WAC-SRT students’ Climate and Sustainable Development Action Club kicks-off youth-empowering capacity building

This Monday, 07th December  2020, a highly committed and motivated group of WAC-SRT students, the Climate and Sustainable Development Action Club (CSDAC), launches an innovative capacity building on “Enterpreneurship and Empowerement of Nigerien Youth in the face of Covid-19”. The project is one of 25 award-winning initiatives selected among more than 1300 applications from 14 countries where Plan International West and Central Africa operates. Strong commitment to enhancing local communities’ practices towards the SDGs and African Union Agenda 2063 –especially in regard to environmental protection, gender equality and climate change resilience, adaptation and mitigation– have been at the core of the activities of the CSDAC since its foundation in 2018.

2019 – Students from CSDAC make a nursery reusing plastic bags collected in previous environmental cleaning actions. Later, hundreds of trees are distributed in a rural village, within a CSDAC-community collaboration for desertification contention (SDG 2 and 13) 

The student organization has also been active in social media in several awareness-raising campaigns before and especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, about which they also mobilized sharing information on prevention measures. Going beyond their climate-change related mandate, CSDAC students’ actions during the pandemic show once more their dedication to improving the lives of their communities, contributing to increase the social impact of their research and of the university in their surroundings. If you want to learn more about these students’ inspiring actions, have a look at the interview! It is also worth checking out their work in their  Facebook and YouTube channels. We congratulate the  CSDAC team, especially the team that put this award-winning proposal together, for their encouraging example: Mamane Bawa Sakina, Délano Thierry Odou, Segbedji Geraldo Favi, Amal Salla Mayaki and Lémonla Armel Otekpo. And we thank our soon-to-be graduated master student Segbedji Geraldo Favi for taking the time for this interview.

On the right: CSDA team meeting, Niamey, 2019

How did you come to know about the Plan International call, and how did you and your colleagues have the idea to submit a proposal?
From May 29 to June 7 2020, Plan International West and Central Africa launched the call for application for creative, innovative, local projects with a link to address one of the challenges posed by the COVID-19. This project is known as the “Youth Challenge Fund (YCF)” and aims to finance groups/associations of young girls, boys between the ages of 10 to 23, in the 14 countries of operation of the Organization.

Therefore, applying to the YCF requires a Commitment to Act, Learn, Inspire and Share with Youth and Communities in the region. The call for applications was published on several social media, especially on Facebook, where the information was seen by Armel Otekpo (Funds miner). More than 1.300 entries were submitted for the 1st edition of the Youth Challenge Fund, a competition aimed at supporting young committed leaders in the West and Central Africa region. But only 25 were selected including the CSDAC in the category “Youth empowerment and entrepreneurship”.

What exactly is your proposal, what do you envisage with this project?
The project is entitled: Entrepreneurship and Empowerment of Nigerian Youth in the face of Covid-19. It was inspired by two significant facts with which the youth in our environment were confronted:
• High unemployment rate, women being more impacted;
• Accentuation of economic vulnerability of the majority of the population, mostly young people, living on a daily basis, with the wake of COVID-19 and restriction measures
So, the project aims to strengthen the capacity and empower of young people, especially girls, through training on the installation and deployment of solar systems for irrigation in Niger, which allows them to be operational on the market.

And how does your proposal build on what you and your colleagues have been learning and discussing within the WAC-SRT master program?
Given the interdisciplinary nature of the WAC-SRT Program, we received various courses on Solar Energy, Irrigation and the nexus Water-Energy-Food (WEF), which on the first hand give us the foundation to understand the science behind this terminology and the expertise to apply and on the other hand to be aware of the challenges our communities are facing, and what solutions are out there to be implemented in a sustainable manner. Based on that, and with the wake of COVID-19, we have built around this to propose this Youth Capacity-building project to address a gap in the society, especially in Niger, and share with our peers the knowledge we got from this program. Moreover, the tips we learned from the Workshop organised at the centre on Proposal and Research writing really helped us a lot to write a winning proposal.

