The Zambia experience proved that a U of I/Southern Illinois University partnership worked and plans were made to apply the same institution-building concept in Pakistan. In 1984, the project began in the field with a mixture of between 4 and 8 SIU and U of I faculty on the ground.
Personnel sharing was conducted in the same manner as Zambia, with 60 percent of the workforce coming from U of I and 40 percent coming from SIU. The history of the university was small. Colorado State University led a project in the 1960s and 1970s to build infrastructure and initiate the college. The joint U of I/SIU project, begun some 10 years later, was designed to grow the university into a regional university through human resource development. "Through the project, 215 faculty and research scientists were trained in advanced degree programs at 35 geographically disbursed U.S. universities, and 500,000 square feet of classroom, laboratory, office and library space was constructed to house more than 2400 students," said John Santas, then International Programs and Studies coordinator in the College of Agriculture for the University of Illinois. When the project ended in 1994, 75 percent of the faculty were trained in the U.S. and Europe.
To this date, the NWFPAU still credits the U of I/SIU presence at the university to be a factor in its development. Oval Myers, project leader at NWFPAU (1991- 1994) noted that through the involvement of the university in capacity building, the university grew to more than 1200 students. Unfortunately the project ended some 5 years early in 1994 due to the funding limitation by the Pressler Amendment.
In 2003 -- nine years after the door was locked on the NWFPAU program, the University of Illinois and SIU again reached out to the Pakistanis, but to this time ask for assistance with a developing project in human resource training in Afghanistan. NWFPAU serves as the host training institution in a program designed to train Afghan lecturers and faculty in areas such as horticulture, irrigation, food preservation, agriculture economics and crop science.
"In 2003, we could say that the NWFPAU was in better shape than when we left it in 1994 -- we can say that of few institution building efforts that have been undertaken," said Myers.