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Showing posts from 2016

My CIRCLE Experience to date – Exploring climate change effects on land use management in Ethiopia

By Dr. Wondye Admasu Molla
Home Institution: Wollo University, Ethiopia
Host Institution: University of South Africa, South Africa

CIRCLE research progress
My study aims to investigate land-use management practices and climate change adaptation and mitigation measures being implemented in the three districts of the South Wollo Zone, Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia. From 26, April 2016 to 12 June 2016 I was in the field collecting data in the rural districts of Borena, Sayint and Mehal Sayint. The data collection went well apart from a small challenge when our car got stuck in the mud for one full day due to unexpected heavy rains. It was very difficult for my driver to remove the car, however, thanks to the local community and administrators we were able to get the car out.

I conducted group discussions and interviews with farmers, elderly people, local government sector offices, with the three district administration leaders, community representatives and honey bee farmers. The discuss…

Blessings in Disguise: Experience of a Cohort 2 Fellow

Dr Catherine V Nnamani
Home Institution: Ebonyi State University Abakaliki, Nigeria Host Institution: Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria Supervisor: Prof. S. A. Ajayi

In the Beginning

When I received the email from Benji Gyampoh congratulating me that I had been selected as a CIRCLE Visiting Fellow, Cohort 2, I was very excited. However, my joy was cut short when my appointed supervisor could not take me and I was reposted. At this juncture, I was disappointed and I was not sure I wanted to take up the award. However, Prof H. O. Oselebe and the Coordinator of CIRCLE in EBSU, Prof J. O. Ogunji, both took it upon themselves to counsel me to take up the fellowship. When I contacted my supervisor he told me that all is set for me and that I should come over. I got to my Host Institution in January 2016. I thank God for His grace in my supervisor Prof S. A. Ajayi, for he took over everything about my welfare immediately. Coincidently, the president of the Botanical Society of Nigeria (…

Climate Change Debates: whose report will you believe? A field report from southwestern Nigeria

By Dr. Ayansina Ayanlade

Home institution: Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria Host institution: CGIAR Research Programmed on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya

There are several scientific debates on climate change and its impacts on man and the physical environment. The evidence used in these debates has shown that climate change is a global issue and that one small attempt may not significantly curb its extreme events and their impacts. The majority of the evidence used is, therefore, based on projections from climate change models. However, climate change models and scenarios for West Africa have some challenges. For example, while some models of precipitation suggest increases, some predict decreases and other studies, such as a recent report from IPCC, reveal uncertainty about future rainfall patterns. Another set of debates on climate change are those around adaptation amongst rural people, esp…

Development of drought tolerant maize hybrids adaptable to climate change: A worthwhile and enriching experience

Name: Dr. AbimbolaOluwaranti Home Institution: Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria Host Institution: Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda Host Supervisor: Dr. Richard Edema Home Mentor: Prof. Sunday Adesola Ajayi
The main focus of my CIRCLE research has been to develop drought tolerant maize varieties adaptable to the effects of climate change.At the onset of my CIRCLE research fellowship, under the supervision of Dr. Richard Edema, the coordinator of Central and East African Regional M.Sc. (Plant Breeding and Seed Systems) program, of the Department of Agricultural Production, Makerere University, Uganda, we engaged all necessary stakeholders. This included Maize breeders from the Cereal Research Program of National Crop Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI), Namulonge, Kampala, Uganda who helped with the provision and field evaluation of drought tolerant maize parental lines. Developing improved varieties of crops conventionally in the field takes a long time and the im…

Supporting the research leaders of the future at the ACU Conference of University Leaders, 2016

In partnership with Vice-Chancellors' Ghana, The ACU Conference of University Leaders 2016 was hosted by the ACU in July this year. The main focus of the event was to bring together senior university staff to ‘debate key issues in higher education and explore shared solutions with a diverse range of international colleagues’. While the majority of attendees at the event were therefore high ranking university officials, one of the key themes under debate was how the next generation of university leaders could best be supported. I was privileged to attend the event and to jointly present, together with Professor Graham Furniss, the recently published ACU-British Academy report, ‘The next generation: ideas and experience in African researcher support’. We shared the panel with two early career researchers - Herine Otieno-Menya and Dr Olawale Olayide - also presenting their ideas and experience on support for early career researchers. Andrea Johnson from the Carnegie Corporation of Ne…

