Workshop/Seminar/Conference

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.

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.

My participation at the Kick-Off Meeting – DIGI-FACE

As part of the Kenyan delegation, Susan, John & Raymond had the distinct pleasure of attending the much-awaited Digital Initiatives for African Centres of Excellence (DIGI – FACE) Kick-off Meeting held in South Africa by the world-renowned university, Nelson Mandela in Port Elizabeth. The meeting brought different scholars whose vast experience in pursuit of higher education was not only inspiring but an open door to insightful thought on the direction higher education needed to take, chiefly digital in nature, in order to stand the test of time for African Centres of Excellence (CoE). Precisely, the project aim is to develop and put into action digital learning strategies across Africa. A big part of DIGI-FACE is to enhance digital capacities of lecturers and academics and that the training of trainers (ToT) is a very crucial pillar of the project.

The kick-off meeting took place on March 3-6 with delegates drawn from universities in South Africa, Niger, Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, Mali, Namibia as well as Germany. Pursuant to achieving the goal, the delegates consisted of the Centre of Excellence Project leaders, Project Coordinators, Curriculum developers and the IT personnel. This was a brilliant mix in order to make the matrix of content development and dissemination complete.

At the opening session 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).  A quick rejoinder on the collaborative approaches to capacity development and digitalization was brought into perspective by Professor Michael Samuel from the University of KwaZulu Natal who also doubled up as the event moderator. The meeting was officially opened by deputy vice-chancellor, learning and Teaching, Prof Cheryl Foxcroft, Mandela University who emphasized the need for all of us to make provisions for students to learn in digital spaces.

With the elaborate intro, the sessions that followed 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.

The project’s aspiration for the future could have consequences that undoubtedly would bring positive change and especially education without borders. The goal for the meeting was not only a means of documenting the problems faced by CoEs, nor was it an opportunity for CoEs to complain about the situation that they face, rather it was a critical discussion with actionable points aimed at reducing these challenges and possibly eliminating them entirely with guidance from a knowledgeable partner.

The discussions proposed scholars to take up the opportunity to create content on their own terms, with assistance from IT and Multimedia experts within the Institution, but with an eye for great and reusable content to a student, market to generate revenue for the Centre’s sustainability. The market out there consists of students willing to assimilate new information faster, with a lowered barrier to entry such as cost and time, and the reduction of time spent by students closing the physical geographical gap courtesy of antiquated forms of education.

Content in this context indicates the use of video, text, and interactive media as a delivery mechanism. By integrating open source software such as Moodle, specifically built to handle demands of heavy course material, it is by no means an end to itself, but rather the first step that scholars can take in order to achieve their personal goals and of the institution. Another valuable resource was H5P.org which utilized the power of HTML5 to create, share and reuse the content in a browser. The H5P platform is particularly useful since it can be integrated with MOODLE for added functionality.

As the conference progressed, we came to the understanding that many CoEs already have course material ready for digitization but lack the channels to take their course materials online. On that note, the question of sustainability arose on numerous occasions. Naturally, other questions were derived from this such as, would the funding partner, DAAD, provide sustainable solutions to the CoEs or would the CoEs be equipped with their own means of sustainability mutually beneficial to both students and CoEs.  These were just a few questions out of the many that came up. However, they were not all to be answered conclusively in this first meeting but rather at an ongoing basis customized to each CoEs needs. Furthermore, evaluations carried out at the end of the meeting could have captured more concerns from the delegates. At the close of the meeting, we were treated to a delicious dinner and thrilling excursion that cemented our continental bonds as well as giving us a chance to appreciate the beauty of Port Elizabeth and South Africa at large. Honestly, it was a great life experience and a real eye-opener for us all.

In conclusion, the flow of events throughout the meeting was pretty seamless under a powerful organizing team notably Prof. Eisenberg, Prof. Webb, Mike Swanepoel,  Merlin Kull, Ayanda Simayi just to mention a few. DIGI-FACE is headed for imminent success. We say a big ‘THANK YOU ‘to DAAD under the auspices of Dr Dorothee Weyler.

Centres of African Excellence Digital Initiative Kicks Off At Nelson Mandela University

By Gillian McAinsh, Port Elizabeth

An international project kicks off this week at Nelson Mandela University to develop and put into action digital learning strategies across Africa.

The Digital Initiatives for African Centres of Excellence – or Digi-Face – aspires to open up educational access by linking geographically separate participants with user-friendly tools and technology.

The kick-off meeting from March 3-6 in Port Elizabeth has drawn delegates from universities in Niger, Senegal, Kenya, Mali and other African countries as well as Germany.

Prof Dr Ewald Eisenberg, representing project lead partner Kehl University in Germany, said the plan was to roll out Digi-Face over the entire continent.

“Sometimes there are thousands of kilometres between a supervisor and student, which makes learning complicated. There also may be unrest, or difficulties with travel,” Eisenberg said.

He listed e-learning (electronic) and m-learning (on a mobile device) as well as blended learning (a combination of traditional and digital) as possible solutions to the challenges of education in Africa.

“Blended learning is the most useful because we can adapt the various learning scenarios to what people really need,“ Eisenberg said.

However, despite high demand and motivation for e-learning, a Kehl University survey showed that very few African universities were able to access this due to lack of basic equipment and a stable internet connection.

This gap has to be bridged because, as Mandela University Learning and Teaching deputy vice-chancellor Prof Cheryl Foxcroft noted at the conference, “increasingly, if students cannot learn in digital spaces then we are not doing our job”.

Project Leader of the East and South African German Centre of Excellence for Educational Research Methodologies and Management Prof Paul Webb, also based at Mandela University, said it was important to build capacity in Africa so that all its universities could use the relevant tools.

