Research fellowships on assessment of impacts of climate change vulnerability of biophysical and socio-economic systems with particular emphasis on gender responsiveness and critical ecosystems in Africa - Call for proposals

Organization: 
African Forest Forum
Deadline: 
Sun,31 May 2015

1.0  Introduction 

The African Forest Forum (AFF) is a pan-African non-governmental organization with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. It is an association of individuals who share the quest for and commitment to the sustainable management, use and conservation of the forest and tree resources of Africa for the socio-economic wellbeing of its people and for the stability and improvement of its environment. The purpose of AFF is to provide a platform and create an enabling environment for independent and objective analysis, advocacy and advice on relevant policy and technical issues pertaining to achieving sustainable management, use and conservation of Africa’s forest and tree resources as part of efforts to reduce poverty, promote gender equality, and economic and social development. Through all its programmes and activities, AFF seeks to promote the empowerment of all marginalized groups particularly women who have remained vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and whose representation, priorities and needs are seldom addressed in the forestry sector.  

The African Forest Forum has, secured funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to implement a second phase of the project entitled “African Forests, People and Climate Change”. The project aims to enhance the role of African forestry and it contribution to adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change in various landscapes in ways that will improve livelihoods, sustain biodiversity and the quality of the environment, as well as to strengthen the capacity of Africa’s forests to adapt to climate change and to contribute to mitigation efforts. This is expected to be achieved through two main objectives: improving the knowledge and capacities of African stakeholders in managing forests and landscapes in the context of climate change; and informing and contributing to the shaping of policies and initiatives relevant to forests and climate change.

2.0 Background

The impacts of climate change and variability has affected many sectors of the African economy and social infrastructure. Specifically, climate variability mainly attributed with shifts of rainfall patterns and temperature changes has resulted increased water scarcity and severe prolonged droughts that directly affects agricultural production, nutrition and markets; increased sea levels and floods resulting in human displacement, changes on marine ecosystems and loss of human life; frequent bush and forest fires directly affecting forest composition, net primary production (NPP), migration of wildlife animals and other constituents of biodiversity in the forest ecosystem; increased shifts and emergence of new pests and diseases affecting plants and humans among others. These effects have significantly impacted sources of livelihoods and posting of negative economic performance of many African countries, resulting in slowed progress toward the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Consequently,  climate change have exacerbated the level of vulnerability of the African people, forests, trees outside the forests and vital ecosystems due to weak adaptive capacity and resilience to the impacts of climate change. Among the African people, women are the most affected by the impacts of climate change and variability making gender consideration critical in assessing responsiveness of the African countries to the impacts of climate change.  This is because gender inequalities, and roles as well as needs and preferences that vary over space and time influencing how individuals respond to and are effected by  climate change and variability.  Therefore, gender equality continues to be a critical factor that shapes and determine adaptive capacity and responses to climate change in developing countries. Thus, efforts towards ameliorating the impacts of climate change and variability require a gender-sensitive approach for climate change policy responses and strategies to achieve sustainable environmental, social and economic outcomes.

3.0 Rationale

 The African Forest Forum is providing research fellowships for post graduate research that would contribute to capacity development and professional expertise in forestry among young professionals in Africa, with the specific aim to advance understanding and support research on key thematic issues to inform forest policy and practice in Africa. This call for research proposals focuses on the impacts of climate change vulnerability of biophysical and socio-economic systems with particular emphasis on gender responsiveness and critical ecosystems. The fellowships will provide grants to support a maximum of 10 African scholars/fellows; researchers and professionals to undertake in-depth studies in selected countries covering various forest types (rain forest, mountains, mangroves, woodland and savanna, and parklands of the Sahel). The 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 Use (AFOLU). The studies 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 generated information will in turn support development/strengthening sound adaptation policies that takes into consideration gender responsiveness and measures associated with improving resilience of the social systems and ecosystems.  

