Farmers’ innovation contest focal point of Innovation Fair in Burkina Faso

Six farmers from Ghana who have won the WASCAL Innovation Contest over the past three years were given the opportunity to present their agricultural farmer innovations at the Farmer Innovation Fair for West Africa in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, West Africa, on May 15-16, 2015.

In addition to the six farmers from Ghana farmers from other West African countries such as Mali, Senegal, Niger, Benin, Togo, Cameroon and Burkina Faso attended the fair. The farmer innovations included institutional, technological (such as in production, processing, treatment of animal diseases and storage), and marketing innovations.

Action at the fair

“The fair attracted a lot of interest and we had politicians, practitioners, researchers, students and farmers visit our stand. It was inspiring and created an optimal environment for networking and the exchange of ideas” says Dr. Tobias Wünscher, senior researcher at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) and coordinator of the WASCAL innovation contest. “Our materials on display were in high demand and our innovators even entered into business negotiations in some cases” adds Zimi Alhassan, project partner at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Ghana (MOFA), who joined the fair together with six other partner representatives from NABOCADO, CSIR-SARI and CSIR-ARI.

The Innovation Fair was organized by Prolinova, Inades (Burkina Faso formation) and Réseau MARP. It received funding, among others, from Misereor, the Foundation McKnight and CCAFS (Research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security).


The Farmer Innovation Contest has the following objectives:

1. Identify farmer innovations; 2. Evaluate them, and communicate the best ones to other farmers; 3. Test the impact of the contest on farmers‘ innovative behavior.

Development research commonly expects farming innovations to be generated by universities and research organizations. The innovation potential of farmers is often ignored but should rather be the focus of our work. The advantage of locally generated innovations is that they have been developed under real conditions and constraints and are locally adapted. Therefore, the dissemination potential can be high.

Farmer Innovation Contest facts & figures:

The contest is being announced to farmers through the Ministry of Food & Agriculture (MOFA) and radio channels.
Farmers in Upper East Ghana send in applications with their innovations.
A local committee selects winners.
Winners receive awards, e.g. water pumps, motorbikes, roofing sheets.
So far three contest rounds (2012, 2013, 2014) have taken place. Round 4 is in preparation.
Total of eligible applications by 2014: 222.
Number of winning farmers: six (two per year).
Local partners: MOFA, NABOCADO, CSIR-SARI, CSIR-ARI, farmers.

Nine new graduates at the Doctoral Program Climate Change and Land Use

The students coming from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Niger and Nigeria had their Oral Examination on 16th, 17th and 24th April, 2015, at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana.

Djidjooh Mathieu Maurice AHOUANSOU: Hydrological Ecosystem Services under Climate Change and Land Use Changes in West Africa: Case study of semi-arid Water Shed, North Benin. Supervisors: Prof. Sampson K. Agodzo and Dr. Luc. O.C. Sintondji. Doctoral Thesis. Department of Agricultural Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana.

Lucette AKPA: Impact of Cashew Expansion on Land Use/ Land Cover Change and Carbon Stocks in the Forest-Savanna Transition Zone of North-East Cote d’Ivoire. Supervisors: Dr. Kyere Boateng, Dr. Dibi N’Da Hyppolite. Doctoral Thesis. Department of Agricultural Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana.

Laouali Mahamadou AMADOU: Simulating Agricultural Land-Use adaptation under the changing climate using Multi-Agent System in the Upper East Region of Ghana. Supervisors: Prof. Nicholas Kyei-Baffour, Dr. Emmanuel Morgan Attua. Doctoral Thesis. Department of Agricultural Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana.

Bernard BAATUUWIE: Multi-Dimensional Approach for Evaluating Land Degradation in the Savannah Belt of the White Volta Basin. Supervisors: Dr. Quang Bao Le, Dr. Wilson Agyei Agyare. Doctoral Thesis. Department of Agricultural Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana.

Biola Kazeem BADMOS: Multi-Agent Simulation Approach on the impact of Agricultural Land-Use Change Adaptation towards the effect of Changing Climate in Semi-Arid Ghana. Supervisors: Prof. Sampson K. Agodzo, Prof. Samuel Nii Odai. Doctoral Thesis. Department of Agricultural Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana.