“Our role is also to train trainers on aspects of using apparatus and digital assets provided by the project within their own areas of expertise,” Webb said. “We want to make life easier, not more difficult. And no matter what we do digitally, it depends on the content, in other words, it depends on human beings!”

German academic Prof Bernd Siebenhuener from Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg said Digi-Face would offer a variety of modules across five areas or “work packages”.

“The idea is to develop skills for everyone at the universities, not only the IT people, and that is why we will offer a range of courses. Digi-Face is for everyone,” Siebenhuener said.

Although Digi-Face has an open-source policy where access to resources is free, this week’s conference also is looking at how to generate revenue to ensure sustainability.

The German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD) – with funds from the German Federal Foreign Office – is the sponsor of Digi-Face, and Mandela University is one of the leading drivers of the project in Africa.

Mandela University will produce at least six generic modules for post-graduate students and academics on research supervision and online learning and teaching for all 11 of the DAAD funded Centres of Excellence in Africa.

 

Members of the Digi-Face Steering Committee (from left to right): Prof Andreas Pattar, Nilly Chingaté Castaño, Junes Arfaoui, Prof Paul Webb, Merlin Kull, Dr Susan Kurgat, Prof Ewald Eisenberg, Prof Bernd Siebenhuener, Prof John Chang’ach

IFAT 2020: Alumni Special Project – Calls for alumni are out now!

If you are Alumni from developing countries (DAC country nationals) with a proven background in water resources management, water use efficiency, water reuse, water and waste water treatment, waste removal and recycling, sanitation, water distribution systems, measurement and control mechanisms for water quality and pollution, soil remediation, environmental engineering, environment technology, and related fields of work.

APPLY NOW for the DAAD Alumni Special Project (training seminar and trade fair visit) in the framework of

IFAT 2020

The World’s Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management.

The training seminars (phase 1) will take place from 26 April – 3 May 2020. They are organized by three different German universities, each of which has its own focus for the seminar: University of Duisburg-Essen, University of Siegen and University of Applied Sciences Trier.
The seminars are followed by the visit of IFAT 2020 in Munich, Germany, from 4 – 9 May 2020 (phase 2), organized by the DAAD.

The calls for application are out now!
Single application deadline: 15 January 2020

Please address your application directly to the contact named in the announcements which are available on our website.

Start of the third CABLES Training for Centres of African Excellene in Accra

The third offering of CERM-ESA’s Capacity Building Programme for Lecturers and Supervisors (CABLES) has kicked-off successfully in Accra this morning. A group of 25 participants representing the
West African-German Centre of Excellence for Governance for Sustainable and Integrative Local Development
West African-German Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Rural Transformation
Congolese-German Centre of Excellence for Microfinance
Ghanaian-German Centre of Excellence for Development Studies and the
– Namibian-German Centre of Excellence for Logistics

are engaging in questions of postgraduate supervision, curriculum development and interpersonal competencies for excellent teaching. The week-long professional development programme is the last in a row of three international and cross-disciplinary CABLES offerings that DAAD  has sponsored for those lecturers, researchers and supervisors, who contribute to the success of the Centres of African Excellence.

Participants and facilitators of the CABLES@WA2019

CCAM in Benin

On the third of December 2017, Professor Frederic Kalala, the Chair of Congolese German Center of Microfinance, told the students of M2 Microfinance that they would be traveling to Benin for the annual excursion.  At first, the students were excited for the opportunity that the DAAD gave them to have such a trip.  But Professor Kalala told them that they would also have to present their papers in the annual conference of Microfinance at the University of Abomey Calavi and more than that, they would have to evaluate three microfinance institutions. Obviously, the pressure had gone up since the students knew that they would need to invest extra time in their busy schedule.

Once in Benin, the students were impressed by the cultural differences between RD Congo and Benin. One of them said that “Benin was a wonderful experience, people are calmer than Congolese, everyone minds their own business. We were almost invisible if it wasn’t for the bus that came to fetch us, no one would have noticed that a bunch of student from the Congo were there.”

It took them three days to visit the three institutions ESU OLA OTAN, FESECAM and ALIDé the three impressive microfinance institutions in Benin. The goal was to analyse five topics: social performance, governance and rating, risk management, audit and financial performance.  To get that data, the students interviewed the Executive manager of each department that was studied, from the CEO to the accounting manager, the human resources manager, audit department manager and risk management department and internal control manager.  Subsequently, they did the data collection, such as financial statement, audit report, internal control report and document on social performance management and cash book.  The assignment was to evaluate and analyse the management of the three institutions and then give their recommendations to the Executive in charge of the department on how to improve their businesses; let’s keep in mind that those are professionals who have been in business for ten plus years.

After the presentation, The CEOs and the staff of the three microfinance institutions were amazed at how the students handled the pressure and did the job. The president of the board of FECECAM (CLCAM) said that he has been in the business for more than two decades and he has never had this report done in a few days and well done indeed. Even the professor Welé Idrisou, the secretary’s general of minister of Benin in charge of microfinance, was very impressed.

However, the main event of the trip was the annual meeting of microfinance in Abomey Calavi, the biggest university in Benin with 80 thousand students.

Four of the best papers were selected and four courageous students presented their topics in front of the panel, a room full of professors, expert in microfinance and PhD students. The Dean of economics and management Faculty of Abomey Calavi and the panel congratulated the four students and invited them to do their future research in Benin.

Thanks to the DAAD, the reputation of the Congolese German Center of Microfinance stands behind the republic democratic of Congo, the expertise of our alumni is valued everywhere they go. Every year, the Microfinance institution in Kinshasa calls for them and the impact can be seen with open eyes as 90 % of the alumni that finished last year are already working.