I4DI CEO attends Norhed Conference: Knowledge for Development

Co-Founder and CEO of I4DI, Azra Kacapor Nurkic had the opportunity to attend the NORHED Conference: Knowledge for Development that took place in Oslo, June 6-7 2016. NORHED, The Norwegian Program for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development, was established by Norad in 2012 with the aim of strengthening the capacity of higher education institutions in Low and Middle Income Countries. The beginning of the conference focused on higher education, research and university partnerships and the SDG agenda while the second day incorporated results, evaluation and next steps towards achieving the Norhed program goals sustainably. Among areas presented at the conference were, gender and diversity in higher education, the importance of addressing primary and tertiary education, the strategic advantage of investing in education to stimulate economies, and the importance of establishing partnerships to foster innovation when faced with challenges.

HED Theory of Change

The second day of the conference, Azra was invited to present on “Results management in capacity development for higher education and research”.  She explained how using comprehensive data from six different regional impact assessments conducted by USAID’s Higher Education for Development Program and a constant comparative method, the team was able to construct the Higher Education Development (HED) theory of change. The theory of change is a roadmap for higher education institutions and a resource for illustrating the relationship between partnership processes and outcomes. It posits that higher education institutions are critical to achieving economic growth and advancing societies as they contribute to creating new bodies of knowledge, bringing innovative solutions to the market, engaging active and emergent leadership and building a competent workforce. By promoting a culture of continuous learning and improvement, higher education institutions can support policy changes and create enabling environments to facilitate development.

HED TOCThe HED theory of change shows that sustainable human and social development goals can only be realized by starting with a solid global engagement management foundation. This foundation must take into consideration and apply best practices in strategic planning and results-based management, meaning that rigorous institutional need and capacity assessments must be conducted and the institutional capacity and strengths must be aligned with pursuits to contribute to solving global development challenges. In addition, a comprehensive, efficient and effective project management information system must be coupled with clearly articulated processes, comprehensive and detailed monitoring and evaluation plans, thoroughly integrated sustainability plans, collaborative relationships, local ownership and strategies to ensure partnership resiliency. With this foundation, activities to support higher education are more likely to be a success. To further strengthen higher education, Azra stressed the importance of enhancing capacity of research and teaching, organizational and institutional transformation, and strategic alliances. By investing in these areas, higher education can contribute to the short-term creation of new and shared bodies of knowledge, active global citizens and a competent workforce. In the long run this can translate to innovative solutions, good governance and ultimately solutions to global development challenges that can support economic growth for sustainable human and social development.