Boundia THIOMBIANO: Exploring soil nutrient management and production performances to support building smallholder farms’ resilience to climate change: Case of South Western Burkina Faso. Supervisors: Dr. Quang Bao Le, Prof. Samuel Nii Odai, Dr. Denis Ouedraogo. Doctoral Thesis. Department of Agricultural Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana.

Demba TRAWALLY: Modelling heat stress and the impact of climate change on maize yield and biomass in Northern Region of Ghana. Supervisors: Dr. Wilson Agyei Agyare, Dr. Thomas Gaiser, Dr. Mathias Fosu. Department of Agricultural Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana.

Nat Prempeh OWUSU: Soil respiration across predominant land uses in the Vea catchment in the Sudan Savannah zone, North East of Ghana. Supervisors: Dr. Leonard K. Amekudzi, Dr. Kyere Boateng. Doctoral Thesis. Department of Agricultural Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana.

Souleymane Sidi TRAORE: Long-term vegetation Dynamics over the Bani River’s Basin as Impacted by Climate Change and Land Use. Supervisors: Prof. Eric Kwabena Forkuo, Dr. Tobias Landmann. Doctoral Thesis. Department of Agricultural Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana.


Prof. Samuel Odai
Department of Agricultural Engineering
Kumasi, Ghana
Email: snodai(at)

Can commercial cellphone providers help to gather high quality rainfall information?

The knowledge of spatio-temporal distribution of precipitation is of crucial importance for the scientific understanding of the regional hydrological cycle and for sustainable water management. High quality rainfall information is the prerequisite for e.g. decision making in agriculture, the operation of hydroelectric power production and also urban flash flood warning. Installation- and maintenance costs in combination with limited financial abilities make it more and more difficult for national meteorological and hydrological services to provide precipitation information in requested high spatial and temporal resolution on a country wide scale, particularly in West Africa.

It is the microwave links operated by commercial cellphone providers that may allow now for highly valuable complementary precipitation information: the attenuation occurring between emitted and received power at the link antennas highly correlates with precipitation intensity along the link-paths. Advantage is that the technical infrastructure, i.e. the MW-link network, is already in operation and maintained by the companies. While data retrieval techniques and respective algorithm development has proceeded in Europe and the Near East in the last years, great potential is particularly seen in the general data scarce region of West Africa. WASCAL has now co-sponsored and organized a 4-day workshop in Ouagadougou on this technique, jointly with experts from the University of Ouagadougou, Germany (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and University of Augsburg), France (IRD and GET), The Netherlands (University of Wageningen and KNMI), Israel (Tel Aviv University), and Switzerland (EAWAG), forming jointly the Raincell Africa initiative.

87 students, scientists and met service representatives from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin, Senegal, Niger, Mali, Togo, Nigeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon and the US followed the scientific presentations of the international experts and a 2 day training course offered by the experts from KIT, University of Wageningen and KNMI. Topics included the physics of microwave attenuation, the detection of wet and dry periods under a noisy received signal level, and the explicit rain rate estimation. Further focus was set on the effect of wet antennas and the spatial interpolation of individual link information. Algorithms were based on two public domain and open source programming languages, namely Python and R. It is particularly the use of these free open source software environments that can foster a wide distribution and application of the tools at West African universities, research institutes, met services or climate service centers like WASCAL. First MW-link attenuation data were already made available from TELECEL to the University of Ouagadougou. Representatives of the participating cellphone company TELMOB/ONATEL started now to elaborate further steps jointly with WASCAL and the University of Ouagadougou to realize an automatic and even countrywide data access, -analysis and -use.

Prof. Dr. Harald Kunstmann and Dr. Boubacar Barry, WASCAL, organizing committee of the Raincell Africa Workshop.

New Project: “Invest in Water”

An array of agricultural water management (AWM) and resource recovery & reuse (RRR) solutions have been proposed in the Volta and Niger River basins. These aim to improve agricultural productivity in different ways. They focus on various points along the transition between rural and urban landscapes, or between rainfed and irrigated farming. But are all these solutions effective and if so, how effective are they? Which solution should one choose in a certain context as the most appropriate for success? To answer these and more questions the project will assess the potential for wider use of agricultural water management and resource recovery & reuse solutions in the Volta and Niger river basins.

