Thursday 30 July 2015

Building Visibility and Global Relevance through International Networks

Dr Abiodun Momodu, Obefemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
Cohort 1 CIRCLE Visiting Fellow

Abiodun Momodu reflects on his participation at the System Dynamics Summer School at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts.

This post was originally shared on 18th July, 2015 on the CIRCLE forum for CVFs. 

Its great to be a 1st Cohort CIRCLE Visiting Fellow. In the last couple of days, I have been part of a 40 member Summer School of the System Dynamics Society, held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA from 15 to 17 July 2015. Participants were from various countries - 13 in all (including USA, France, UK, Australia, Italy, Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroun (Canadian), Mexico, South Africa, Pakistan, Indonesia, Oman) - were in attendance. It was a great opportunity of networking and interacting with renowned experts in the field. One of the Facilitators of the Summer School, Andy Ford has been in practice since 1967. The least experienced amongst the Facilitators of the Summer School had fifteen years of consistent, well funded practice in the field of System Dynamics. It is a good thing that there is CIRCLE; but the School made me realise that for anyone to be visible in any field of research, there has to dogged practice in that endeavour. Apart from meeting experts I have ever wished to meet in the field at the Summer School, I was able to also interact with those from Africa with the aim of strengthening our collaborative efforts. Hopefully, a Kenya-Nigeria Collaboration will blossom in the years ahead in the areas of SD practices as a methodology and application to examining systems in their entirety, including climate change, sustainable development, health system etc.

In one of the final presentations, there was a blend of models used for the analysis. This was well funded by USAID on climate change related study on Limpopo Region in South Africa.

Now the African Chapter holds an annual Conference in Kenya every January. New members are welcome to join. And in case anyone is interested in know the basics of the System Dynamics for their anaylsis, there is a training slated for University of Ibadan later this year.

I believe CIRCLE is a good forum for all participants to grasp what it takes to be globally relevant and become visible in research and the academia. Conference follows in the couple of days ahead!

Thank you DFID. Thank you ACU. Thank you AAS. I believe it is the beginning. More will come.

Abiodun Momodu, KNUST-CERD

More about Abiodun, his research and the research of other CVFs involved in the CIRCLE programme can be found here:

Wednesday 29 July 2015

CIRCLE at the 4th Climate Change and Population Conference on Africa

Dr Benjamin Gyampoh from the African Academy of Sciences is keeping us updated from the 4th CLIMATE CHANGE AND POPULATION CONFERENCE ON AFRICA, 29 – 31, July, 2015, where we are pleased to have a strong CIRCLE presence.

CIRCLE Visiting Fellows at the conference, from the left: Cathy, Celestine, Batholomew, Divine and Philip

Dr Gyampoh will be making a presentation on CIRCLE titled: “CIRCLE: developing human capital and increasing knowledge for management of Climate Impacts”

6 CVFs are also presenting their work at this conference. They are:
  1. Mercy Derkyi:  Exploring Gender, Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity through an Intersectionality Lens: Derkyi, M; Adiku, S, Akwen, N, Dovie, D ,Codjoe, S , Nelson, V and E. Awuah
  2. Phillip Antwi-Agyei: Participatory mapping of multiple stressors contributing to vulnerability across scales in the Savannah zone of Ghana.  P. Antwi-Agyei, S.N.Codjoe; S. Adiku; B.D.Dovie
  3. Divine Odame Appiah: Smallholder Farmers’ On-Farm Adaptation to Climate Variability in the Bosomtwe District of Ghana. Divine Odame Appiah and Sampson Yamba
  4. Cathy Mungai: Does Gender Influence the Uptake of Climate-Smart Agriculture? Experiences from Nyando, Kenya. Catherine Mungai and Mary Nyasimi
  5. Olga Laiza Kupika:  Embracing local ecological knowledge in climate change adaptation in Mukwichi communal land, Zimbabwe. Olga Laiza
  6. Batholomew Aleke: ICT adoption in the wildlife sector: Implications for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in Africa. Bartholomew Ituma Aleke, Kupika Olga L.

Celestine Afiukwa is also attending the conference but not making a presentation.

ILRI supports early career agricultural researchers through the CIRCLE fellowship program

By Joyce Maru, The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).  

For the original post, please click here. The Climate Impact Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement in Sub-Saharan Africa (CIRCLE) program is an initiative of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) that is developing the skills and research output of early career researchers in Africa in the field of climate change. 
Started in 2014, the program runs until 2018 and is managed and implemented by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and the African Academy of Sciences (AAS).

How ILRI participates in CIRCLE 

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is a partner in the program and is both a ‘host’ and a ‘home’ institute for CIRCLE, which is integrated into ILRI’s graduate fellowship program.
At ILRI, the program is coordinated by the Capacity Development Unit and supported by the Livestock Systems and Environment (LSE) program and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).
In 2015, ILRI, through the LSE program is hosting Abraham Belay, an MSc Fellow from Ethiopia’s Hawassa University’s Wondo Genet College of Forestry and Natural Resources who is supervised by John Recha of CCAFS.
As part of the partnership with CIRCLE, the CCAFS program nominated Catherine Mungai, an emerging young scientist with the program, to study climate change and adaptation at the University of Nairobi for one year after which she will resume her employment at ILRI. ILRI will host more fellows for the duration of the program and nominate other interested emerging researchers undertaking research in climate change.

Why a focus on climate change in agriculture?

With about 70% of Africa’s population depending on agriculture and 40% of the continents total exports being agriculture-based, the impact of climate change on agriculture is a major concern and there’s urgency to focus and address the issues through research. Agriculture related research themes under the CIRCLE remit include:
Impact of changing precipitation on agricultural production
Development of new and climate-resistant crops
Climate-smart agricultural practices
Opportunities in new climate regimes

Why focus on early/emerging career researchers?

The aim of the program is not simply to produce a body of research, but to strengthen mechanisms for better research uptake and to support institutions develop and realize a holistic and more (developmental) strategic approach to climate change research.
On their own, the fellowships will have important but limited benefits but by concurrently strengthening the capacity of organizations and institutions to manage, organize and support the career development of ‘next generation’ researchers, it is foreseen that fellows will return to organizations with a more enabling and sustainable environment for further research.
This program is nurturing early career academics for the long-term future development of research, while also offsetting some of the common disadvantages they face in obtaining funding and time for scientific enquiry.

Catherine Mungai
Host institute: Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation, University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Area of research: Climate change, food security, gender, policy

She says one of the unique features of the CIRCLE program is its mentoring and supervision structure which enables fellows to benefit from knowledge and experience from a wide range of researchers in different institutions.

‘In my case, I have a mentor from ILRI, two supervisors from University of Nairobi and an advisor from the University of Greenwich. I look forward to drawing a lot of inspiration and enriching my research experience by interacting with the entire team.’

Joyce Maru is a capacity development officer at ILRI.