ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies (ERuDeF Institute) and St. Monica University (SMU) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote collaboration between the two institutes. ERuDeF Institute is Cameroon’s pioneer establishment for biodiversity studies with its main campus at Mile 18, Muea Road, Buea.

By Ndimuh Bertrand Shancho

The partnership agreement was sealed with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between SMU and ERuDeF Institute which will permit SMU issue ERuDeF Institute graduates with certificates upon completion of degree programs including Higher National Diplomas, professional Bachelor degrees and Masters degrees.

“We have decided to partner with the best of what is local. ERuDeF Institute is actually the best in biodiversity conservation studies in the whole country,” said Professor Prof. Januarius Jingwa Asongu, President/CEO of SMU.

He added, “The partnership with ERuDeF Institute is also for the development of leading edge research and grant projects and to make sure that students from the ERuDeF Institute get recognised degrees via SMU as it goes on with her accreditation process with MINESUP.”

The SMU boss said the partnership with ERuDeF Institute is very important because ERuDeF Institute is the leading institution in environmental studies and biodiversity management in Cameroon.

In addition, given that SMU does not have enough expertise, joining forces with ERuDeF Institute will enable both institutions “do something really great.”

“It is indeed a win-win partnership because ERuDeF Institute is a great research institute and while she is still following up on her authorization with the Ministry of Higher Education, we are going to merge our resources to make sure that at the end of the day, students from there can get recognised degrees and at the same time, we learn from their expertise in the field,” Prof. Asongu said.

Corroborating the SMU boss, the President Founder of ERuDeF Institute, Louis Nkembi, said besides mentoring and helping the institute to grant higher degrees, the partnership with SMU will also enable ERuDeF Institute to develop and extend her programmes in other areas with special focus on the environment.

The representative of the Minister of Higher Education, Professor Jacques Famme Ndongo, Professor Bella C. Bienvennu, the Sub-Director of PHEI at the Ministry of Higher Education (MINESUP), said they encourage such partnerships because they are a clear indication of commitment to meet very high standards.

He encouraged SMU not to relent in her contribution to quality higher education in the country, as given that the government alone cannot provide education to every Cameroonian.

At the same occasion, SMU and Savana State University, USA also signed a partnership agreement. The agreement is aimed to ensure student and faculty mobility between both universities and the development of cutting-edge research and grant projects.

SMU is an American-style private catholic Institution accredited in Cameroon by ordinance of creation No E14/0028/MINESUP/SG/DDES and ministerial letter No. 14/01319/L/MINESUP/SG/DDES/ESUP/SDA/OAGS, created in 2009  to provide opportunities for students to achieve their educational goals and become contributing citizens to the global community.

ERuDeF Institute on the other hand, is Cameroon’s pioneer biodiversity studies Institute with registration No.020/MINEFOP/SG/DFOP/SDGSF/CSACD created in 2012 to provide leading edge and holistic professional training in conservation development management to the future cream of conservation development leaders.

The institute offers undergraduate and postgraduate training research mentorship to traditional students and adult learners in Agroforestry, Environmental Journalism, Biodiversity Conservation, Environmental Education, Mountain Studies, GIS for Development and NGO & Fundraising Studies, leading to the award of a National Diploma, Higher National Diploma, Professional Bachelor degree, and Professional Masters degree.