries participated in further education seminars and trade fairs as well as in specialist conferences and conventions. The target-group participants come from a broad range of regions and professions. In order to review whether the objectives of the SDG Alumni Projects have been reached, the participants are asked for feedback immediately after each event. Questions are asked about procedures at the trade fairs and conventions and the quality of the preceding specialist seminars. Overall, the response to the events is very positive.
For example, 32 out of 50 Alumni attending the HANNOVER MESSE 2019 reported they had made business contacts.
After participating in re:publica 2019 in Berlin, the largest and most exciting conference about digital culture in the world, 44 out of 50 Alumni reported that they had established contacts with 325 business representatives and academics. All 18 participants at IFAT India 2019 in Mumbai stated that they had expanded their knowledge by attending the trade fair.
According to the respondents, a large number of Alumni stay in touch with other participants, the German higher education institutions and business partners. In other words, the programme SDG Alumni Projects is successful in helping Alumni continue their education, exchange ideas and establish contacts in the academic and professional community.
Gilda Monjane (Participant at HANNOVER MESSE)
Gender Adviser and Solar Entrepreneur, Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy,
I appreciate the link between the DAAD training seminar and the trade fair. This gives Alumni a great opportunity to share research and work experiences on an international level, to learn from experienced German and global operating companies and to identify potential partners.
Follow-up surveys of Alumni take place regularly 1-1.5 years after their participation in SDG Alumni Projects. The most recent follow-up survey targeted all 393 Alumni who participated in the eight Alumni Special Projects realized in 2018 and 2019. A fact sheet [pdf-file] illustrates outcomes and impacts of the projects.
In order to achieve the intended programme objectives even more efficiently, the DAAD targets the needs of emerging and developing countries with its funding instruments and evaluates the impact of its funding programmes. In 2014, the DAAD introduced a comprehensive result-oriented monitoring system in order to further improve the quality and transparency of its work.