When have you prepared the submission? How has the pandemic affected your work, how have you managed to discuss, meet, and how did it affect the format/idea of your proposal?
This project was written during the COVID-19 period, and the main challenge was to organise meetings among members, since restrictions were imposed on public gatherings. However, thank to technology, we were able to organise regular online meetings using Zoom or Google Meet, and keep in touch through a WhatsApp group specifically created for this project. Due to the availability of everyone and academic-related aspects, we always meet online from 11:30 PM, until the fixed objective was achieved.

How many people will join your capacity building? How many applications did you receive and how was the selection process?

We had planned to select 30 youth aged from 18 to 24 years old, from Niger, with the target of having 20 ladies and 10 men. The call for applications was accessible to potential candidates from 15 September to 02 October 2020. In order to encourage and give more details to the candidates, we also made a video.

Call for applications

We received a total of 167 applications from six countries (Niger, Benin, Togo, Burkina-Faso, Cameroon and Chad), 135 male and 32 female candidates. After the work of the selection committee on 22 October 2020, we selected 30 laureates living in Niamey to take part in the training. CSDAC members from the 1st and 2nd Batch of the WAC-SRT program have participated in the selection.

Presentation of the score grid by the selection committee coordinator.


Exchange with the selection committee

What do you want to achieve through this capacity-building?

With this project, our goal is to create a new generation of proactive technicians with an entrepreneurial spirit, to reduce not only the unemployment rate of young people but also to provide technical support to the population in need of integrated solutions for water, energy and agriculture. At the end of the capacity-building project, they will receive a set of technical tools (Digital Electrical meter, screwdrivers, etc.) that will allow them to start to monetise what they have learned.

What would you tell other students in Tamale, in Wa, in Niamey or in other African Excellence Centers based on your experience?
What we can say to our colleagues is that we must always think about impacting our environment and give back to the community. It is the only way for us to be part of the change we want in our community and the continent as a whole. The main driver for our project was the sense of responsibility we developed in front of the situation the youth were facing during the early moment of the pandemic as a result of the different restriction measures put in place, that prevented youth from going out to work –since they are living on a daily basis, with informal business.
We would like to invite our colleagues to believe in themselves. Putting together their effort and expertise, they can achieve more than they can think of. They should also persevere and be ready for the sacrifice (in other words, nothing come easy). This is not the only project we submitted in that time. We have applied to three other fund challenges dedicated to COVID-19 ideas during that period, and we did not always succeed, but we kept pushing. It happened that we worked throughout the night till the morning without noticing, because what we wanted was to achieve our goal.

Call for Applications: CERM-ESA Master / PhD Scholarships 2021 in the DAAD In-Region/ In-Country Scholarship Programme

As part of the „In-Country/In-Region Scholarship Programme” DAAD offers scholarships for Master and PhD studies in Education for candidates from East Africa via the CERM-ESA programme.

Application closing date is the 15th of December 2020:

1. Please find the Call for Applications Document here and the Application Procedure here:


Ouverture des inscriptions – Colloque CEGLA

Colloque scientifique international en ligne du CEGLA à Bamako
– Développement local, paix et sécurité en Afrique de l’Ouest

La Coordination Général du Centre d’Excellence de Gouvernance Locale en Afrique (CEGLA) en coopération l’Université des Sciences Juridiques et Politiques de Bamako (USJPB) et le Centre de Formation des Collectivités Territoriales (CFCT) du Mali vous invite à participer en ligne au Colloque scientifique international au sujet de « Développement local, paix et sécurité en Afrique de l’Ouest » qui se tiendra du 1er au 3 Décembre 2020 à Bamako, Mali.

