Skip to main content

CIRCLE Programme: A pleasant exposure so far…

By: Portia Adade Williams (Post-Master’s Fellow, Cohort 2)
Home Institution: Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR- STEPRI), Ghana
Host Institution: University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa.

In January 2016, I arrived at my host institution to officially commence the one-year Climate Impact Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement (CIRCLE) Visiting Fellowship programme to enhance my research skills and contribute to the aim of the programme. Not knowing exactly what to expect, I did my research on the programme by communicating with some Cohort 1 Fellows to learn from their experiences. This together with the guidance of my host supervisor, Dr. Olivier Crespo and unflinching support from my home mentor Dr. George O. Essegbey, enabled me start working before officially commencing the programme.  

I am half way through the fellowship and I have participated in both local and international programmes.  Besides the educative bi- weekly departmental seminars I participate in, the exposure has been amazing. I participated in the 2nd Students’ Conference on Climate Change and Development at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, South Africa, on 18th March, 2016. This was organized by the CIRCLE host at UCT, the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI) where insightful presentations related to the theme were made. Another opportunity for me was when ACDI facilitated a meeting between Circle Visiting Fellows (CVFs) and the Research Office at UCT on 21st April, 2016 to introduce the CVFs to the office. This was a meeting between CVFs, our supervisors, host ACDI and the research office constituting Dr. Mignonne Breier and her team. The meeting enabled us seek any assistance required in conducting research in UCT. It later facilitated my participation in a three day writing retreat with the Emerging Researcher Programme (ERP) coordinated by Drs. Lyn Holness and Gudrun Oberprieler of the research office at Mont Fleur conference venue, Stellenbosch, South Africa from 21st to 23rd May, 2016. The retreat was useful and impactful as educative sessions with experiences from other international students were shared, not to mention the learning platform to develop proficient use of time in writing.

Meeting with CVFs, supervisors, CIRCLE host ACDI and the research office team at UCT
Writing retreat at Mont Fleur Conference Venue, Stellenbosch, South Africa.

The latest exposure as part of the CIRCLE Fellowship is my participation in the scholar’s prestigious program at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island in the United States of America (USA). This was the “Brown International Advanced Research Institute (BIARI)”, hosted by the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. About 146 participants from 55 countries convened from 4th – 18th June 2016, to participate in a two week annual residential program sponsored by Santander Universities. Out of the four institutes hosted, I had the privilege of participating in the climate change institute under the theme “Climate Change and Its Impacts: Connecting Variability and Knowledge in a Global System”. Convened by Brown University professors, each section featured lectures and seminars led by distinguished local and international guest faculty.

The Climate Change Institute at BIARI 2016, Brown University, USA

It was a unique experience meeting individuals across academic, professional and geographic boundaries. At the end of the programme, various research groups were formed. I am now part of a global group of 11 researchers from 8 different countries representing four continents with the common goal of developing further a research proposal to conduct a comparative study across countries and we hope to continually collaborate and research into emerging issues related to climate change within our expertise.

Other participants at BIARI 2016, Brown University, USA

On my CIRCLE research, I am working on “Climate variability impact on pineapple production in Ghana”. Pineapple heavily depends on climate for performance and is an important crop within the horticultural sub-sector of Ghanaian economy. With limited knowledge relating to climate and pineapple productivity, this research focuses on assessing the effect of variability on pineapple production under climatic and economic perspectives. It also explores the coping strategies employed by pineapple farmers in Ghana. It is a holistic study which will play a critical role in assisting pineapple farmers to adapt to climate variability and cope with short term impacts.
 
At the end of June 2016, I will be participating in a one week winter school course on “Using climate information for adaptation and policy development” organized by the Climate Systems Analysis Group(CSAG) of the Environmental and Geographical Sciences Department of UCT. I also hope to participate in a conference in the next two months to present part of the findings from my study. I aspire to develop my career and build my intellectual capabilities for professional growth and my participation in the CIRCLE programme so far has set me on the right path. Being an early career academic, I hope to become an internationally recognised scientist in the field of climate change and I value this unique experience CIRCLE programme through DFID, ACU and AAS has given me. I am also grateful to CSIR-STEPRI and UCT for all the support and assistance.

Comments

  1. Pleasant exposure indeed. The pictures are nice and beautiful. Fly higher portia!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Pleasant exposure indeed. The pictures are nice and beautiful. Thanks for sharing Portia.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you Portia for your nice experience sharing! It is very nice.Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  4. My sister, its so wonderful. the sky is the limit. way to go

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

CIRCLE Institutional Case Study: MOUAU

By Prof. Phillippa Ojimelukwe, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU)

When I saw the advertisement for the CIRCLE programme, I had little confidence that we would succeed in becoming a Home institution. I was uncertain we would be able to compete favourably with other well-established institutions; I also thought that the funders would be sceptical of lesser known institutions. Thankfully my fears were unfounded and the CIRCLE programme has been a revolutionary experience for Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Nigeria. We have benefitted both from the fellowship programme (with four fellows selected from MOUA) and the Institutional Strengthening Programme (ISP).  

The ISP has been transformative for our institution. We started with a detailed analysis of our institutional gaps and weaknesses. We aligned this with our university’s mandate - to lead the frontiers of research in agriculture for national development in a sustainable manner and to train high…

Research Uptake Discourse on Women, Entrepreneurship Development and Climate Change

By Dr Catherine Akinbami, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria


In order to have a holistic approach, the economic, social and environmental issues which are interdependent aspects of a society must be considered within a unified framework so as to promote human welfare, especially in the rural areas. The consideration of the social dimension of climate change is important in order to ensure that human rights are not compromised as climate change impacts the fundamental security, lives, health and livelihoods of people, especially the most vulnerable. Also, greater consideration of the social dimension can enhance the effectiveness of mitigation and adaptation as well as the policies needed to drive them. 

On the 20th of April, stakeholders gathered at the Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Ibadan, Nigeria for a Policy Discourse on women, entrepreneurship development and climate change. The stakeholders comprised of policy makers from ministries (such as Women Affairs, Envi…

Kenyan Policy Makers Dialogue on Gender and Social Inclusion in the Climate-Smart Agriculture Strategy: Linking International and National Policy

By Catherine Mungai and Caroline Bosire
Kenya has made great headway in developing policies and strategies to respond to climate change across different sectors; most notably in agriculture. The agricultural sector is the driving force of Kenya’s economy and is also one of the sectors most sensitive to the impacts of climate change. The agricultural sector has been identified as a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, therefore necessitating the identification of measures through which the sector can mitigate climate change. Introduced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is one such approach which aims to sustainably improve agricultural productivity, increase farmers’ resilience, reduce and/or remove greenhouse gas emissions, and support the achievement of food-security and development goals. To this end, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Kenya has developed a CSA Strategy which will guide the …