Researchers are specifically examining four topics: 1.) small water infrastructure for small holder irrigation, 2.) drip irrigation, 3.) safe and productive waste water reuse, and 4.) nutrient and organic matter recovery from waste. They are analyzing the social, economic and environmental effects of these interventions – alone and in combination – in the landscape. To achieve this they are mapping ecosystem services, assessing their benefits and trade-offs and examining business opportunities and gender and equity issues. Researchers will be working with, and supporting, up to twelve masters students, from Ghana and Burkina Faso, who are contributing to the project.

WASCAL’s focus and contribution within the Project will be to evaluate the actual or potential effects of the four selected AWM and RRR interventions in the delivery of multiple ecosystem services (ESS) in Burkina Faso and Ghana.

The project aims are to improve productivity, food security, livelihoods and environmental health. Producing RRR and AWM investment guides, policy briefs, technical reports and by conducting a variety of workshops, training and other key stakeholder engagement activities, researchers will:

Enable potential investors (farmers, donors, NGOs and the private sector) to better target AWM and RRR investments and other initiatives.
Provide evidence-based guidance to government agencies to help inform policy formulation on sustainable AWM and RRR interventions.
Build local capacity among government institutions, MSc students and others.
Foster increased public-private partnerships (PPP) and investments in sustainable AWM and RRR interventions.
Improve adoption rates of these solutions, especially by women, by providing gender-differentiated analysis and identifying opportunities to overcome gender-specific adoption barriers.

The Supporting Investment Decisions in Water and Land Management Across the Rural-Urban Continuum in the Volta – Niger Focal Region project aims to offer recommendations on what to use where, provide indications of business focused feasibility and identify successful strategies for expanding the use and benefits of these solutions. The project is one of six research projects under the Volta-Niger Focal Region of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) and will be funded for two years with about 700.000 USD. WLE is a global research program promoting a new integrated approach to sustainable intensification.

Main Funding Partners:

CGIAR Research Program on Water Land and Ecosystems (WLE).

Main Cooperation Partners:

IWMI – International Water Management Institute, Accra, Ghana
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)
iDE BurkinaFaso
Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Republic of Ghana (Women in Agricultural Development )
WASCAL – West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use


William M. Fonta, PhD

Senior Economist

WASCAL Competence Center

Off Tel: +226 50375423

Cell: +226 64429239

Email: fonta.w(at)

First batch of PhD Students graduated at Climate Change Economics School in Dakar

The following six students defended their theses successfully in front of an academic committee on April 13-15, 2015:

Pilo Mikemina from Togo. His doctoral thesis was about Collective action and farmers’ private climate change adaptation strategies in the Savanna region in Togo.

Elhadji Iro Illa from Niger wrote his thesis on Integrated assessment of vulnerability of rural households to climate stress across regional levels in Niger.

Yameogo Bindayaboa Thomas from Burkina Faso did his doctoral research on Social capital and farmers’ adaptations strategies to climate change in Burkina Faso.

John Appah from Ghana wrote his doctoral thesis about Psycho-socioeconomic analysis of rural farm communities’ risk perception and adaptive behavioural responses to climate change and variability in the Atankwidi River Basin of Northern Ghana.

Boris Lokonon from Benin wrote his thesis about Vulnérabilité des agriculteurs et des communautés, résilience aux chocs climatiques et stratégies d’adaptation dans le Bassin du Niger au Bénin.

Raymond Jatta from The Gambia graduated about Climate risk management strategies for rural communities in The Gambia and Senegal. Assessing the usefulness of cereal banking.

The ceremony in Dakar on April 17 was attended by the following officials:

Professor Ahmadou Aly Mbaye, Director of the WASCAL-UCAD program;
Dr. Mamadou Ouattara, Director of the PhD WASCAL program;
Dr. Laurent Sedogo, WASCAL Executive Director and Prof. Moudibo Haidara, Head of the WASCAL Governing Board;
Dr. Tobias Wünscher, Senior Researcher at ZEF and lecturerer at WASCAL-UCAD, representing ZEF-Director Professor von Braun;
Bernhard Kampmann, Ambassador of Germany in Senegal;
Abdoulaye Balde, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of Senegal.

