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University of Eastern Finland and University of Namibia expand collaboration to social sciences

The University of Eastern Finland (UEF) and the University of Namibia (UNAM) have renewed their partnership and expanded it to include the social sciences, as well as activities that support corporate social responsibility of UNAM and global development activities of UEF. 

The signing of the agreement took place around a visit of Vice-Chancellor of UNAM Professor Kenneth Matengu and His Excellency Ambassador Charles Josob of the Embassy of Namibia to Finland and the Baltic countries to UEF on 9–10 August 2022.  

The ties between UEF and UNAM are old and long, covering several fields of science. The renewed partnership agreement expands from collaboration in natural resource management, education, and health sciences to the field of social sciences. Collaboration will focus on social work among the elderly, gender-based violence, as well as waste management and social entrepreneurship in communities.  

“This partnership can lead to collaboration in social innovations that we can utilise when exploring how to take care of our elderly, for without them we would not be. We can learn from each other. This partnership is a wonderful example of how we as universities can come together in global responsibility activities. The partnership created here will indeed be a valuable contribution to both of our universities, our collaborative research, and mostly to our communities,” said UEF Rector Jukka Mönkkönen.

Vice-Chancellor Kenneth Matengu also commended the new collaboration in social sciences:
“This collaboration is aligned to UNAM’s strategic goals of community engagement and social responsibility. It is for this reason that we created a social responsibility programme, UNAM Cares, through which our staff and students can work closer with and support communities, focusing on community outreach and education, mental health and psychosocial support for health workers, as well as humanitarian aid, environmental protection, research and innovation.

HE Ambassador Josob congratulated the two universities on the renewed collaboration:
“Congratulations to both universities on your commitment to increasing, developing and disseminating the body of knowledge and skills. The vision of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will be fulfilled by actions to be taken here and the aim should be to grow from strength to strength”.

Erasmus + Global Mobility funding has also been secured to facilitate student, staff and researcher mobility between UNAM and UEF, a core element of the partnership agreement, which aims to intensify co-ideation, co-development and co-creation on local and global issues in line with Ministry of Education and Culture’s Africa Action Plan.

During the visit, Vice-Chancellor Matengu and HE Ambassador Josob also met with UEF’s Philosophical Faculty to discuss how to accelerate and deepen collaboration in the field of education and it was agreed to explore possibilities for co-supervision of doctoral researchers at UEF and UNAM, with a view to establishing a joint postgraduate school. In addition, they participated in the launch of an event ‘Teacher education co-development in Finland and Namibia’ that was implemented under the umbrella of the Global Innovation Network for Learning and Innovation (https://gintl.org/about/).

A documentary titled Ageism in the Times of COVID-19 that was produced by UNAM and UEF’s social science departments was launched during Vice-Chancellor Matengu’s and HE Ambassador Josob’s visit. The documentary collaboration was funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland through the FinCEAL + BRIDGES programme administered by the Finnish University Partnership for International Development (UniPID) (https://www.unipid.fi/).The aim of the documentary is to raise awareness of how ageing is experienced in both Namibia and Finland and the project leads were Professor Janet Anand of UEF’s Department of Social Sciences and Assistant Professor Janet Ananias of the University of Namibia. The documentary can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/eREkuNq0nf

Ihmisiä.
In the photo: Professor Janet Anand, Director of International Affairs, Dr Riikka Pellinen, HE Ambassador Charles Josob, Doctoral Researcher Natalie Joubert, Vice Chancellor Kenneth Matengu, Rector Jukka Mönkkönen.