WASCAL offers scholarships to graduate students

By Kojo Adams, GNA
Accra, April 6, GNA – The West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adopted Land Use (WASCAL) has offered 100 scholarships to 10 West African graduate students to study courses in climate change.

The graduate programme was aimed at designing strategies to adapt to threats, opportunities and uncertainties of climate change within the region.

The programme, supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany, comprised 60 Doctoral Research Programme and 40 Master’s Research Programme is to strengthen West Africa’s human scientific capacities to analyse regional climate change impacts.

The postgraduate programme was a partnership between 10 West African Universities and selected German Institutions.

The students were selected from Ghana, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Togo, Benin, The Gambia, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire.

Dr Laurent Sedogo, Executive Director of WASCAL announced this when he opened the sub-regional consultative meeting on climate change in Accra.

The meeting brought together researchers, government institutions, policy makers and stakeholders in the climate change sector to draw a strategic plan for West African Climate Research Agenda 2020.

The meeting he said was the last of three consultative meetings to identify common research and capacity building needs of different member countries for consideration in a final regional meeting.

Dr Sedogo said the initiative was part of WASCAL’s commitment to train and build the capacity of the next generation of African scientists to champion the fight against climate change, while influencing governments and policy makers.

Since the inception of the programme in 2012, 255 students have benefited from the scholarship programme.

‘WASCAL is committed to being a unique regional research centre that pursues a research for development agenda and provides relevant research findings that feed directly into national and regional policy formula’, he added.

He noted said WASCAL is poised to lead in the area of climate change and advocate science-based adaptation and mitigation strategies to enhance the resilience of human and environmental systems to the threat of climate change.

Dr Sedogo urged participants to discuss the issues passionately and focus on developing a demand-driven research and capacity building needs to benefit member countries.

Mr Bernhard Abels, Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy, said the threat of climate change and climate variability has resulted in floods, droughts, high temperatures, declined in water suppliers and reduced agricultural yields.

He said over the past five years, 30 million Euros was invested in infrastructure, scientific equipment, capacity building and research undertaken by German and African scientists.

He said the Republic of Germany believes that working with partners in West Africa could reduce the effects and threats of climate change through effective research and exploring science-based solutions.

Mr Abels noted that through the WASCAL initiative, the research infrastructure and capacity in West Africa related to climate change has been strengthened and preparing to lead in conducting cutting-edge research to produce sustainable solutions to the problems.

Professor Janet Olatundun Adelegan, Director of Capacity Building for WASCAL said her outfit conducts a regional research and capacity-developing programme to improve the use of land resources through better technologies, policies, institutions and management.

Prof Adelegan said WASCAL is organised around three principle components: climate service department, which collects, integrates and analyses data while the research department seeks ways to generate resilience in cultural landscapes and the graduate studies department strengthens human capacity through partnerships with universities in the region.