By Olimatou Coker & Ouime Bojang
WASACAL has celebrated 10 years of active capacity building, provision of climate services and a strong commitment to help educate the next generation of scientists at a colorful ceremony held at the UTG Kanifing campus.
West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use is a large-scale research-focused international climate service organization established in 2012 in West Africa and designed to help tackle climate change challenges through research and capacity building and thereby enhance the resilience of human and environmental systems to climate change and increased variability. It does so by strengthening the research infrastructure and capacity in West Africa related to climate change and by pooling the expertise of eleven West African countries and Germany.
The Doctoral Research Programme (DRP) on Climate Change and Education at University of The Gambia is set up as a regional capacity building effort with support from the “WASCAL initiative funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). It is an autonomous program hosted in the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences of University The Gambia.
Part of the objectives of the WASCAL DRP on climate change and education is to give support to West African universities to synergize their efforts on a regional basis and maximize capabilities to improve the training in climate change and education for better overall results and increased benefits to West Africa. The programme ultimately aims to strengthen the research, educational, and policy capabilities and competencies of West African Countries to deal with issues of climate change education in partnership with German institutions.
Speaking, Dr. Mamma Sawaneh, gave an overview of UTG/ WASCAL Doctoral Research Program, said: “WASCAL dedicated to becoming one of Africa’s leading science-based institutions in the provision of climate services in and for West Africa.”
He said WASCAL has a strong commitment to help educate the next generation of scientists to attain an in-depth knowledge of different climate-related issues in order to help the region develop suitable climate management strategies.
He added that WASCAL’s mission seeks to provide information and knowledge at the local, national, and regional levels to its west Africa members- countries to cope with the adverse impacts of climate change.
According to him, over 20 students have graduated with masters from 2014 to 2019 and 11 students graduated with a PHD and in total over 43 students have gone through this particular program.
Professor Herbert Robinson, Vice Chancellor of the University of The Gambia, said Climate change is very been very destructive to our environment, causing droughts, food security, damage to human health, our infrastructure and livelihood
“We have seen the devastating threats of climate change in many communities in Africa and The Gambia, doing nothing to tackle it is not an option. That is why WASCAL came in.”
He called on the member states and partners to scale up so that they can build up capacities in climate services.