The ceremony was broadcast on RTS1 (Radiodiffusion Télévision Sénégalaise) on April 22, 2015. You can watch the tv-report below.

98 doctoral and 60 master students have been enrolled in the complete WASCAL program to date. Twenty of the master students and 16 of the doctoral students (including the six in Senegal) have completed their studies.


Inauguration of the WASCAL Headquarters

On March 27, 2015 the headquarters of WASCAL was officially inaugurated in Accra, Ghana. As part of the ceremony the first graduates of the WASCAL doctoral program West African Climate System, led by the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Nigeria, were presented with their graduation certificates from WASCAL. Representatives of the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS), government representatives of Germany, various Ambassadors in Ghana and the ten participating West African countries, as well as partners from universities and research institutions attended the ceremony.

The move to the new WASCAL building and the inauguration of the headquarters on March 27, in Accra mark important steps in establishing WASCAL as a regional and international institution in the long run. As an additional cause for celebration, the first ten students of the WASCAL Doctoral Program received their graduation certificates. Coming from different WASCAL countries, the students graduated from the Doctoral Program “West African Climate System” located at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), Nigeria, where they worked on such topics as micrometeorology, climate modeling, impact studies in hydrology and agriculture, rainfall onset and secession, extreme events such as droughts as well as rainfall recovery over West Africa. Dr. Laurent Sédogo, the Executive Director of WASCAL, acknowledged the ten graduates as the first doctoral students to graduate from the WASCAL Doctoral Program. Ten more doctoral students from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana will defend their thesis in the coming weeks adding up to a total of 98 PhD and 40 MSc Students that will be graduating by the end of the year 2015.

At the inauguration ceremony for the new headquarters the international organization was honored by high-ranking guests from all WASCAL countries and Germany. Honourable Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, the Minister of State of Ghana, who presented a speech on behalf of the Vice President, Mr. Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, described WASCAL as a very important developmental tool through which science and education could interface to find appropriate responses to the phenomenon of climate change and its attendant adverse effects on the livelihood of people. „For the millions of people and the subregion, WASCAL is a source of hope that our environment
can be managed in a sustainable manner to ensure the future and the generations yet unborn“, he further emphasized and stressed that climate change is a threat to the basic foundation of the lives of the people of West Africa as about 80 per cent depend on agriculture. Similarly, the use of natural resources for their livelihood and agriculture contribute about 50 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of most countries in the region. He commended the German government for the support it continues to give WASCAL and further gave assurances that Ghana would continue to support WASCAL to ensure that the ECOWAS region collectively
benefited from its work.

The milestone that was achieved with the commission of the WASCAL headquarters in enhancing the visibility of science in West Africa was welcomed by Mr. Wilfried Kraus. The BMBF’s representative further expressed that WASCAL’s continued efforts will strengthen the long-lasting cooperation between African and German universities and research institutions, support working and career options for scientists in Africa, and strengthen the capabilities of the scientists and organizations in Africa to manage and to implement knowledge for their own objective over time.

Populations, natural resources and rural resiliencies to climate change in the North Benin – Workshop

The workshop was organized around four main themes and aimed to give greater visibility to research activities of WASCAL in Benin and to stimulate discussions and exchange among researchers, local communities and authorities on strategies of resilience to environmental and climate changes.

The four themes of the workshop were:

Challenges of field research in the study of populations and environmental and climate change
Collected data documentary relationship on environmental/climate change and population dynamics in northern Benin
Rural resilience to Climate Change in the northern Benin
Local resilience actions versus interim results Restitution

Chaired by the representative of the municipality of Matéri, the workshop was opened by Adolphe Sétondji Avocanh, Coordinator of the Dassari Watershed. During his welcome speech he stressed the importance of a constructive exchange on climate change effects, population dynamics and the impact of these changes on existing natural resources. He further presented WASCAL and its objectives, its centers of interests and the role of the involved stakeholders.

Papa Sow (WASCAL, ZEF), who initiated the workshop, emphazised the importance of exchange between all invited actors for a better understanding of climate change and its impacts on natural resources in the region. He further outlied the workshop objectives and presented his research on climate change and population dynamics, where he and his team focus on social aspects of climate change with a perspective from the social sciences to find solution-oriented approaches to adverse effects related to climate and extreme natural events.

