Fifty-Nine students from 15 West African countries who benefitted from the WASCAL fully funded scholarship in the international master’s programme in energy and green hydrogen are currently going through a series of orientations in the Federal Republic of Germany as they begin their four-month practical work and thesis completion at Julich, RWTH Aachen University and Rostock University.
The one-week onboarding programme, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF is in the final stages of the 24-month master’s programme which kicked off in Niger in 2021. Within these years, the students studied various Green Hydrogen academic courses at the University of Lome, Togo; Felix Hophoet Boigny University, Cote d’Ivoire; Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal and University of Abdou Moumouni, Niger.
Speaking at the event, Mrs Oda Keppler, Head of Sub-division Sustainability from BMBF spoke highly of the pioneering effect of the programme.
“The topic of green hydrogen can serve as a door opener here. The WASCAL and SASSCAL Ministerial Conference in Berlin underlined this in February 2023. The WASCAL International Master Programme in Energy and Green Hydrogen is, without a doubt, one of a kind. It is setting new standards in terms of training, as well as regional and international cooperation. This programme is a pioneer: For the first time it brings together students from all 15 ECOWAS states.” She said.
Dr. Moumini Savadogo, Executive Director of WASCAL, emphasized the excitement to be working with global partners,
“We are glad to be working with our global partners, especially with BMBF because we believe in their vision of green hydrogen to be able to contribute to its international cooperation vision green hydrogen on encouraging international research cooperation, delivering research along the entire innovation and value chain; establishing lasting international science and innovation networks among others.” He underlined.
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rüdiger, Rector of RWTH Aachen University stated his anticipation towards working with the students for the next four months.
“ At Aachen, our doors are opened for you students to ensure you have maximised the best of opportunities available to you.” He underscored.
Dr Peter Jansens, a Member of the Board of Directors, Forschungszentrum Jülich also challenged the students to strive hard to positive influencers in their world.
“I hope that many of these students will become future leaders in their countries in science, in business, and …. who knows in government. It is therefore an equal pleasure and a true honour to welcome senior leaders from African countries.” He stated.
The scholars shared their expectations for the four months ahead, and what they hope to take back to their communities.
The 24-month programme, prepares and trains a new generation of interdisciplinary professionals capable of proposing adapted solutions to provide sustainable energy in West Africa. The programme’s interdisciplinary approach allows for a better understanding of present-day energy infrastructures in West Africa, their strengths and weaknesses, energy policies, practices in a changing climate context and the search for sustainable solutions.
The courses are split into blocks of lectures, each block running for up to two weeks. Lecturers for each block are drawn from universities and institutions within WASCAL, RWTH Aachen University and FZJ. The German partners support this programme and are involved in teaching, hosting and supervision of students for their thesis work in Germany.