Dates du colloque: 1er au 3 Décembre 2020

Inscription pour le colloque en ligne (ZOOM): par simple email à contact@cegla.network

en précisant votre Nom, Prénom, Organisation

Frais d’inscription: Gratuit grâce au financement propre de l’Université des Sciences Juridiques et Politiques de Bamako (USJPB) et de la coopération allemande (DAAD et GIZ)

Pour plus d’informations : www.cegla.network


Développement local, paix et sécurité en Afrique de l’Ouest

Les dix dernières années ont vu la situation au Sahel se dégrader fortement au plan sécuritaire. Malgré leurs différences, les zones rurales du Burkina Faso, du Mali, de la Mauritanie, du Niger et du Tchad sont prises dans un piège de pauvreté, cercle vicieux où insécurité et instabilité s’entretiennent mutuellement. Faute d’actions décisives des pouvoirs publics, appuyés par la communauté internationale, ces territoires traversent un enchaînement de conflits dont ils ont le plus grand mal à s’extraire.

L’insécurité au Sahel est aggravée par une crise socio-économique persistante. Les peuples du Sahel sont touchés par des conflits multidimensionnels récurrents. Un afflux d’armes à la suite de la révolution libyenne en 2011 a engendré un trafic de tout genre. Ils souffrent également d’un sous-développement chronique, d’une insécurité alimentaire persistante, de mauvaises conditions climatiques et de nouvelles menaces posées par une migration clandestine de plus en plus dangereuse vers l’Europe. De plus, la fracture entre les citoyens et une élite politique distante parfois prédatrice affaiblit davantage le tissu social et freine les efforts de consolidation de la paix et de développement durables dans la région. Cette situation se traduit par une marginalisation politique et économique endémique d’une grande partie de la population (MIREILLE AFFA’A MINDZIE, 2015).

L’insécurité et l’instabilité au Sahel découlent de la menace croissante que représentent le terrorisme et l’extrémisme violent et de sa propagation dans les pays et régions environnants. Celles-ci sont aggravées – ou provoquées – par les faibles progrès de développement dans les pays du Sahel et les conséquences du changement climatique sur la sécurité alimentaire, les flux migratoires et les conflits liés aux terres et aux ressources naturelles.

La paix au Sahel, intimement corrélée au développement de ces territoires en cours de peuplement rapide, est un bien public dont l’intérêt déborde le continent africain. La situation est devenue alarmante. L’inquiétude est aujourd’hui largement partagée par les experts du Sahel au sein des milieux de la recherche, de la diplomatie, de l’humanitaire, de la sécurité et du développement. Ces communautés professionnelles ont trop peu d’occasions de réflexions conjointes.

Les conflits violents au Sahel ont des causes à la fois externes et internes ; ils sont favorisés par de multiples fragmentations des sociétés sahéliennes ; ils éclatent sur fond d’institutions (formelles, informelles et hybrides) défaillantes. De surcroît, le manque de perspectives de développement économique et social, et les dégradations environnementales contribuent à la multiplication de facteurs de vulnérabilité constituant le terreau de la crise et de la violence (Allier sécurité et développement Plaidoyer pour le Sahel, Ferdi, 2016).

Une telle orientation suggère à priori qu’on jette un regard sur les axes et réflexions intéressant les uns que les autres. Le CEGLA se saisit de cette occasion pour organiser, après le colloque de Niamey sur la fonction publique territoriale : dynamiques des acteurs, enjeux et développement local en 2019, un colloque international à Bamako sur la thématique « Développement local, paix et sécurité en Afrique de l’Ouest ». Ce colloque va réunir les acteurs, chercheurs et les partenaires afin de réfléchir sur les pratiques, logiques et solutions ainsi que le rôle des collectivités territoriales pour le maintien de la paix et de la sécurité.

Nous nous réjouissons de votre participation!


Appel à communication – colloque scientifique international à Bamako

En novembre/décembre 2020 le colloque scientifique sur “Développement local, paix et sécurité en Afrique de l’Ouest” aura lieu à Bamako.