4.0 The Call

The fellowships will be awarded to undertake in-depth studies using appropriate methodology to assess, in selected countries, impacts of climate change vulnerability of the biophysical and socio-economic systems with particular emphasis on gender responsiveness and critical ecosystems taking into consideration the following broad areas:

  1. Trends of climate variability and its impact on biophysical, socio-economic and other critical systems using time series and remote sensing data from different forest types including, but not limited to, rain forests, mountains, mangroves, woodland and savanna, parklands of the Sahel in selected countries.
  2. Gender sensitive assessment of vulnerability and responses to the impact of climate change and variability on forests and trees outside forests to address the following (but not limited to) key research questions:
  • What are the impacts of climate change and variability on women, men, youth and marginalized groups who depend on forests and trees outside the forests?
  • How vulnerable are women, men, youth and marginalized groups who depend on forests and trees outside forests?  
  • How gender roles and responsibilities, incomes and other benefits distribution have been affected by climate change and variability?
  • How are the responses of women, men, and youth to the effects of climate change and variability on forestry resources different?
  • What conditions enables or constrains the enhancement of adaptive capacity of women, men, youth and other marginalized groups who depend on forests and trees outside forests? 

3. Policy and programme interventions to cushion gender especially women from vulnerability to climate change and variability.

Research fellowships will be provided to a total of 10 postgraduate students from 10 countries in 2015 who are based in African institutions of higher learning as well as those working in relevant forestry based research institutions to support their Doctoral or Master’s Program at an African university.

5.0 Eligibility

Applicants must meet the general and the specific eligibility criteria outlined below. Applications that do not meet eligibility criteria will not receive further evaluation.

5.1 General eligibility criteria

  1. Be a citizen of an African nation.
  2. Proposed fellowship project and activities must be clearly related to, and likely to advance impacts of climate change vulnerability of biophysical and socio-economic systems with particular emphasis on gender responsiveness and critical ecosystems in Africa within the selected broad areas.
  3. All application materials must be complete and received by the AFF Secretariat on or before the application deadline.
  4. All applicants must be supervised by a faculty member with expertise in the broad area of focus of the fellowship.

5.2 Specific eligibility criteria

Prospective research fellows must:

  1. Have a Master’s or Bachelor’s degree plus two or more years of professional experience related to forestry, natural resource management, development studies, climate change and environmental studies.
  2. Be already enrolled in a university as a graduate student and must have completed the course work for the degree at the time of application.

The application package:

  1. A duly filled AFF Fellowships application form "AFF Postgraduate  Fellowship form-climate change vulnerability".
  2. An institutional support form or letter that confirms the applicant’s university/college formal endorsement of his or her ability to participate in the research fellowship with the name of a potential main research supervisor indicating his/her willingness to supervise and guide the student research from inception to completion.
  3. A research proposal description with clearly defined research questions/objectives, methodology on the research area, targeted tasks that can be completed within the fellowship period, and explaining how the supported activities will improve the overall scientific quality of the research and the utility of the research on the impacts of climate change vulnerability of biophysical and socio-economic systems with particular emphasis on gender responsiveness and critical ecosystems. Evidence must be provided that the proposal has been accepted for that level of study by the university/college.
  4. A budget estimate showing the approximate costs related to each research activity.

6.0 Grant Terms

Research fellows will be matched with an African host institution, where they will reside for at least part of their fellowship experience. Each fellow will receive up to USD 10,000 for research and USD 2,000 to cover cost of travel, subsistence, and accommodation while in the field including supervision.

7.0 Application assessment and fellows selection

All applications that meet the general and specific eligibility criteria will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  1. Quality of the research proposal, stated objectives and methodology.
  2. Technical merit of the proposed work.
  3. Qualifications and capabilities of the applicant to undertake the proposed research work.
  4. Appropriateness of the proposed budget.
  5. Appropriateness of proposed host institution and supervisor’s expertise.

8.0 How to apply

  1. Download the fellowship applicaiton form by clicking this link "AFF Postgraduate  Fellowship form-climate change vulnerability".
  2. Fill the form and attach all the required supporting documents.
  3. E-mail the filled form and the supporting documents in an e-mail with the subject line "Research fellowships on assessment of impacts of climate change vulnerability of biophysical and socio-economic systems with particular emphasis on gender responsiveness and critical ecosystems in Africa -  Call for proposals" addressed to  M.Larwanou@cgiar.org and v.oeba@cgiar.org    

8.1 Deadlines

  1. Applications must be received by the Secretariat before or by 31 May 2015.
  2. Fellowship research activities should begin no later than 22 July 2015.
  3. Results of the Selection Panel will be announced to successful applicants by 29 June 2015.

Should you have any questions regarding this call, please contact Prof. Larwanou Mahamane and Dr. Vincent O. Oeba of the AFF Secretariat through the following e-mail address: M.Larwanou@cgiar.org and v.oeba@cgiar.org                                                                                           

 

 

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