As clearly stipulated in the Higher Education Proclamation No. 650/2009, community service is part and parcel of the duties of academic staff of higher learning institutions. University senate legislation requires all academic staff to allocate part of their working time on community service activities.
Wollo University is one of the public institutions of higher learning in Ethiopia. WoU has the mandate bestowed up on it by law to conduct research, disseminate research out puts and innovations, and provide consultancy, community, and training services. Accordingly, it is expected that most community service projects to be the results of prior research engagements of staff. Ultimately, research should result in either intervention to solve community problems or innovation idea to be commercialized and disseminated to community (technology transfer project/community service project). Understood in this way, there is strong linkage between research, technology transfer and community service activities. However, the idea for community service project can come from variety of sources and it is not a must that a community service project should be preceded by research project by the same staff. Yet, the need for the community service project has to be justified by evidence from research findings of others, need assessment by the community service team or demand from the community or organizations.
Since its inception, WU has been active in the teaching-learning process and in undertaking research and provision of community services. The results are promising given the university’s short history. Lately WoU has been going through major changes and has expanded the research and community service organizational structure by establishing Director Offices for research and publication and community service and training. Together with the increasing involvement of colleges, schools, and institutes, community service is going to be one of the major engagements of the university.
These developments call for a critical assessment of the university’s experiences in community services with the goal of setting things systematic so that future endeavors in this area are to be laid on objective, and efficient and systematic foundations. This will involve revising and improving the university’s community service policy, and developing manuals and guidelines for community services. To this end, WUCS directorate office has developed the necessary guideline and policy to enable the community service activities as per the need of the wider community. Therefore, the WUCS directorate office has the following vision, missions and objectives to accomplish its community service programs afoot.
Wollo University envisions being one of the top five universities in terms of outstanding quality education, research, technology transfer, and community service provision in Ethiopia by 2017 E.C/2025 G.C.
Wollo University has the following missions to accomplish:
- To identify, design and provide community service priority areas that shall cater to the developmental needs of the country;
- To set guidelines to prioritize, formulate and implement community development projects targeted at bringing solutions for major constraints of development in the country;
- To inspire both the faculty and students to relate their academic pursuits to the needs of the community through on- going exchanges, field work and outcomes that propel and support community development and enable the development of ideas and models that can readily be useful in both learning and development;
- To serve as a center of research on particularly topics that adds value to community and national development;
- To ensure the transfer and dissemination of research outputs to end users;
- To increase staff research commitment from academic and basic research to problem solving and applied research;
- To develop trusts of the society to the university, strengthen partnership and increase learning interests and acceptance;
- To facilitate social, economical, cultural policies, strategies, and programs of national development;
- To encourage knowledge, skill, and technology transfer between the university and the community;
- To increase problem solving and decision making abilities of the community.
WOLLO UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY SERVICE POLICY
- Community Service activities will aim at fulfilling the University’s vision, mission and values statements, and the national aspiration of the country;
- Community service in the University shall be demand driven, problem solving and aimed at knowledge transfer and poverty reduction in the community, in particular, and all over the country, at large;
- The University will take into account goals and priorities established by appropriate government bodies in establishing its community service priorities;
- The University shall recognize and value recognized community services that have direct benefit to the community and the country at large;
- The University management may give priority in terms of resource (facilities and funding) allotment to one or more selected thematic areas, depending on prevailing needs and relevance;
- The University encourages community service to be multidisciplinary in design and approach;
- The University’s overall community service focus is diversely expressed in each college/school focus area(s). Each focused area within the college/school/institute/faculty allows for community service convergence and the optimization of service resources;
- Any community service project proposal submitted for grant must be based on the identified focused areas of the University;
- Any community service project proposal granted by the university to be conducted by the name of the University must pass through the review process of the University;
- Any community service that does not fall within the theme of the faculty/college/school/institution thematic area(s) is called “complementary community service”, although this is not discouraged, it shall not take precedence over identified thematic-area in the allocation of University resources;
- Every community service project shall have a principal implementer, he/she should be the person within his/her respective faculty/college/school/institution who is authorized to act for and to assume the obligations imposed by the guideline, requirements, and conditions for a grant or grant application;
- Every community service project co-implementers should have the obligations imposed by the guideline, requirements, and conditions for a grant or grant application;
- For the enhancement of community service project effectiveness, the team could engage with partners from relevant public or private sector organizations or NGO's;
- Staff shall be free to conduct community service activities, provided that they adhere to the University’s and Community’s ethical principles and values;
- All academic staff members are eligible to apply for community service project grant in the University;
- All community service projects granted by GOs and NGOs could be administered by the university;
- All academic staff members are required to provide community service, and the University is committed to support all community service with appropriate resources where necessary;
- A community service project proposal that requires long term resources shall be approved by the administration council of the University;
- Within the defined thematic area(s) of the university, the faculty/institution/college/school identifies priority community service topics;
- Each institution/ faculty /college/school has responsibility in developing, implementing and monitoring their respective community service projects. University level approval and oversight of institution/ faculty /college/school community service projects lies with the University, delegated to the CSD.