Veuillez trouver toutes les informations essentielles par rapport à l’appel à communication dans le document suivant:

Appel à communication colloque de Bamako

Les propositions de communication sont attendues jusqu’au 26 juillet 2020 au secrétariat et au Président du comité scientifique du colloque. Le projet de communication doit être un résumé d’une page maximum.

CEMEREM at the DIGI-FACE Kick-Off Meeting

The Digital Initiative for African Centres of Excellence (DIGI-FACE) is a cooperation project between a network of German and African Universities under the leadership of the University of Kehl in Germany. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) funds this initiative with support from the German Federal Foreign Office (AA). The kick-off-meeting of the DIGI-FACE project was hosted by the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth in cooperation with University of Kehl from 2nd -7th of March 2020. CEMEREM was represented by Prof. Jan C. Bongaerts (CEMEREM Project Leader, TUBAF), Prof. Kiptanui Arap Too (CEMEREM Project Coordinator, TTU), Dr. Nicholas Muthama (CEMEREM Project Manager, TTU) and Mr. Kibwana Zamani (ICT Manager, TTU).

At the onset of the kick-off, the delegates were taken through the overall aims of the initiative by the lead persons notably, Prof Ewald Eisenberg, representing project lead partner Kehl University in Germany; Prof Bernd Siebenhuener, German academic from Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg and Prof Paul Webb, Project Leader of the East and South African German Centre of Excellence for Educational Research Methodologies and Management (CERM-ESA). Professor Michael Samuel from the University of KwaZulu Natal, the moderator of the event, took on the collaborative approaches to capacity development and digitalization was brought into perspective. The Deputy Vice-chancellor, learning and Teaching, Prof Cheryl Foxcroft from Nelson Mandela University officially opened the meeting and emphasized the need for CoEs to make provisions for students to learn in digital spaces.

Other sessions that followed after the aforementioned preamble included the delegate’s reflections on their motivations; on-line learning experts presentations that shed more light into the digital classrooms; practical sessions of designing an interactive online session; Centres action steps, collaborations and partnerships; business plan; delegates visions and recommendations. The sessions were not only in-depth but quite mind-boggling in terms of reflections on the core challenges such as geographical complications, equipment deficiencies alongside proposed methodologies for accomplishing the DIGI-FACE project.

DIGI-FACE will have interesting and new impacts on CEMEREM in the future. CEMEREM delegates were satisfied that they could bring this issue as their contribution to the attention of the DIGI-FACE project leaders. As such, DIGI-FACE means new developments for CEMEREM, such as new possibilities for online teaching, online study and learning documents for students, online coaching, online supervision of student projects, capacity building for teachers, etc.

CEMEREM will study these new developments and as the DIGI-FACE project moves on, CEMEREM will implement them for the benefit of TTU, the German partners, CEMEREM itself, the CEMEREM staff and, least but not last, the CEMEREM students and the outreach communities.

CEMEREM is grateful to DAAD for the invitation, the opportunity to learn about DIGI-FACE and very committed as we are looking forward for the next steps.

DAAD’s Secretary General Dr. Dorothea Rüland, RUB’s Rector Prof. Dr. Axel Schölmerich and Chancellor Dr. Christina Reinhardt visited the South African-German Centre for Development Research

In early 2020, South Africa has welcomed and hosted the ’27th Delegation Visit for Leaders of German Higher Education Management’, organized by the International DAAD Academy. In the second week of March, 20 Presidents, Vice Chancellors and Registrars from German universities visited South African higher education and research institutions, ministries and the National Research Foundation (NRF) as well as German partner institutions such as political foundations or the German Agency for International Cooperation GIZ. During the meetings delegates received in depth insights into the South African higher education system as well as into current research focal points of the respective institutions, and were able to directly reach out for potential further cooperation partners. The delegation was accompanied by the Secretary General of the DAAD, Dr. Dorothea Rüland, and Lena von Eichborn, Head of the International DAAD Academy.

