Terms of reference for the selection of one student enrolled at master level to benefit from financial support for their master’s thesis

Context/general introduction

While many countries recognize adaptation as an important component of their responses to climate change, little guidance on how to operationalize adaptation goals exists. There is thus a need for science-based adaptation planning, which requires sound climate risk analyses and assessment of potential adaptation strategies. To address this issue, the in-depth studies of the AGRICA project provide climate risk analyses for Sub-Saharan African countries. The studies model the full impact chain from a changing climate, to changing water availability and resulting climate impacts on the agriculture sector. Based on this information, in an action dimension the studies then identify and analyze suitable adaptation strategies based on their feasibility, cost-effectiveness, biophysical performance and aptitude for local conditions.

One of the most recently published studies focuses on Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso has a high socio-economic dependency on agriculture which is strongly influenced by weather-related factors such as rain fall and temperature and thus highly vulnerable to climate change. The AGRICA study used a process-based model to determine the potential of the following adaptation measures: (1) climate information services (CIS), (2) irrigation, (3) integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) and (4) improved crop varieties. The results show that all four adaptation strategies have a high potential to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers under current and projected future climate conditions in Burkina Faso. Another important adaptation measure that could not be considered in the AGRICA study is agroforestry. Listed as one of ten best innovations for adaptation in agriculture, agroforestry is highly promising to alleviate many of the challenges of traditional low-input cropping systems, while also buffering adverse impacts of climate change and variability. Therefore, it is necessary to gain a deeper insight into the drivers and barriers of adoption, the advantages and disadvantages and the impacts on crop yields of agroforestry in Burkina Faso.

Overall objective

The overall objective of this activity is to generate and process relevant scientific data on agroforestry in Burkina Faso. The research questions should focus on advantages and disadvantages, on impacts on crop yields as well as on drivers and barriers of the adoption of this strategy. To collect data, farmer and expert interviews should be conducted and results should compare communities of at least two different regions in Burkina Faso. The gender dimension in the adoption of agroforestry should also be reflected.

Conditions to benefit from the support

To benefit from this financial support, the student will have to meet the following criteria:
  • Be regularly enrolled in a Master program in recognized university of Burkina Faso and have already completed the theoretical courses;
  • Present a master thesis proposal that meet the overall objective of the call;
  • Present a recommendation letter of a scientific mentor from the university where you are regularly registered in which he confirms that he/she will take the responsibility to supervise and ensure the quality check of the data collection process in collaboration with experts from WASCAL and PIK;
  • Agree to submit a full report of the implementation of the master thesis;
  • Agree to make the data collected in the field available to the project team, especially to experts from WASCAL and PIK.

Budget allocated per student

The selected student will receive a financial support, which will be used for field research and travel expenses. A detailed technical and financial report will be requested at the end of the work. For transport costs, supporting documents must be provided at the end of the work.

Composition and deadline for applications

Applications including the elements below are due no later than 30th of September 2022 at secretariat_cc@wascal.org with a mandatory copy to da.s@wascal.org and ibraboub@yahoo.fr Proof of enrolment in a university or a research institution in Burkina FasoA master thesis full proposal highlighting the areas for data collection of your choice and how your research questions meet the overall objective of the callA letter of recommendation from your thesis supervisor indicating that he/she agrees to supervise you and ensure the quality check of the data collection process;An agreement letter indicating your acceptance to submit a full report of the implementation of the master thesis and to make the data collected in the field available to the project team, especially to experts from WASCAL and PIK.

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