Ms Sow Coumba Kone and Mr Mamadou Diakité, participants from Mali-Météo preparing their project brief. Photo. A. Diama, ICRISAT

Upskilling climate change experts in Mali: Training begins with live project synopsis

Ms Sow Coumba Kone and Mr Mamadou Diakité, participants from Mali-Météo preparing their project brief. Photo. A. Diama, ICRISAT

Ms Sow Coumba Kone and Mr Mamadou Diakité, participants from Mali-Météo preparing their project brief. Photo. A. Diama, ICRISAT

A training program initiated by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency is upskilling climate change professionals in Mali from various streams ranging from agriculture and pastoralism to ecology, meteorology and biochar technology. The launch of the training started with the seven participants presenting a synopsis of the live project that they intend to take up to benefit their institutes.

The participants are from national institutions and agencies such as the Office du Niger, Mali-Météo, Laboratory of the Tropical Ecology (Laboratoire d’Ecologie Tropicale (LET) and the National Agency for Environment and Sustainable Development. They will have access to the latest research and development in their fields of work and network with colleagues from other countries to improve their knowledge of new working methods. Regional experts in home countries and Swedish experts will supervise the trainees.

The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), an expert agency under the Swedish Ministry of the Environment, is implementing the training program in West Africa. The program focuses on integrating available climate information in a holistic way to facilitate sustainable adaptation measures and therefore places great emphasis on the end-users of climate information.

The ongoing training program is for 10 months including 3 weeks in Sweden. The training consists of 10 training modules including theoretical scientific content and practical tools. The topics include – Climate data,  Impact of climate change on water resources, Impact of climate change on agriculture, Vulnerability analysis and risk assessment,  Climate change mitigation, Adaptation and preventive actions, Decision making in a situation of uncertainty,  Institutional development  and  Climate information and communication services.

At the workshop launch, each candidate presented the details of a live project that they will work on during the training. Each project caters to the climate change aspect of the program objectives in the participant’s organization.

Snapshots of the live projects

Building climate resilience of pastoralists: Studying the impact of climate change on pastoralists and the functioning of the family unit can offer a better understanding of the impact of pastoralism on natural resources. “Women and children face major issues related to climate change. We will try to organize them into associations to build infrastructure dedicated to the collection, processing and marketing of milk to build their resilience,” says Mr Amidou Goita, co-author of a working project on the impact of climate change on pastoralism, in Kolokani, Koulikoro region.

Weather alerts: Ms Sow Coumba Kone from the office of Studies and Research for Climate Change at the national meteorological agency of Mali (Mali-Météo) is attending the program on a joint research project with a colleague and looking forward to collaborating with other participants. “Our research project focuses on extreme climate phenomena, their frequency, intensity and impact on the livelihood of populations. Through our project, we want to suggest solutions to alert people and reduce the consequences of these extreme climate events. We are confident that this program will help us gain experience as well as improve interactions with different stakeholders and it will be very beneficial in reframing our research work for greater efficiency.” Mr Mamadou Diakité, Meteorological engineer and forecaster at Mali Météo, says, “This program will deepen our knowledge on the subject and enhance the impact of our work. The program offers a great opportunity of interaction with other disciplines to enrich our knowledge. Most of our facilitators are former participants of the same training and therefore are well-equipped to guide us.”

Studying the impact of climate change on transhumance: Mr Boureima Kanambaye and Mr Bouchira Maiga intend to study the impact of climate change on the evolution of the transhumant livestock system in the areas of Nioro and Diéma, Kayes region, Mali. Both, work for the Laboratory of the Tropical Ecology, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Bamako, and aim to identify the avenues of transhumance and their evolution with climate change. They will also assess the production potential of herbaceous biomass and the pastoral value of rangelands with the aim of reducing human impact on pastoral and forest resources in terms of bush fires and overgrazing by cattle. “A socio-economic survey will be carried out with agro-pastoralists in the project sites in order to identify transhumance tracks and determine their evolution with climate change,” they said.

Biochar for sustainable energy: Mr Mohamed Lamine Sidibe, Head Research and Development, Office du Niger says his working project will focus on the development of organic charcoal by pyrolysis from non-valued local biomass in order to reduce deforestation in the Segou region in Mali. He explains his choice of theme pegging it to the fact that more than 80% of the energy needs of the Malian population are met by firewood or charcoal. The natural resources in the country are under great pressure as more than 100,000 hectares of biomass (forest, bushy savannah) disappear each year, mainly due to human activity (strong demographic growth, excessive cutting wood for fuel, unsustainable agricultural practices and bush fires). “To reduce deforestation while ensuring sustainable energy autonomy, we thought of developing bio-charcoal from non-recovered organic waste such as rice straw, water hyacinth, banana peels, corn husks, peanut shells or bush straw to replace charcoal, thus reducing deforestation and environmental degradation while meeting the energy needs of the population,” said Mr Sidibe.

Participants working on their live project briefs. Photos. A. Diama, ICRISAT

The seminar ended with the roadmap of program facilitation by ICRISAT in Mali. “As facilitators, we will support participants in the development of their projects through frequent interactions, technical reviews, guidance, progress monitoring and coaching,” said ICRISAT scientist Dr Nadine Worou. “The training will help each participant improve knowledge on climate change related aspects, establish a well-extended network both in the country of origin and in the region and strengthen capacities to induce and lead positive change,” said Mr Tharcisse Ndayizigiye, Project Coordinator for SMHI.

The workshop titled International Advanced Climate Change Training Program on Climate Mitigation and Adaptation was launched at ICRISAT-Mali on December 4. The launch workshop was organized by ICRISAT and facilitated by Dr Nadine Worou in collaboration with Mr Tharcisse Ndayizigiye along with Ms Asa Johnsen, Hydrologist and training officer for SMHI, Dr Abderahim Ahmadou, Food and Nutrition scientist, Institut Polytechnic Rural, Mali and Mr Sékou N ‘Faly Sissoko, Specialist, atmospheric and environmental physics (Mali-Météo).

Reported by Agathe Diama, Head Regional Information, ICRISAT-WCA

Partners: SMHI, Mali Meteo, IFRA-IPR Katiboubou and ICRISAT

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