On March 12, the delegation visited the University of the Western Cape. Umesh Prawa, Head of the university’s International Relation Office, was responsible for the visit and led the programme, supported by his team and further colleagues. After a profoundly informative input by different UWC Departments, led by UWC Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Vivienne Lawack, hosts and guests were able to network during a fingerfood-lunch.


Delegates on their way to the meeting on UWC campus.
First part of the meeting, led by UWC Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Vivienne Lawack.












After the break, Ruth Knoblich, the Centre’s new DAAD Lecturer in Development Research, presented basic facts and figures about the DAAD South African-German Centre for Development Research. Her presentation led to a lively round-table talk about the Centre’s character and activities by colleagues, alumni and current students: Prof. Julian May, Director of the NRF-DST Centre of Excellence in Food Security at UWC, Director of the Institute for Social Development and one of the four Steering Committee members of the South African-German Centre of Development Research: Dr. Razack Karriem (Acting Director of the Institute for Social Development), Prof. Mulugeta Dinbabo, Dr. Coretta Jonah, Dr. Martina Lembani, Melisa Dlamini, Langton Moyo, Tamara Kaschek and Kumbula Xego.

For the Centre, it was a particular highlight to meet RUB’s Rector Prof. Dr. Axel Schölmerich and Chancellor Dr. Christina Reinhardt who were part of the delegation, together with the Secretary General of the DAAD, Dr. Dorothea Rüland.

From left to right – back row: Dr. Razack Karriem, Melisa Dlamini, Kumbula Xego, Dr. Coretta Jonah, Tamara Kaschek, Dr. Christina Reinhardt, Prof. Julian May, Prof. Dr. Axel Schölmerich, Ruth Knoblich, Dr. Dorothea Rüland; from left to right – front row: Dr. Martina Lembani, Prof. Mulugeta Dinbabo, Langton Moyo.















Meeting with the heads of the Ruhr-University Bochum Chancellor Dr. Christina Reinhardt and Rector Prof. Dr. Axel Schölmerich; behind: Prof. Julian May, Director of the NRF-DST Centre of Excellence in Food Security at UWC, Director of the ISD and one of the four Steering Committee members of the SA-GER CDR and Ruth Knoblich, DAAD Lecturer in Development Research at SA-GER CDR.






















A historical campus-walk formed the last part of the UWC visit. Prof. Premesh Lalu, Director of the DST-NRF Centre for Humanities Research at UWC, offered impressive insights into the university’s history and its role during apartheid’s times.

Prof. Premesh Lalu guiding the delegation through the University of the Western Cape-Robben Island Mayibuye Archives housed in the main library at the UWC; in the middle: RUB’s Rector Prof. Dr. Axel Schölmerich next to Dr. Lisette Andreae, Counsellor, Head of Education, Science, Research and Technology, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Pretoria.
Delegation in the UWC- Robben Island Mayibuye Archives; left: Umesh Prawa, Head of IRO at UWC, in front: RUB’s Rector Prof. Dr. Axel Schölmerich.
Delegation in front of the Malangatana mural inside of the UWC library, in the middle: Prof. Premesh Lalu; at the very right: Prof. John-Mark Iyi, Faculty of Law / DAAD South African German Centre for Transnational Criminal Justice TRANSCRIM.
Group picture on UWC campus; last row right: Jaco Herbst and Dr. Anja Hallacker from the DAAD Information Centre Johannesburg; last row left: Lena von Eichborn, Head of the International DAAD Academy.

The delegates later emphasized how much they enjoyed their time at UWC after participating in such multifaceted programme. They particularly underlined how impressed they were by the university’s spirit and engagement, and that they were able to set up valuable new contacts for further cooperation. For the Centre, it was a very special moment of making its networks visible: its network between former and current students, between colleagues from all institutions involved, between the leading level of UWC, RUB, and the DAAD as the Centre’s funding organization.