WOLLO UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY SERVICE GUIDING PRINCIPLES
The following principles provide inspiration and guidance to undertake community services that could be used as criteria to guide institutional decisions about the kinds of training, consultancy and outreach services that the University should support.
- Accessibility: the services delivered by the community service providers should be accessible;
- Quality: Community service providers should ensure the delivery of quality service;
- Community involvement: community service shall be delivered with active involvement of the community;
- Teamwork: community services shall be delivered in team.
- Accountability: Community service providers should be accountable for the service they deliver. Thus, community service provision is based on quality management procedures and high-level standards to meet the needs and demands of the client communities. It should also be in fast and efficient service delivery system and communication channel;
- Inclusiveness: the University actively promotes the participation of the institution/ faculty/college/School on grounds of qualification, competence and experience;
- Sustainability: the University strives to promote sustainability of community service in all its aspects so as to ensure a continuous capacity building under situation of dynamic needs, economic, technological, social and political changes;
- Reciprocity: Community service is initiated and undertaken in partnership with client organizations and in the contexts of mutual learning and knowledge and experience exchanges;
- Respect for Diversity of Knowledge: Community service contributes to collaborative generation of knowledge where the integrity of different kinds of knowledge (e.g. academic knowledge and local knowledge) is respected;
- Partnership: Community service of the University strives to foster local as well as global partnership and interactions among all participants;
- Relevance: Community service responds creatively and proactively to the critical problems of the client organizations and communities while managing risks responsibly (e.g. being alert to unintended consequences of the service to the works of the organizations/communities; maintaining scholarly standards);
- Responsiveness: Community service should be relevant to the needs and demands of the client organizations and communities through appropriate and priori assessment;
- Strategic Effectiveness: The University community service contributes to other key strategic initiatives of the University;
- Cost effectiveness- Community service develops the ability and mentality of making more gains from lesser cost;
GUIDE ON COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECT PROPOSAL WRITING
Part I: Preliminary information
- Official letter
- Cover page: includes the following elements
- Logo of the University (at Header)
- Title of the project
- Name of project developers. Write full names and contact address including telephone and email.
- Submitted to: WU-CSD Office
- Institution (University, college, school, institution or department).
- Date (MM/DD/YYYY)
- Table of content (in a separate page)
- Acronyms (in a separate page)
The project proposal document should be accompanied by an official letter and minutes that include the original signatory bodies and official stamp of the college/school/campus applying for funding.
Part II: Executive summary
This is not an outline of the proposal and does not require a summary of each section of the proposal. Keep it short; in few cases, it may exceed a single page. In general it is wise to address the following components:
- Title of the project
- Goal, objectives, expected outputs
- Project area/site
- Project duration
- Target population or beneficiaries
- Project owner/holder
- Project funding organization
- Total or partial funding
- Total project costs [estimate]
- Directly funded [to whom this application is submitted]
- Additional [estimated] funding from other funders
- Assumptions and risks
- Assumptions (the conditions that could affect progress, success or long-term sustainability of the project)
- Project risks (the potential for unwanted happenings)