Apr 26, 2024
Special Leadership Training Designed for Younger African Climate Change Researchers in The One Planet Fellowship

In February 2024, we were delighted to convene young African researchers (under 30 years) working on climate change for an immersive leadership training as part of the One Planet Fellowship. The course is specifically designed for upcoming research leaders selected for the One Planet Fellowship and referred to as Learning Partners. The Learning Partners are emerging career scientists selected to join the Fellowship as mentees to the One Planet Laureate Candidates under the Fellowship’s three-tiered mentoring program. 

The intensive five-day course, Foundational Leadership Program for Emerging African Scientists, was attended by 36 participants from 12 countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo, and Zambia.

The One Planet Fellowship is committed to cultivating a remarkable cohort of African researchers specializing in the intersection of climate and agriculture. Through targeted learning, the Fellowship actively contributes to enhancing Africa’s resilience and building inclusive and sustainable agrifood systems for the continent’s prosperity. 

The Fellowship is deliberate in its effort to invest in the next generation of scientists to help African smallholders adapt to the changing climate. Upon completing a year-long mentoring program with their Mentors, the mid-career One Planet Laureate Candidates select emerging African Learning Partners through a meticulous nomination process to whom they serve as Mentors. The Laureate Candidates also serve as Mentors to young European research scientists. This model creates a mentorship pod of three generations of scientists working on climate solutions. 

An integral part of the Fellowship, the Foundational Leadership Program for Emerging African Scientists is thoughtfully designed to equip young scientists with vital leadership skills. The course aims to empower participants as change agents within their organizations while nurturing their abilities to collaborate, network, take risks, advocate for gender-sensitive policies, and lead positive change. 

Throughout the week, the participants shared their experience in the field and the impact of the Fellowship on their careers. Thanks to the mentoring program, many expressed newfound confidence in pursuing grants, assuming leadership roles, and advancing their careers.

“I feel confident, surrounded by a supportive community, and encouraged to pursue opportunities I once shied away from. I feel empowered,” says Melissa Achieng, a Gender and Climate Change Intern at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Predictions and Application Centre in Kenya.

Silabi Mbonanga, a Tutorial Assistant at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), said, “The highlight of my experience has been appreciating the value of shared learning and soft skills, especially to me, a young scientist navigating my way in research. The leadership training, especially, has been wonderful in bridging the gap between technical and people skills.”

Della Ilome, a pre-PhD researcher at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), echoed their sentiments. She mentioned that she is now confident and excited to apply her leadership abilities in her work. “I cannot give what I don’t have! This week has taught me that to be a leader, I must first be one to myself. I am confident I can lead myself effectively. Imagine how amazing I am going to be at my institution!”

The leadership course marks the second intervention the Fellowship offers to the Learning Partners. It follows an immersive mentoring workshop in which the young career scientists learn and collaborate with the One Planet Laureate Candidates to develop practical actions to advance their careers and further their research collaborations.

View the photos here.




African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD). Hosted by World Agroforestry Centre, United Nations Avenue, Gigiri. P.O Box 30677-00100 Nairobi, Kenya.

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