Fellowship intensified to support research on climate change

Thirty-seven researchers from nine African countries including Ghana are to benefit from a programme to generate knowledge to assist the continent to effectively tackle climate change. 

The countries, under the auspices of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and with support from other partners are; Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

The 37, who have been selected to be Visiting Fellows of the Climate Impact Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement (CIRCLE) fellowship programme, are lecturers and researchers under its third cohorts programme.

CIRCLE Visiting Fellows (CVFs) would spend a year in another university or research organisation in Africa, conducting research on the impact of climate change, under the supervision of a senior academic. 

It said the research would focus on one or more of the five thematic areas – agriculture; energy; health and livelihoods; water; and policy.

Professor Benjamin Gyampoh, CIRCLE Programme Manager said “Most parts of Africa are already experiencing the impact of climate change. 

“It is important for the continent to research ways of reducing the impact if we are to effectively adapt. Developing the required skills base to generate the needed knowledge to inform decision making and actions is highly critical.”

“CIRCLE is geared to training researchers to produce quality research to inform policy and contribute knowledge for countries and communities to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change.”

By 2020, between 75 and 250 million people in Africa are projected to be exposed to increased water stress and yields from rain-fed agriculture and could be reduced by up to 50 percent in some countries as a result of climate change, according to the United Nation Environment Programme.

The beneficiaries of CVFs, who commenced their fellowship in January 2017, are converging in Nairobi, Kenya, at the AAS secretariat for an Induction Workshop from 8- 10 February, according to a release to the Ghana News Agency.

Launched in 2014, CIRCLE has successfully supported Fellows to publish their research ensuring there is a growing body of knowledge the continent could use to develop climate change strategies and interventions. 

The programme has also achieved a 50:50 gender balance in the recruitment of Fellows, ensuring that female scientists have equal access to opportunities to grow their careers and contribute to developing the continent.

The researchers are exploring projects that range from how climate change will impact different genders, the aged, and the diet and food security of rural communities and how small scale farmers perceive and are adapting to climate change, among others.

 “I am thrilled to be selected as a CIRCLE Visiting Fellow and am looking forward to maximising this opportunity to undertake research that will help the continent and its people to be better able to adapt to the global environmental changes and improve their livelihoods,” said Mavis Akuffobea of the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI), Ghana, who is undertaking her one-year CIRCLE Visiting Fellowship at the University of Daresalam, Tanzania.

Five Ghanaians are part of this cohort, according to Ms Deborah-Fay Ndlovu, Communication Manager of AAS.

Source: GNA

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