The workshop offered an opportunity to present and discuss the interim research results with the participants and to submit the interim results to critical examination. The participants gave valuable feedback and supported the research with additional information. After two days of debate the discussions among participants of the workshop diverged on to the possibility of an institutional partnership, writing scientific research projects under the umbrella of WASCAL and future collaborations between scientists, local populations and policy makers.

Organization Committee

Adolphe Sétondji Avocanh, WASCAL Coordination Unit of the Dassari watershed in Tanguiéta.
Email: a.avocanh(at)
Phones: 0022995151808 / 00229-97540798/ 00229-90987818

Jane Maureen Ngonjock
Email: janescorpy(at)

Yasmina Adebi, Téléphone: 0022997160464
Email: yadebi(at)

Scientific Committee

Papa Sow, Researcher, Center for Development Research, University of Bonn (Germany)
Boubacar Barry, Director of the WASCAL Competence Center, Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)
William Fonta, Researcher WASCAL Competence Center Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)
Karen Greenough, Researcher WASCAL Competence Center Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso)
Daniel Callo-Concha, Researcher, Center for Development Research, University of Bonn (Germany)
Kiansi Yantibossi, Executive Secretary U-AVIGREF
N´Sera Midama Parfait, Head of Ecology Service, Pendjari National Park

For further information, please download the flyer or the program in English or French:

Download program in English
Download Flyer in English

Download program in French
Download Flyer in French

ReHCONS Workshop: Connecting West Africa’s Meteorological and Hydrological Services in a Regional Observation Network

Approximately 80 experts from National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, research institutions and universities of the WASCAL mandate region participated in the workshop. The workshop was opened by Dr. Laurent Sédogo, Executive Director of WASCAL, Dr. Dr. Dietrich Pohl, Ambassador of the German Embassy in Ouagadougou, and Prof. Filiga Michel Sawadogo, Minister of Secondary, Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Currently, the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NHHS) face many challenges to maintain their data collection stations and to provide conclusive meteorological and hydrological data. The network density of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services is low in many West African countries and below standards recommended by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Frequent failures in equipment lead to gaps in the data records. The NMHS stated problems concerning data archiving, quality control and analysis including deficiencies in staff number (mostly affected by personnel retirement) and capacity building.

Dr. Laurent Sédogo, Executive Director of WASCAL, stressed the importance of working together in the effort to combat climate change: “It is only together that we can handle the issue of climate change. Not every single country has the scientific capacity, the human capacity, and the technical capacity to tackle climate change. For the northern countries climate change may be a scenario of the future, but we in West Africa, we already live the reality of climate change.” “WASCAL aims to assess, connect and enhance the existing national observation networks”, explains Dr. Boubacar Barry, director of the WASCAL Competence Center. “Such cooperation would benefit all participants.” WASCAL will provide the networks with a number of stations to fill the gaps in the network. Training of staff members will further contribute to a successful running of the stations. WASCAL’s data infrastructure will serve as a shared dissemination platform. Based on the data provided by the national services, WASCAL in return will be able to improve models, climate change scenarios and offer climate service to stakeholders for the West African region.

The workshop followed two regional workshops organized by WASCAL in August 2010 during which the Directors and representatives of the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services presented the history and the current situation of their respective organizations, on tasks, weaknesses and strengths as well as their expectations of how WASCAL can support and strengthen the West African observation networks on climate and water resources. “Following up with the results from the workshops in 2010, we now established a timeline and agreed on a communique to line out the further steps towards the establishment of the Regional Hydro-Climate Observation Network. Another important result was the drafting of a joint Data Sharing Policy, which regulates the rights and regulations concerning data exchange” summarized Dr. Mouhamadou Bamba Sylla, Coordinator of the WASCAL Observation Networks.


