Strengthening Recruitment, Development and Retention of Faculty in the East African Community

Carnegie Corporation of New York funds research to address data and intervention gaps.

Kampala, Uganda/WASHINGTON—The Demographics of African Faculty (DAF) consortium today announced that it has secured $390,000 in funding from Carnegie Corporation of New York for a two-year research project focusing on understanding and addressing faculty challenges. The financial commitment will help enable a detailed study of the challenges that higher education institutions (HEIs) in the East African Community (EAC) face related to faculty-to-student ratios and the composition of faculty, which directly affect the quality of education in the region.

The DAF initiative was established in 2018 to systematically analyze staffing challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. This involved using administrative data and policy norms to describe the current context and project the future supply of and demand for faculty. The consortium is comprised of the Association of African Universities (AAU), Education Sub Saharan Africa (ESSA) and the Population Reference Bureau (PRB). Using funding from The Mastercard Foundation, the DAF consortium undertook a pilot research project (DAF I) in Ghana, in partnership with Ghana’s National Commission for Tertiary Education [NCTE–now restructured and renamed the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC)].

In 2020, the DAF consortium expanded to include the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), an intergovernmental agency. The aim was to seek funding to extend and scale up the Ghana pilot study with a new study in the EAC. It is this new research project in the EAC (known as DAF II) that Carnegie Corporation of New York has agreed to fund. Implementing partners for DAF II are IUCEA, AAU, ESSA and PRB.

Through DAF II, the partners aim to strengthen the ability of higher education stakeholders to plan and implement evidence-informed responses targeted at improving the numbers and nature of quality faculty within higher education institutions in the EAC.

“We believe that quality higher education for students in all countries in sub-Saharan Africa can only be achieved if there are enough qualified and skilled faculty. To make this happen, adequate planning for recruitment, development and retention of faculty is essential.” said Lucy Heady, chief executive officer at ESSA. “Having accurate data is crucial in this planning process. Staffing projections must be based on actual figures and solutions to the faculty crisis must be driven by evidence.”

The DAF II project builds on existing efforts to improve the recruitment pipeline for future academics in the EAC. The DAF consortium will provide data required to propel stakeholders to take urgent steps toward achieving effective and globally competitive higher education systems.

“Within the East African Community, there is a lack of comprehensive and consolidated data and insights on faculty across the region, which makes it challenging to plan for effective regional solutions,” said Professor Mike Kuria, deputy executive secretary of IUCEA. “As the lead member for research and analyses, IUCEA will work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that DAF II achieves maximum impact for the benefit of young people and educators in the member states of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.”

As part of their broader focus, DAF partners will collect and analyse data on current challenges with faculty and establish a methodology to project future supply and demand for faculty in the region. Collaborating to increase stakeholder awareness of the faculty challenges ; to facilitate buy-in for faculty development-related initiatives; and to inform policy, strategic planning and resource allocation will also be prioritized. Most important, the partners will work with higher education stakeholders to codevelop solutions and make evidence-informed policy recommendations.

“AAU’s participation in this project is to complement our efforts at the continental level toward ensuring the provision of the requisite human resources needed to achieve the African Union’s vision of Agenda 2063 and other global goals.” said Professor Etienne Ehouan Ehile, secretary general at AAU.  “Addressing systemic and data gaps in the broad higher education ecosystem to build a strong, resilient and quality education system across Africa is even more critical in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The DAF II project will also benefit from ongoing research by some consortium members on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education. Findings will enable policymakers, higher education institution leaders, the public and other stakeholders to better understand how to manage threats to HEIs resulting from or exacerbated by the pandemic.


“PRB is honoured to be a member of the partnership and looks forward to drawing on our rich research and demographic expertise to ensure that the consortium’s analyses are conducted with transparency and rigor.”
Jeff Jordan, PRB president and chief executive officer.


Claudia Frittelli, a program officer for Higher Education and Research in Africa, said “This initiative demonstrates the criticality of regional collaboration and transparency to strengthen Africa’s higher education sector. We look forward to seeing evidence-informed solutions implemented within the East African Community by its higher education stakeholders.” The Higher Education and Research in Africa initiative is a key part of the international program at Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Carnegie Corporation of New York and implementing partners IUCEA, AAU, ESSA and PRB are committed to strengthening quality faculty supply in the EAC through the DAF II project. We call on all stakeholders to join forces with us to achieve an even greater impact in the East African Community and beyond.

About the Implementing Partners

Education Sub Saharan Africa (ESSA)

Education Sub Sharan Africa is a charity using evidence to improve education in sub-Saharan Africa, enabling young people to achieve their ambitions and strengthening society.
Twitter: @ESSA_Africa
Media inquiries:
Natalie Nkembuh, ESSA communications manager,

Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA)

IUCEA, based in Uganda, is an institution of the East African Community responsible for the development of higher education in the region. Its mission is to develop mutually beneficial collaboration between its member universities (in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda).
Twitter: @iucea_info
Media inquiries:
Dr. Benedict Mtasiwa, chief principal, Exchange Programmes, Links and Partnerships, IUCEA, +256775969012,
Ms. Wilhelmina Balyagati, senior communication and public relations officer, IUCEA,, +256774165467,

The Association of African Universities (AAU)

The Association of African Universities is an international nonprofit, nongovernmental organization created by African universities to promote cooperation among universities and between universities and the international academic community. It is headquartered in Accra, Ghana and has a membership of more than 400 HEIs and three regional offices–North Africa Regional Office (NARO) in Cairo, Egypt; East Africa Regional Office (EARO) in Khartoum, Sudan; and North America Office (NAMO) in Washington, DC, USA.
Twitter: @aau_67
Media inquiries:
Felicia Kuagbedzi, communications and publications officer, AAU,, +233246425147

Population Reference Bureau (PRB)

PRB promotes and supports evidence-based policies, practices and decision-making to improve the health and well-being of people throughout the world.
Twitter: @PRBdata.
Media inquiries:
Liselle Yorke, senior PR manager, PRB,; +1-202-939-5463

About the Philanthropic Funder

Carnegie Corporation of New

Carnegie Corporation of New York was established in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the corporation’s work focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: education, international peace, and a strong democracy.
Twitter: @CarnegieCorp