VACANCY FOR COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER – RENEWABLE ENERGY PRIORITY – RESEARCH THEME (PRT-RE)

Location:                          WASCAL Competence Centre in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Duration of contract:      3 years fixed term renewable contract Date of publication          20th June, 2020 Closing date                      20th August, 2020 Supervisor                        Director of Research Background WASCAL seeks to hire Communications officer to work directly on its Renewable Energy Priority Research Theme. The position holder will work under the Continue Reading

VACANCY FOR DATA TECHNICIAN – RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECT

Location:                          WASCAL Competence Centre in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Duration of contract:       3 years fixed term renewable contract Date of publication          1st June 2020 Closing date                     30th June 2020 Background WASCAL seeks to hire Data Technician. This is a local position and shall be based at the WASCAL Competence Centre in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. WASCAL Continue Reading

HYDRO-CLIMATE AND REMOTE SENSING TRAINING OPPORTUNITY FOR WEST AFRICAN STUDENTS & EARLY CAREER SCIENTISTS

A fundamental goal of WASCAL is the improvement of West African livelihoods by supporting research, capacity building and decision making with cutting-edge knowledge on climate change and adapted land use. Consequently, many research and services provision activities of WASCAL focus on the development, extension and validation of research-based methods, technologies and adaptation options in the field of hydrology, meteorology, agriculture, biodiversity, remote sensing, and climate modelling amongst others.

In light of the consolidation phase of the core research programme (CRP), the WASCAL Competence Centre in Burkina Faso (WASCAL CoC) is jointly organising a hydro-climate & remote sensing training course in partnership with its German partners KIT/IMK-IFU, University of Augsburg, DLR and DKRZ.

WHO CAN ATTEND?

WASCAL students and scientists but also up to 10 additional seats are available for other students and early career scientists working in the field of meteorology, hydrology and remote sensing.

SESSIONS & FACILITATORS:

· SESSION I- Climate and Eddy-covariance stations of the Core Research Program: Specifications, data availability & maintenance (Berger S, Salack S)

· SESSION II- Station-based precipitation database, related gridded datasets and their retrieval from WADI (Bliefernicht J, Salack S)

· SESSION III- Introduction to algorithms to retrieve precipitation information from commercial microwave link: Fundamentals, data acquisition system & algorithms (Boose Y)

· SESSION IV- Remote sensing: Selected methods and tools for derivation of land surface characteristics for West Africa, and introduction of WASCAL-EUMETCAST antenna (Gessner U, Forkuor G)

· SESSION V- Climate model data and metadata: planting, growing and harvesting in the WASCAL Data Discovery and CERA/WDCC Portals (Hamann I)

· SESSION VI- Regionally adapted and fully coupled Regional Climate Model simulations (WRF, WRF-HYDRO description, data needs, case studies) (Kunstmann H)

SESSION VII- An analysis of high resolution regional climate simulation results and its retrieval from WADI (Olusegun C)
SESSION VIII- Fundamental objectives and principles of RCM bias correction (Laux P, Lorenz M)

TRAINING COST

The training course is free. Funding for the course covers only training, coffee breaks and lunch for participants. Therefore, every participant is expected to bear the cost of his/her transportation, breakfast, dinner and accommodation.

OTHER CONDITIONS FOR APPLICANTS

Beside WINDOWS operating system, the potential participants must also be familiar with Linux/Unix operating system. Having a basic programming skill is an advantage (e.g. MATLAB, FORTRAN, PYTHON, bash scripting, etc.). To participate, please send a motivation letter and an updated curriculum vitae (1 page max.) to sylla.b(at)wascal.org and cc to salack.s(at)wascal.org with the subject line “CoC March training” before 28th of February 2017, 16h30 GMT.

During the coffee and lunch breaks there will be time for poster presentations and scientific discussions. The participants should therefore prepare and bring a poster to the training course showing their current research.

DATE & VENUE

The training sessions will be held from 14th to 21st of March 2017 in the Conference room of WASCAL Competence Centre, Blvd Moammar El-Khadafi, 06 BP 9507 Ouagadougou 06, Burkina Faso. The language of instruction will be English.

CONTACT

For more information please contact commey.n(at)wascal.org

HYDRO-CLIMATE AND REMOTE SENSING TRAINING OPPORTUNITY FOR WEST AFRICAN STUDENTS & EARLY CAREER SCIENTISTS

2017-03-14 – 08:00h to 2017-03-21 – 16:00h


TRAINING OPPORTUNITY: HYDRO-CLIMATE AND REMOTE SENSING FOR WEST AFRICAN STUDENTS & EARLY CAREER SCIENTISTS

A fundamental goal of WASCAL is the improvement of West African livelihoods by supporting research, capacity building and decision making with cutting-edge knowledge on climate change and adapted land use. Consequently, many research and services provision activities of WASCAL focus on the development, extension and validation of research-based methods, technologies and adaptation options in the field of hydrology, meteorology, agriculture, biodiversity, remote sensing, and climate modelling amongst others.

In light of the consolidation phase of the core research programme (CRP), the WASCAL Competence Centre in Burkina Faso (WASCAL CoC) is jointly organising a hydro-climate & remote sensing training course in partnership with its German partners KIT/IMK-IFU, University of Augsburg, DLR and DKRZ.

WHO CAN ATTEND?

WASCAL students and scientists but also up to 10 additional seats are available for other students and early career scientists working in the field of meteorology, hydrology and remote sensing.

SESSIONS & FACILITATORS:

· SESSION I- Climate and Eddy-covariance stations of the Core Research Program: Specifications, data availability & maintenance (Berger S, Salack S)

· SESSION II- Station-based precipitation database, related gridded datasets and their retrieval from WADI (Bliefernicht J, Salack S)

· SESSION III- Introduction to algorithms to retrieve precipitation information from commercial microwave link: Fundamentals, data acquisition system & algorithms (Boose Y)

· SESSION IV- Remote sensing: Selected methods and tools for derivation of land surface characteristics for West Africa, and introduction of WASCAL-EUMETCAST antenna (Gessner U, Forkuor G)

· SESSION V- Climate model data and metadata: planting, growing and harvesting in the WASCAL Data Discovery and CERA/WDCC Portals (Hamann I)

· SESSION VI- Regionally adapted and fully coupled Regional Climate Model simulations (WRF, WRF-HYDRO description, data needs, case studies) (Kunstmann H)

SESSION VII- An analysis of high resolution regional climate simulation results and its retrieval from WADI (Olusegun C)
SESSION VIII- Fundamental objectives and principles of RCM bias correction (Laux P, Lorenz M)

TRAINING COST

The training course is free. Funding for the course covers only training, coffee breaks and lunch for participants. Therefore, every participant is expected to bear the cost of his/her transportation, breakfast, dinner and accommodation.

OTHER CONDITIONS FOR APPLICANTS

Beside WINDOWS operating system, the potential participants must also be familiar with Linux/Unix operating system. Having a basic programming skill is an advantage (e.g. MATLAB, FORTRAN, PYTHON, bash scripting, etc.). To participate, please send a motivation letter and an updated curriculum vitae (1 page max.) to sylla.b(at)wascal.org and cc to salack.s(at)wascal.org with the subject line “CoC March training” before 28th of February 2017, 16h30 GMT.

During the coffee and lunch breaks there will be time for poster presentations and scientific discussions. The participants should therefore prepare and bring a poster to the training course showing their current research.

DATE & VENUE

The training sessions will be held from 14th to 21st of March 2017 in the Conference room of WASCAL Competence Centre, Blvd Moammar El-Khadafi, 06 BP 9507 Ouagadougou 06, Burkina Faso. The language of instruction will be English.

CONTACT

For more information please contact commey.n(at)wascal.org

INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY WORKSHOP AND NETWORKING SESSIONS ONGOING IN BENIN AND NIGER

Two international research methodology workshop and networking sessions between WASCAL and Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Studies from Algeria (PAUWES) are concurrently ongoing at the University Abomey-Calavi, Benin and University Abdou Moumouni de Niamey, Niger.

Forty (40) students have been drawn from eighteen (18) countries in West Africa, East Africa and North Africa to participate in the workshops which run from 27th February, till Sunday 12th of March, 2017. With focus on Climate Change and Energy in Niger, and Climate Change and Water Resources in Benin, the workshop is focused on enriching and extending the current curricula of WASCAL and Pan African University institute of Water and Energy Studies from Algeria on Climate Change related issues and providing a platform for students from WASCAL and PAUWES to interact and network on scientific issues.

In her opening remarks, Director of WASCAL’s Capacity Building Department, Professor Janet Adelegan was confident that by the end of the two sessions, both universities would have built strong ties, networked, and created lots of synergies in their quests to serve as the solution providers Africa has been looking for to tackle its numerous climate change problems in the areas of energy and water resources.

The workshop, will also increase the visibility of WASCAL as a climate change research and capacity building centre of excellence in West Africa, while building partnerships with new stakeholders.

At the end of the workshop, ten students will ultimately be selected to have a two-month intensive internship at WASACL’s Competence Centre in Burkina Faso, under the sponsorship of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany (BMBF).

This is a collaborative programme between the Pan African University in Tlemcen, Algeria and WASCAL’s Masters Research Programme (MRP) Climate Change and Energy in Niamey, Niger and Graduate Research Programme (GRP), Climate Change and Water Resources in Abomey Calavi, Republic of Benin, with Lecturers drawn from across Western and Southern Africa.

New Wascal Logo

The new logo was approved and confirmed during the last governing board meeting held in Bonn, Germany. The new logo reflects the values and tells the story of the mission of WASCAL in its bid to remain a strong brand in West Africa.

The logo contains an African map. It underlines strength and the outline of Africa represents the root, identity and sense of ownership of WASCAL as an indigenous institution that serves Africa.

Next, there are pearls of rings on West Africa, symbolizing the West African countries being pulled together by the string of pearls (something fragile, but can be very beautiful) representing WASCAL’s ability to adapt to initiatives. The various colours signifies the beauty of unity and oneness.

The colours of the logo are light Blue and shades of Gray.

The new logo registers the strong presence and intent of WASCAL as an indigenous organization that seeks to unify players in the climate sector in West Africa
The new logo, has come to replace the existing one. For further information on the use of the logo for other forms of internal and external communication, all are advised to contact the Public Relations office in Accra, Ghana. Welcome to the new phase and face of WASCAL.

FOR FURTHER ENQUIRIES, CONTACT: PUBLIC RELATIONS DEPARTMENT,ACCRA,+233 244 99 24 30, nii.commey@wascal.org

Announcement: Application Process for Doctoral and Master’s Fellowships at the Graduate Studies Program has been extended

Please note: The call for application has been extended to January 22, 2016.

WASCAL (West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use) is a large-scale research-focused Climate Service Center designed to help tackle severe challenges posed by climate change and thereby enhance the resilience of human and environmental systems to climate change and increased variability. It does so by strengthening the research infrastructure and capacity in West Africa related to climate change and by pooling the expertise of ten West African countries and Germany. Through the Graduate Studies Program WASCAL’s Capacity Building Program helps educate the next generation of scientists to attain an intimate knowledge of different climate related issues in order to help the region develop suitable management strategies.

The WASCAL Graduate Studies Program supports four Master’s and six Doctoral Programs implemented at ten lead Universities across West African countries. WASCAL provides full scholarships to the Doctoral and Master’s students in all the ten lead Universities with comprehensive training and research support. Doctoral students may spend up to six months at a host institution in Germany. The language of instruction is English. English and French language training programs are provided for all graduate students. Graduate students have access to the research facilities set up through WASCAL funding and located at various watersheds in West Africa. German partner universities collaborate with the Doctoral and Master’s Programs in the areas of curriculum development, visiting professorships and co-supervision of graduate students.

The WASCAL Graduate Studies Program offers its students:

High quality research and education on climate change and its impact on human environmental systems.
Up to six months at a host institution in Germany (Doctoral Programs only!)
Interdisciplinary working approach
International lecturers and supervisors
English language classes
Scholarship and research budget, including a personal laptop computer

Doctoral Programs

West African Climate System
Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Nigeria
Apply now: Download call for applications and application form and the recommendation letter

Climate Change and Water Resources
Université d’Abomey-Calavi (UAC), Benin
Apply now: Download call for applications and application form

Climate Change Economics
Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (UCAD), Senegal
Apply now: Download call for applications and application form

Climate Change and Biodiversity
Université Felix Houphouet Boigny (formerly Université de Cocody‐Abidjan), Côte d‘Ivoire
Apply now: Download call for applications and application form

Climate Change and Land Use
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana
Apply now: Download call for applications and referee form and application form

Climate Change and Agriculture
L’Institut Polytechnique Rural de Formation et de Recherche Appliquée, (IPR-IFRA), Mali and University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Apply now: Download call for applications and application form

Time Frame

The time frame of the doctoral programs is three and a half years. During the first three months, students take English and/or French language classes and common courses at the language centers. During the next 6 months student participate in lectures at their Graduate Research Program and prepare their proposals. After their proposals have been approved by their supervisors, the students conduct their field research for 12 to 24 months. For the remaining period of time, students will write up their thesis and are offered to spend up to six months at a German host institution.

Requirements

Candidates applying for a Doctoral Program must have a Master’s degree in a relevant discipline in addition to a BSc degree (second class upper division).
Citizenship in one of the WASCAL member country (Bénin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Sénegal, Togo)
Five credits including Mathematics and English Language that are also equivalent to Francophone university grading system
Gender-balanced selection decision
Applicant should show proficiency in English Language.
Meet additional requirement of the lead university

Master’s Programs

Climate Change and Human Security
University of Lomé, Togo
Apply now: Download call for applications and application form

Climate Change and Education
University of The Gambia (UTG), The Gambia
Apply now: Download application form

Climate Change and Energy
Université Abdou Moumouni de Niamey (UAM), Niger
Apply now: Download call for applications and application form

Climate Change and Adapted Land Use
Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria
Apply now: Download application form

Time Frame

The time frame for the Master’s programs is two years. During the first year students participate in the course program of their Graduate Research Program and work on their research outline. Research will be conducted during the second year within a period of six to nine months. Students finish the program with writing up their thesis during the last three to six month.

Requirements

Candidates applying for Master’s Program must have a minimum BSc degree (second class upper division) in a discipline relevant to the respective program.
Citizenship in one of the WASCAL member country (Bénin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Sénegal, Togo)
Five credits including Mathematics and English Language that are also equivalent to Francophone university grading system
Gender-balanced selection decision
Applicant should show proficiency in English Language.
Meet additional requirement of the lead university

Application Process

The application process is handled jointly by WASCAL and the individual Graduate Programs. Applications can be submitted online to any of the Graduate Studies Program for the 2015/2015 season until January 22, 2016. The details of the application process can be found at the respective programs pages (see linkes above). Shortlisted candidates will be contacted and invited for interviews by January 29, 2016.

More information on the Graduate Studies Program and on open applications can be found here or at the respective universities websites.

Thesis Research Awards for Non-WASCAL Sponsored West African Nationals

Update: The deadline has been postponed to february 29, 2016

Applicants must have completed all course requirements for the degree as well as be in the research and/or writing phase of the dissertation. The dissertation must be on climate change and any of the thematic areas of biodiversity, agriculture, adapted land use, climate systems, education, human security, economics and energy. In addition, applicants should not have received any other funding to support the dissertation activities outlined in the PhD or MSc proposal/budget. Priority is given to candidates pursuing a career in government ministries, research and/or teaching at a public institution in West Africa.
Requests should be supported by the following documentation:

Evidence of an attachment to, or sponsorship by, an institution in West Africa engaged in government ministries, research and/or training in the public sector in the region.
Evidence of registration in a recognized PhD or MSc program in a relevant area.
An approved research proposal, complete with clearly defined objectives, substantial literature review and a well-outlined analytical framework, as well as pertinent research methodology.
A statement of limitations and policy relevance of the study.
A letter of reference from the thesis supervisor, and a letter of institutional support from the Head of Department.
A detailed budget including evidence of any additional financial support that may be necessary to complete the program.
Curriculum vitae.

Processing of Application for PhD Thesis Research Award

Upon the receipt of the proposal and the supporting documentation, it is sent to two external reviewers in the relevant programs of the WASCAL Graduate Studies Program, who comment on the adequacy of the proposal. In the event that the reviewers suggest corrections to be made and give positive feedback, the comments are sent to the students to incorporate and then resubmit the revised proposal for a final review. Once the proposal is cleared by at least two reviewers, it is presented together with the comments from the external reviewers to the Thesis Grant Sub-Committee of the Graduate Studies Program, who will go through the recommendations of the reviewers and make recommendation to the Capacity Building Department of WASCAL to approve for thesis funding. It is after this that research grants can be awarded.
Application Deadlines for 2015/2016 Academic Session

The PhD and MSc Thesis Research Awards applications deadline is January 30, February 29, 2016.
Proposal and supporting documents for thesis grant should be sent to:
The Director of Capacity Building,
WASCAL Accra Office, CSIR Office Complex,
Agostino Neto Road, Airport Residential Area, PMB CT 504, Cantonments-Accra.
Email: intern.w(at)wascal.org; weto.s(at)wascal.org

Announcement: Application Process for Doctoral and Master’s Fellowships at the Graduate Studies Program Started

Note: The call for application has been extended to January 22, 2016. Read more

WASCAL (West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use) is a large-scale research-focused Climate Service Center designed to help tackle severe challenges posed by climate change and thereby enhance the resilience of human and environmental systems to climate change and increased variability. It does so by strengthening the research infrastructure and capacity in West Africa related to climate change and by pooling the expertise of ten West African countries and Germany. Through the Graduate Studies Program WASCAL’s Capacity Building Program helps educate the next generation of scientists to attain an intimate knowledge of different climate related issues in order to help the region develop suitable management strategies.

The WASCAL Graduate Studies Program supports four Master’s and six Doctoral Programs implemented at ten lead Universities across West African countries. WASCAL provides full scholarships to the Doctoral and Master’s students in all the ten lead Universities with comprehensive training and research support. Doctoral students may spend up to six months at a host institution in Germany. The language of instruction is English. English and French language training programs are provided for all graduate students. Graduate students have access to the research facilities set up through WASCAL funding and located at various watersheds in West Africa. German partner universities collaborate with the Doctoral and Master’s Programs in the areas of curriculum development, visiting professorships and co-supervision of graduate students.

The WASCAL Graduate Studies Program offers its students:

High quality research and education on climate change and its impact on human environmental systems.
Up to six months at a host institution in Germany (Doctoral Programs only!)
Interdisciplinary working approach
International lecturers and supervisors
English language classes
Scholarship and research budget, including a personal laptop computer

Doctoral Programs

West African Climate System
Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Nigeria
Apply now: Download call for applications and application form and the recommendation letter

Climate Change and Water Resources
Université d’Abomey-Calavi (UAC), Benin
Apply now: Download call for applications and application form

Climate Change Economics
Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (UCAD), Senegal
Apply now: Download call for applications and application form

Climate Change and Biodiversity
Université Felix Houphouet Boigny (formerly Université de Cocody‐Abidjan), Côte d‘Ivoire
Apply now: Download call for applications and application form

Climate Change and Land Use
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana
Apply now: Download call for applications and referee form and application form

Climate Change and Agriculture
L’Institut Polytechnique Rural de Formation et de Recherche Appliquée, (IPR-IFRA), Mali and University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Apply now: Download call for applications and application form

Time Frame

The time frame of the doctoral programs is three and a half years. During the first three months, students take English and/or French language classes and common courses at the language centers. During the next 6 months student participate in lectures at their Graduate Research Program and prepare their proposals. After their proposals have been approved by their supervisors, the students conduct their field research for 12 to 24 months. For the remaining period of time, students will write up their thesis and are offered to spend up to six months at a German host institution.

Requirements

Candidates applying for a Doctoral Program must have a Master’s degree in a relevant discipline in addition to a BSc degree (second class upper division).
Citizenship in one of the WASCAL member country (Bénin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Sénegal, Togo)
Five credits including Mathematics and English Language that are also equivalent to Francophone university grading system
Gender-balanced selection decision
Applicant should show proficiency in English Language.
Meet additional requirement of the lead university

Master’s Programs

Climate Change and Human Security
University of Lomé, Togo
Apply now: Download call for applications and application form

Climate Change and Education
University of The Gambia (UTG), The Gambia
Apply now: Download application form

Climate Change and Energy
Université Abdou Moumouni de Niamey (UAM), Niger
Apply now: Download call for applications and application form

Climate Change and Adapted Land Use
Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria
Apply now: Download application form

Time Frame

The time frame for the Master’s programs is two years. During the first year students participate in the course program of their Graduate Research Program and work on their research outline. Research will be conducted during the second year within a period of six to nine months. Students finish the program with writing up their thesis during the last three to six month.

Requirements

Candidates applying for Master’s Program must have a minimum BSc degree (second class upper division) in a discipline relevant to the respective program.
Citizenship in one of the WASCAL member country (Bénin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Sénegal, Togo)
Five credits including Mathematics and English Language that are also equivalent to Francophone university grading system
Gender-balanced selection decision
Applicant should show proficiency in English Language.
Meet additional requirement of the lead university

Application Process

Note: The call for application has been extended to January 22, 2016. Read more

The application process is handled jointly by WASCAL and the individual Graduate Programs. Applications can be submitted online to any of the Graduate Studies Program for the 2015/2015 season until January 8, 2016. The details of the application process can be found at the respective programs pages (see linkes above). Shortlisted candidates will be contacted and invited for interviews by January 15, 2016.

More information on the Graduate Studies Program and on open applications can be found here or at the respective universities websites.

The Grazing Game goes online

From an original board game, the team of the work package 6.2 Agent-based Modeling converted the grazing game to an online version. This online version grazing game is a new tool to explore the behavior and coping scoping strategies to negative impacts of climate change of both local farmer-herders and policy makers and consequences of their management decisions. It is designed to facilitate social learning that is crucial for co-management of landscapes in the drylands under climate uncertainties.

To play the game go to: http://grazing.bavarfaraz.net/

Contact: Dr. Grace Villamor, gracev(at)uni-bonn.de

Second WASCAL Ministerial Conference

The Ministers of the ten WASCAL member countries and Germany, as well as representatives of the ECOWAS commission met on July 9, 2015 in Berlin to discuss the future collaboration in supporting WASCAL.

The purpose of the meeting, which took place on invitation of the German Federal Minister for Education and Research (BMBF), Prof. Johanna Wanka, was to discuss the future sustainability of WASCAL. It was agreed upon that the member states will finance and operate the center themselves in the future. Representatives of Guinea-Bissau and Guinea followed the invitation to the meeting to discuss a future membership in WASCAL and the expansion of WASCAL to the whole ECOWAS region.

This is the second meeting of the WASCAL Ministerial Council. The first meeting took place in February 2012, in Lomé, where the WASCAL partner countries signed the cooperation agreement.

Read more in the German press release of BMBF:
http://www.bmbf.de/_media/press/PM_0709-095.pdf

Further links:
www.bmbf.de/press/3824.php

Focus on Young Researchers: Farmer Innovation in Rural Ghana: Determinants, Impacts and Identification

Why were you interested in farmer innovations, and what exactly have you been looking at?

My PhD research was on the identification, determinants and welfare impacts of farmer innovation in rural Ghana. Research institutions have developed numerous technologies that are being disseminated to farmers for adoption. However, many smallholders do not adopt these technologies due to, inter alia, lack of accessibility, high costs, and inappropriateness of the technologies for their local conditions. Some farmers are very creative and have developed their own locally-adapted innovations to address the challenges they face. However, if you look at the agricultural innovation literature, most of the studies focus on the externally-driven innovations developed by researchers, while those developed by farmers are often neglected or under-valued. So my research, in contrast to existing studies, looks at famer innovations. I examined if farmer innovations can also play a role in the livelihoods of rural farm households, and how to build the capacity of farmers to generate more innovations.

Where in Ghana did you do your research and how long did you stay there?

I conducted my field research in the Upper East region of Ghana from August 2012 to May 2013.

The field research was carried out in the Upper East region – partly because it is one of the selected areas for the implementation of the Core Research Program of WASCAL. Moreover, Upper East is a rural region with high population density, low food security, limited infrastructural services and increasing challenges such as climate change and soil infertility, and such a challenging environment is where one expects to find many local innovations.

The first part of my research involves identification of promising innovations developed by farmers. To identify the innovations, I assisted my tutor, Dr. Tobias Wünscher who was implementing an innovation contest throughout the region between August and November 2012. In the contest, farmers competed for prizes by presenting their independently developed innovations. The top three innovators were awarded prizes during the National Farmers Day celebration. I also collected survey data from 409 farm households in three districts (Kassena Nankana East, Kassena Nankana West and Bongo) in the region. This data was used in analysing the drivers and impacts of farmer innovations.
How are farmer innovations related to climate change?

Most of the identified farmer innovations are yield-related, but these innovations are locally adapted and help to cushion the effects of climate change. Some farmer innovations also emerge in response to environmental shocks. One of the main findings of my study is that farmers who develop innovations are more resilient to climate shocks than non-innovators.

What makes farmers innovate and how do farmer innovations contribute (or not) to household welfare?

Farmers innovate out of curiosity or coincidence or the need to increase production and solve problems. I also found that a Farmer Field Fora (FFF) program, which is being implemented by the Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture, helps to build the capacity of farmers to innovate. The FFF is a platform for innovation and mutual learning among agricultural stakeholders, particularly farmers, extension agents and researchers. I analyzed the effect of farmer innovations on a number of household welfare indicators, and I found that farmer innovations play an essential role in the livelihoods of farm households. For instance, I found that farmer innovations significantly improve the income and consumption expenditure of the innovators. The innovations also contribute significantly to the reduction of food insecurity among the innovative households by increasing food consumption expenditure, and by reducing the length of the hungry season.

What were your most exciting findings?

Among the most interesting findings of my research is that farmers do not only adopt but also generate innovations. Farmer innovations may emerge by coincidence, but it can also be stimulated through capacity building programs such as the FFF. Also, farmer innovations can complement the innovations developed by public and private research institutions in addressing the challenges farmers face and in reducing rural poverty. Finally, the opportunity to win prizes through a contest can serve as an incentive for farmers to reveal their innovations instead of keeping them in secrecy.
How and when did you start your doctoral studies at the Center of Development Research (ZEF) in the WASCAL Research Program?

I started searching for PhD opportunities soon after completing my Master studies at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. I applied to a vacancy announcement by Dr. Tobias Wünscher, who was searching for a PhD student to work on local innovations within the WASCAL program at ZEF. I was in Bonn to participate in the “Tropentag” 2011 conference, and I visited ZEF after the conference, where I met Dr. Wünscher and was invited for an impromptu interview. I later had a phone interview with Prof. Joachim von Braun and was then offered the position, which I gladly accepted.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for funding my PhD studies at ZEF through the WASCAL program. I am also grateful to my supervisor, Prof. Joachim von Braun for guiding me in my research and to my tutor, Dr. Tobias Wünscher for his help in bringing my thesis to fruition.
Background

Justice conducted his research in the WASCAL work package 3.3 on Farmer’s Perceptions, led by Dr. Tobias Wünscher. He successfully defended his thesis on May 5, 2015. He has since been working as a senior researcher at ZEF within WASCAL. He succeeded Dr. Marc Müller, who started working with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome.
Related publications:

Tambo, Justice A. and Tobias Wünscher 2014. Identification and prioritization of farmers’ innovations in northern Ghana. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, available on CJO2014. doi:10.1017/S1742170514000374

Related topics

Contact: Justice Tambo, tambojustice(at)yahoo.com