Coordinator Observation Networks: Dr. M. B. Sylla, sylla.b(at), syllabamba(at)

Press and Public Relations: Jelana Vajen, press(at)

OUR CLIMATE: THINK.ACT.CHANGE! – Inauguration of the Climate Change Awareness Park for Children

The Mmofra Foundation Climate Change Awareness Park for Children was inaugurated by the Minister of Lands and Mineral Resources of Ghana, Mr. Nii Osah Mills, in presence of the ambassador of Germany in Ghana, Mr. John Ruediger, the Executive Director of WASCAL, Dr. Laurent Sedogo, the Chairperson of the Mmofra Foundation Board of Directors, Mr. Christian Reindorf, the Director of the Foundation, Prof Esi Sutherland, a representative of the British High Commission in Ghana and several other personalities.
Education is an essential element of the global response to climate change. It helps young people understand and address the impact of global warming. In view of the above, the German Embassy in Ghana funded a Climate Change Awareness and Education project developed by Mmofra Foundation in collaboration with WASCAL MRP Climate Change Education / University of The Gambia. The Project seeks to extend the impact of Mmofra Foundation’s unique community children’s park and to give the students of the WASCAL MRP Climate change and education hands-on experience in the area of education and awareness raising concerns on climate change.

In his address during the ceremony, Dr. Sedogo expressed WASCAL’s appreciation to the Germany embassy for funding and giving the opportunity to students to have a hands on experience and support their journey to raise the awareness of younger generations. He also mentioned that the initiative also provided WASCAL a platform to extend its activities to the broader community through partnership with a nongovernmental organization – the Mmofra Foundation. During the ceremony, the children actively participated in the amusement and entertainment of the audience through performance of sketch which were very educative and informative.
The exhibition for the climate change awareness park for children was officially launched by the Hon.Minister. The items displayed for the exhibition were conceptualized by the WASCAL students. They also served as the facilitators and guides throughout the exhibitions. The things that were displayed at the exhibition were in a chronological order in which visitors moved from the general information about the climate to the causes, effects, adaptation, mitigation and the way forward of climate change. The last two features to be seen were the aquaponics and the biofuel toilet. The project climate change awareness park for children which has been officially launched will contribute to raise public awareness especially children on climate change. It is of great importance that the child, future leader be aware that when the last tree dies the last man will die.

By the students MRP & Climate Education, UTG.


Dr. Musa Sowe
Director Master’s Research Program Climate Change and Education
Email: msowe(at)

First Master Students Graduated in Climate Change and Human Security at the Univesity of Lomé

Akangoa R. Abora, Olusegun Adeyemi Adegbile, Idelbert Dagbegnon Behanzin, Mahamadou M. Dicko, Agossou Gadedjisso-Tossou, Malan Ketcha Kablan, Abravi Essenam Kissi, Issoufou Liman Harou, Diouf Ousmane Sane, and Abroulaye Sanfo successfully completed the program. The students who participated in the truly international program come from Togo, Niger, Nigéria, Mali, Bénin, Côte d’Ivoire, Sénégal, Burkina Faso, and Ghana.

The graduation ceremony was honored by the attendance of Mrs. Dzifa Ama Gameti who represented the Ministry of Higher Education and Research of Togo. The president of the University of Lomé and member of the WASCAL Governing Board Prof. Messanvi Gbeassor, Dr Laurent Sédogo, Executive Director of WASCAL and Prof. Kouami Kokou, Director of the Master Program Climate Change and Human Security expressed their gratitude to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the national and international partners who support the program. „We are well equipped and well qualified to apply tools and methodologies for assessing the impacts of climate change on populations to ensure human security and the fight against the negative and harmful effects of climate change on their business activities and other.“ said Abravi Essenam Kissi.

The Master Program Climate Change and Education started in November 2012. The second batch of students started course work in 2013.


Prof. Kouami Kokou,
Director of the Master Program Climate Change and Human Security

WASCAL‘s first graduates – Ten students successfully completed their Master‘s degree in Climate Change and Adapted Land Use at FUT-Minna

Thirteenth (13th) October 2014 will remain a ‘memorable day’ in the history of WASCAL CC & ALU hosted by the Federal University of Technology, Minna. The MRP scored a big first in the WASCAL programme….sending forth the first set of WASCAL graduates into the research community to give back to the world after the huge investment on them as scientists. Two years of hard work finally paid off.

