Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (27 June – 1 July, 2010) “Train the next generation of scientists to understand they also need to be communicators,” recommended Arame Tall, Policy Fellow supported by CCAA’s African Climate Change Fellowship Program (ACCFP) at the recently held Forum on Education, Capacity Building and Climate Change in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Tall presented on her research on training Red Cross national groups for climate change adaptation, early warning and early action. She also highlighted the importance of scientists being active listeners to understand community’s needs and knowledge. Tall also recommended that African universities make it a priority to train interdisciplinary scientists who can work with others and cross boundaries to find solutions that benefit those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Tall was just one of a group of forty ACCFP fellows who attended the forum organized by the International START Secretariat and Pan African START Secretariat with support from the Open Society Institute (OSI). The purpose of the forum was to explore the role of African universities in promoting education on climate change adaptation in the areas of research, curriculum development and teacher training, and to examine how to more fully engage civil society on adaptation through education targeted to those outside the university. The forum was designed to solicit input from a diverse range of experts within Africa to inform OSI’s recent initiative on education and adaptation.
Asked to summarize the experience of the ACCFP fellows, Ms. Mzime Regina Ndebele-Murisa, ACCFP Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, praised the fellowship program for the learning and networking opportunities it afforded. She highlighted the value of mentorship the fellows received from their supervisors, or “gurus” as she affectionately called them. According to Ndebele-Murisa, a key element of the program’s success has been its flexibility. “As fellows, we had the choice of where we wanted to go. We explained the expertise we needed and sought it out,” she explained to the group assembled in Dar es Saalam. Watch these presentations and others from the forum.