Experience with CIRCLE so far

By Dr Oluwole Johnson Akintonde Home institution: Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Nigeria Host institution: Makerere University, Uganda
Preamble To start with, my thanks go to God, the CIRCLE team, my home institution (LAUTECH, Nigeria) and host institution (Makerere, Uganda) for this rare opportunity which enables me to have a different exposure in terms of academic environment and additional knowledge of research approaches. I considered the offer as a rare one, because it came into view weeks after the final defence of my Ph.D programme. When my name was shortlisted I was so happy, but thereafter I was downcast when I read that my participation in the programme is subject to the readiness of an assigned supervisor at the host institution. “Johnson, the most favoured man”, of course thumbs-up for the CIRCLE programme when I heard that my supervisor had been assigned.
Coordinator and Supervisor relationship We had a warm reception from the host institution especially from Dr. Bam…

Feeling the Heat: Investigating Gas Flaring Activities in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria

By Dr Omosivie Maduka
Home institution: University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria Host institution: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
Nigeria is Africa’s largest producer of crude oil and the 6th largest producer in the world, with a capacity to produce approximately 2.5 million barrels/day. Oil and natural gas extraction currently account for up to 97% of the country’s revenue from foreign exchange, 20% of the country’s GrossDomestic Product (GDP) and 65% of budgetary revenue.  Nigeria is also blessed with vast deposits of natural gas located mainly in the Niger Delta region of the country. In spite of this apparent wealth, Nigeria ranks among the poorest countries in the world with over half of its population living on less than two dollars a day.
Gas flaring, which is the controlled burning of gases in the course of oil production, is routinely carried out by oil exploration companies in Nigeria, even though it was formally banned in 1984 and declared "unconsti…

Report from the 5th Climate Change and Population Conference on Africa

By Dr Eunice Thomas CIRCLE home institution: University of Ibadan, Nigeria CIRCLE host institution:University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana The 5th climate change and population conference on Africa was held in Ghana from the 19th of July to 21st of July, 2016. The theme for the conference was “Building Bridges and Research –into – use.” Among the invited Guests were:the ambassador of the royal kingdom of Morocco, her excellency Madam Nezha AlaouiM, Hammdi; Special UN Secretary General Envoy on climate change, His excellency John Agyekum Kufour; and Prof Ebenezer Oduro Owusu,the provost of the college of Basic and Applied Sciences and the Vice chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey. In the welcome address, the Vice Chancellor and chairman of the day emphasized the need to live in a sound environment and develop a legacy for the future generation. As such, there is a need for vigorous discussion of issues at conferences of this sort. Passion and commitment should be divorce…

My CIRCLE Adventure So Far

Phyllis Bernice Opare
Home Institution: University of Energy and Natural Resources, Ghana
Host Institution: Makerere University, Uganda


When the email came announcing that I had been selected as a CIRCLE Visiting Fellow, cohort 2, I was ecstatic. I knew this year would be a life changing year for me, and so far it has been phenomenal. I worked like a maniac to get all my scripts graded, scored and upgraded before the end of 2015. This in addition to a full Christmas calendar of services and other events was scary, but I was able to get everything done by the 28th. I left my home, Sunyani, to travel to Accra on Sunday 3rd December 2015 to begin the first leg of my CIRCLE journey.

Experiences at the Host Institution
I left Accra on 9th January and arrived at Entebbe on January 10th, 2016. My time in Uganda has been very nice and peaceful. The CIRCLE Coordinator at Makerere arranged a taxi and place of residence for me before I got to Entebbe, which made things very easy for me. With Kam…

Judging Soils as a Climate Change Solution: Where is the evidence? My fieldwork experience under CIRCLE

By:Shade Akinsete (Post-PhD Fellow, Cohort 2) Home Institution: Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Ibadan,                                             Nigeria Host Institution:International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
Climate change! Climate change!! Climate change!!! Is soil carbon storage a solution? Soils play a key role in climate change, as they could act as sources of or sinks for carbon depending on land-use management. However, sufficient evidence must be provided for the African continent. On this note, I began my field trip in southwest Nigeria in search for some evidence. For different disciplines fieldwork connotes different things. Mine was a real field in beautifully arranged teak plantations, natural forests, and arable farm lands in Onigambari and Omo forest reserves in Oyo and Ogun States, respectively. Beautiful serene environments with clean flowing streams, jumping squirrels, skillfully carved nests, flocking birds, bustling ins…