Our August dignitaries graced the occasion. Prof Musbau A. Akanji (the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Minna) and his team of Principal Officers received the guests which comprised the Honorable Minister of Environment of Nigeria, who was very unavoidably absent but ably represented by Dr Jare Adejuwon, the Director of Climate Change Department in the Ministry; the German Ambassador to Nigeria who was ably represented by Mr Dirk Schulz; Chairman of WASCAL Board (Prof Haidara), WASCAL Board member representing Nigeria and Second Vice Chairman (Prof Osuntogun); Executive Director and his team (Dr Sedogo, Ouattara and Mr Ofori); The Vice Chancellor of FUTA ably represented by Prof Bayo Omotosho; representatives of our two German Partner Universities (Dr Thiel and Mrs Boutros, who is also the GRP/MRP Coordinator of WASCAL); members of WASCAL CC&ALU International Regional Advisory Board comprising Prof Bayo Omotosho (Director WACS FUTA), Dr Eric Forkuo (representing KNUST), Dr Georges Abbey (representing University of Lome), Mrs Christine K (from HBF representing the Civil Society), Dr Jare Adejuwon (representing Focal Ministry); members of FUT Minna Advisory Board led by the Dean of Postgraduate School, Prof (Mrs) Stella Zubairu; staff and students of WASCAL and representatives of the Press.

The ‘big day’ tagged WASCAL DAY commenced with the ceremony marking the graduation of the 2012/2013 Batch of WASCAL CC &ALU students. While the sponsoring Ministry in Germany, BMBF was showered with gratitude for the foresight demonstrated through the WASCAL programme, congratulatory and encouraging messages were passed on to the students to be worthy Ambassadors of WASCAL. The commitment of the Nigerian Government to the successful implementation of WASCAL was emphasized by the Honourable Minister’s representative. To add glamour to the occasion, the traditional dancers, Gwape Troupe, invited to entertain the guests decided to invite dignitaries to the ‘shake body’ to the entertaining music. From there, the newly completed WASCAL CC & ALU building was commissioned. The guests were introduced to WASCAL by the Director CC & ALU at the reception, while along the corridors of this simple but beautiful building, A0 Size posters were exhibited showcasing the students’ research. Each student stood beside his/her poster to explain the content to the guests. During the luncheon organized to round up activities for the day, three students were recognized and presented with personalized plaques: Mr SANOGO, Karamoko (Most improrved student); Miss KIMA, Sophie A. (Best Research); and Mr ADENLE, Ademola Andrew (The Overall Best Student). The 2012/2013 Batch of WASCAL CC & ALU graduates have since left for their various countries as the very first ALUMNI of the programme. The Director of CC&ALU gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the University Management, guests and WASCAL staff and students to the success of the WASCAL DAY in FUT Minna.

Read more on the event at


Dr. Appollonia Okhimamhe
Director of the Master Research Program Climate Change and Adapted Land Use
Associate Professor of Geography
Head, Department of Geography
Federal University of Technology,
PMB 65, Niger State, NIGERIA
Email: aimiosino(at)

2014 World Agriculture Prize awarded to world-renowned soil scientist Paul Vlek, former Executive Director of WASCAL

In his early career Paul Vlek researched the benefits in preventing nitrogen (N) losses by deep-placement of urea in flooded rice, a technology now applied on over 2 million ha of rice cultivation today. However having experienced the long delay between discovery and adoption of this technology, Paul Vlek drew attention “to the all too often delay between invention of new agricultural practice and adoption which can run into decades. New approaches in agricultural research are needed to avoid such time lapses by engaging and integrating all stakeholders in the innovation process from the onset of research”.

This interdisciplinary research approach has been a hallmark of Paul Vlek’s career working in Africa, Uzbekistan and elsewhere to ensure the research outcomes lead to innovation and adopted new practice. An example was the GLOWA Volta project in West Africa (2000-2010), an interdisciplinary program addressing the impact of global climate change and water management in the region.

The award is presented by the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences (GCHERA), with Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU). They established the GCHERA World Agricultural Prize, which was first awarded in 2013, to recognize the contribution of a faculty member from an agricultural and life science university who has significantly contributed to the mission of the university through education, research and knowledge transfer for the benefit of society. This annual award is given for the second time in 2014.

Professor ZHOU Guanghong, the President of Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU), welcomed Paul Vlek to the GCHERA 2014 World Agricultural Prize Award Ceremony on September 20 and John Kennelly, President of GCHERA, announced him as the World Agriculture Prize Laureate 2014 during GCHERA’s Annual Meeting at NAU.

