Tajudeen Okekunle Amusa during his two month sabbatical fellowship programme in Nairobi, from 1 November- 31 December 2015.
AFF Sabbatical fellowship awards
AFF, with financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) aims to stimulate and support research by visiting research fellows to advance their professional development in the many areas of African forestry. Through this collaboration, three short term sabbatical fellowships have been offered to African scholars to undertake desk based studies for a period of 2-3 months at the AFF Secretariat. The awards focused on the following areas:
AFOLU and forest based carbon markets and trade
This exciting opportunity was offered to African professionals in forestry and related areas to strengthen their knowledge and skills on policies, legal and institutional frameworks at regional, sub regional and national levels in forestry and related sectors. Specifically, the fellows were expected to assess the contribution of regional, sub-regional and national policies, legal and institutional frameworks on integration of mitigation and adaptation in AFOLU, as well as addressing forest based carbon markets and trade.
The selection process was competitive, with Prof. Paxie Chirwa from the University of Pretoria emerging as the overall winner of the award. Paxie Chirwa is the Chair and Director of the Postgraduate Forest Programme at the University of Pretoria. He has over 28 years of experience in forestry research and development in eastern and southern African, especially in tree crop interactions in Agroforestry and social forestry. He spent his sabbatical time at the African Forest Forum Secretariat based at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi, Kenya
Through the award, Prof. Chirwa conducted desk based studies in the areas mentioned above, guided by specific terms of reference, from 1 November- 31 December 2015 that focused on Anglophone and Francophone African countries covering various forest types (rain forest, mountains, mangroves, woodland and savanna, and parklands of the Sahel).
The findings from his desk based studies are expected to generate knowledge that will improve African stakeholders’ understanding of vulnerability to climate change and application of promising adaptation measures pertinent to Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Uses (AFOLU). The results are also anticipated to support development and strengthening of sound adaptation and mitigation policies that take into consideration gender responsiveness and measures associated with improving resilience of the social systems and ecosystems. In addition, the findings will also offer African countries and regional bodies critical information on gender-sensitive assessment of vulnerability and impacts/influences of climate change and variability on forests, trees and the people who depend on them. The fellowship award was made possible through the AFF SDC- supported project titled “African Forests, People and Climate Change”.
Forest compatible development
A post-doctoral/sabbatical fellowship/internship opportunity for “Supporting forest compatible development through evidence-based policy options for improved forest governance, green growth and enhanced forest productivity for sustainable livelihoods and environmental stability in Africa” was also offered from 1 November- 31 December 2015.
The fellowship aimed at strengthening knowledge and skills of the African professionals in forestry and related areas on forest compatible development by looking at key issues in forest governance, green growth pathways in forestry, and improved forest productivity; all of these combine  to improve livelihoods, national economies and environmental stability. Tajudeen Okekunle Amusa (Ph.D.) was awarded the fellowship and spent two months as sabbatical fellow at the African Forest Forum Secretariat.
Tajudeen Okekunle Amusa (Ph.D.) is a lecturer at the Department of Forest Resources Management, University of Ilorin, Nigeria. His areas of specialization include forest management and biodiversity conservation.
During his two months’ sabbatical fellowship, Tajudeen contributed to AFF’s programme activities by preparing and producing evidence- based knowledge products on policy options on forest governance, green economy, and land use land use change and forestry (LULUCF). All these contribute to forest compatible development that would assist African countries to address deforestation and forest degradation in ways that enhance the contribution of forests and tree resources to livelihoods and environmental stability.
The fellowship supported activities in a project entitled “Strengthening Sustainable Forest Management in Africa” that seeks to generate and share knowledge and information through partnerships in ways that provide inputs into policy options and capacity building for improved forest management that better address poverty eradication and environmental protection in Africa. This project is financially supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
AFF student internship programme in collaboration with Kenya Forestry Research Institute
Advances in forestry and management require the ability to blend theory and practice to solve real-world problems. The AFF student internship programme was implemented in collaboration with the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) with the aim being to balance a strong foundation in management fundamentals with leading edge practices in the science of forestry.
In this regard, AFF was pleased to host Ms. Issoufou Balkissa of the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University, USA, as an intern at the secretariat from May –July 2015. As an undergraduate student majoring in Environmental Science, Ms. Balkissa, a national of Niger, participated in a programme of joint youth mentorship activities towards her project titled “Mainstreaming Sustainable Land Management in Agro pastoral Production Systems of Kenya”
The objective of the project was to restore degraded land in the semi-arid and arid areas in the eastern Kenya. In pursuit of this, the internship accorded Ms. Balkissa the opportunity to conduct field trips to the KEFRI Dry land Eco-regional Research Programme in Kitui. Her field work focused on collection of biophysical and socio-economic data around Kyuso forest and sites rehabilitated by the project. She also conducted her laboratory internship at KEFRI headquarters, Muguga, where she familiarized herself with soils, biotechnology, pathology, entomology, tree breeding and other related laboratory assignments. These activities facilitated preparation of Balkissa’s dissertation. Her successful internship at the AFF Secretariat was made possible under the supervision of Prof. Larwanou Mahamane and Dr. Vincent Oeba, both with AFF.