Langston University and the E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research have had a long and fruitful relationship with universities in Ethiopia that began with research grants conducted with Awassa College of Agriculture and Alemaya University in 1993. Since then, Langston University has been awarded six grants for research, training, and development activities with these Ethiopian institutions. Grants awarded in 1998 and 2002 with Debub Univerity and in 1999 and 2002 with Alemaya University focused on enhancing institutional capacity for research, teaching, and extension. The goals of these grants were achieved through a program of collaborative research, training of Ethiopian scientists at the American Institute for Goat Research, and the establishment of village development projects designed to enhance household food security, income generating potential, and family health status through increased goat productivity. Increased goat production was accomplished via the provision of goats and appropriate technology to women's groups for goat production in villages near both universities.
In addition to the above grants, in 1999, Langston University was awarded a research grant for work in internal parasite control with Debub University. This grant included aspects of training, research, and provision of supplies to Debub University to enhance their parasite research program. Finally, in 2001 a grant was awarded to Langston University to work with Debub University in enhancing computer capabilities. A major accomplishment was the awarding of a companion Technology Enhancement Grant that provided funding for the purchase and installation of a nteworked computer laboratory on the Debub University campus.
Some of the Successes of Langston University's Ethiopian projects include:
- 11 scientists from Debub and Alemaya Universities received training in the U.S.
- A conference on small ruminant production, "The Opportunities and Challenges of Enhancing Goat Production in East Africa", and was held at Debub University in 2000. His Excellency the Vice Minister for Agriculture Belay Ejigu supplied the Opening Address of the conference. Over 50 participants from Ethiopia and several foreign countries attended the conference, the first of its kind in Ethiopia.
- Debub University computer lab Langston University was awarded a Technology Enhancement Grant to establish a networked computer laboratory on the Debub University campus.
- Langston University received a special award to purchase laboratory equipment and supplies for Alemaya University to upgrade their ruminant nutrition laboratory.
- A workshop on curriculum development was held at Debub University.
- Numerous seminars on small ruminant nutrition, herd health, internal parasites, and statistical analysis have been presented to Ethiopian students.
- Special training on web page design, use of computer programs, detection of internal parasites, and evaluation of animal health have been conducted by U.S. scientists on trips to Ethiopia.
- Surgical procedures to insert ruminal cannula and perform an epidymectomy were taught at both universities.
- Books and other laboratory supplies have been purchased and sent to the universities.
- Over 2,500 straws of Boer goat semen were shipped to Ethiopia for use by the universities. This was the first importation of Boer goat semen into Ethiopia.
- Two professionals in goat artificial insemination and semen freezing traveled to Ethiopia and conducted workshops on artificial insemination at both universities and taught goat semen freezing procedures to staff at the National Artificial Insemination Center of the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture.
- Crossbred Boer x local goat kids have been born at both Debub and Alemaya Universities. These crossbred animals are the first of this genotype to be born in Ethiopia. The superior meat production and faster growth rate of the Boer goat has potential to greatly impact the expanding goat meat industry in Ethiopia. This impact goes beyond enhancing the local goat meat supply to increasing the ability of Ethiopia to export quality goat carcasses to Middle East clientele, thereby bringing important external revenue into the country, creating jobs, and improving local and regional economies.
- Women receive goats and trainingDevelopment projects have been established areas surrounding Debub and Alemaya Universities where women’s groups for goat production have been established and goats and production training provided. There are currently over 450 women participating in the projects. These projects benefit the rural population by enhancing food security and income generation potential. Proceeds from the sale of goats have been used to improve housing, purchase livestock, pay school fees, begin a small business, and improve family nutrition. The animals provided have also served as a buffer and resource for use in drought conditions, lessening the need for food aid for participating families. The universities have benefited through increased interaction with rural producers and staff having more contact with farmers, thereby learning of, and assisting in solving, production constraints.
- Project activities have been mentioned on Ethiopian television, in U.S. newspapers, the Goat Institute’s Goat Newsletter, and Ethiopian and U.S. radio. Langston University’s activities in Ethiopia have also appeared in the scrollbar on CNN International.