John Kennelly held up Professor Paul Vlek as a most deserving recipient of the World Agriculture Prize based on his outstanding contributions to education, research and service on the sustainable use of natural resources over a career that has spanned 40 years.

“This recognition as an example to others is particularly timely as we face the challenge of reducing the environmental footprint of agriculture while increasing food production to meet the needs of a rapidly growing world population,” he said.

In his acceptance speech Paul Vlek highlighted that “agriculture is a complex socio-ecological endeavour with many trade-offs. To better guide our land-stewards (farmers) and policymakers, the next generation of agricultural scientists must be trained in the modern tools of complexity science and be able to work across disciplines and with multiple partners and stakeholders. “

“Only with such interdisciplinary understanding will the serious threat of land degradation to food security and to the delivery of essential ecosystem services be addressed. The cost of rehabilitation of degraded land, a non-renewable resource, can be prohibitive. The agricultural scientific community must place this concern much higher on its research and educational agendas.”

Christian Borgemeister, Director of ZEF, University of Bonn, welcomed the award recognising Paul Vlek’s distinguished career. A favourite expression of Paul Vlek is “While you are up and about you may as well do the best you can”, is a reflection of his motivation, conviction, dedication, and his leading by example which have made a tremendous impact on people. “The Center ZEF he help to build has become one of the world’s best Science and Technology Think Tanks and is listed among the best university-affiliated Think Tanks.”

“Paul Vlek has implemented research and education projects in South America, West and East Africa and Central Asia. Similar projects often end with the research findings published, but without bringing them to practitioners and policymakers. In contrast, the projects headed by Paul Vlek have ended in a different way by translating innovations into action and introducing development approaches to national agricultural policy-makers and practitioners.”

The Award Ceremony was followed by the 2014 GCHERA International Seminar and World Dialogue on Education and Innovation in Agriculture and Life Sciences, “Fostering Agriculture Innovation Systems Networks through the Linkage of University, Industry, and Government,” September 20-21.

The recipient Professor Paul Vlek

Since 1998, Paul Vlek has been the Director of the Center for Development Research (ZEF), which he co-founded, at Bonn University, Germany. He has held a number of senior appointments over his 40-year career both in Germany and overseas including Director of the Agro-Economic Division of the International Fertiliser Development Center (IFDC, USA), Director of the IFDC in Africa, Director of the Institute of Agronomy in the Tropics and Dean of the Faculty Agriculture at the Georg –August-University Göttingen, Germany, and founding Executive Director of West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) in Ghana. In 2011, Paul Vlek was appointed to the UNESCO chair on Education for Sustainable Development at Urgench State University, Uzbekistan.

The World Agriculture Prize

The Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences (GCHERA), with Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU), established the GCHERA World Agricultural Prize in 2012 to recognise the contribution of a faculty staff member from an agricultural and life science university who has significantly contributed to the mission of the university through education, research and knowledge transfer for the benefit of society. This annual award is given for the second time in 2014. NAU sponsors the prize.

The Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agriculture and Life Sciences

The Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agriculture and Life Sciences (GCHERA) was established in 1998 but in 2011 the governance structure was changed so that instead of individual university membership, its membership is now made up of 13 worldwide higher education associations who themselves represent individual universities in the agricultural and life sciences areas. For example, China is represented by the Education Professional Committee of the Chinese Association of Agricultural Sciences Societies, Europe is represented by the Association for European Life Science Universities, USA is represented by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities and Canada is represented by the Association of Canadian Faculties of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine.

The Mission of GCHERA is to encourage and support global co-operation among agricultural and life sciences higher education associations, and their member universities, so as to enhance innovation and leadership in education, research and outreach. GCHERA provides a forum for sharing of best practices as well as being a global voice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the world today. Agricultural and life science universities have a critical role to play in providing the human resources and the research and innovation needed to meet the challenge of feeding a rapidly growing world population whilst reducing the environmental footprint of our food and non food production systems.

For more information, please contact:

Bonn University : Mrs. Alma van der Veen aveen(at)

GCHERA: Dr Simon Heath secretariat(at)

WASCAL: Ms Jelana Vajen press(at)



Nanjing Agricultural University:

Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn:

GCHERA Nanjing: