The hybrid Symposium on “Capacity Development and Research in West Africa – WASCAL and its German Partners” successfully showed the great achievements of WASCAL and its Graduate Programme.
The first day of the hybrid Symposium included very critically exciting presentations of the vision and excellent development of WASCAL by Dr. Karsten Hess from the BMBF and Prof. Mouhamadou Hassirou, Chair of the Governing Board of WASCAL. The participants received a very good and concise overview of WASCAL, its achievements and potential.
Prof. Stefan from Dech of DLR / University of Würzburg started the symposium with an official welcome on behalf of the hosting organization, the Department of Remote Sensing at the University of Würzburg. Prof. Dech presented the current challenges on the African continent and ways on how to address these challenges by utilizing Earth Observation data analysis. Very impressive remote sensing data analysis depicted the status and history of landcover change as well as atmospheric conditions such as urban sprawl or pollution.
The director of Capacity Building Programme of WASCAL, Prof. Daouda Koné introduced the idea and development of the Graduate Studies Programme to the mixed audience of German and African audience that was presence in person as well as virtually. The whole symposium was streamed to allow an interactive participation.
The directors of the WASCAL schools participated either in person or virtually and presented their highly valuable graduate schools focusing on different scientific topics. And we were also very honored to welcome Prof. em. P. Vlek virtually and listened to his experiences and insights in the conceptualization and managing the first years of the WASCAL project.
Over 100 researchers participated in the symposium both physically and virtually via either zoom or Youtube.
Numerous scientific discourses were given on the second day of the WASCAL symposium covering a wide range of WASCAL topics. In-depth research presentations as well as discussions made the second day very valuable for all interested scientists. Moreover, individual discussions took place during the breaks and initiated new contacts and collaborations. The various posters were also used to engage colleagues and introduce the diverse Graduate School Programme in West Africa.
Many participants expressed delight at the first after one-and-a-half-year pandemic situation and the first time to meet people in person. Participants engaged in networking and dialogues on sustainability and future cooperation.
The team of WASCAL-DE-Coop are looking forward for the next Symposium to further strengthen and extent the network between WASCAL and its German partners.