IDCE names Environment and Sustainable Development fellows

With funds from the Compton Foundation, Clark's International Development, Community and Environment department continues to support Environment and Sustainable Development (ESD) Fellowships for master’s level graduate students whose studies focus on cross-cutting themes and issues related to the environment and sustainable development. ESD Fellowships are designed support early to mid-career professionals from sub-Saharan Africa, Mexico, and Central America who are enrolled in one of IDCE’s four master’s degree programs.

ESD Fellows are chosen by an interdisciplinary committee of IDCE faculty, and are selected in line with Compton’s goals of supporting graduate students who intend to return to their home regions to work in fields that contribute directly to the capacity of their countries, and to make informed policy and resource management decisions based on principles of sustainability and sound science.

ESD Fellows receive awards ranging from $9,000 to $13,000 at the end of their first year of study. ESD fellowships enable recipients to conduct research during the summer recess, in their home countries, toward their final Master’s projects and to gain practical field experience.

IDCE is proud to announce this year’s awardees and their research topics:

CONSUELO FERNANDEZ (Bolivia)

Topic

Local adaptation in communities and neighborhoods affected by the impacts of the climate change, and in one of the poorest regions of Bolivia

Project Abstract

This research study will be focused on the adaptation of poor communities and neighborhoods to the climate change impacts -- such as hailstorms, frosts, flooding, overflow, and droughts -- in urban and rural regions of Bolivia. The study will focus on two specific areas: a rural community located within the municipality of Cairoma, and a neighborhood located in District 4 of the city of El Alto, both areas currently impacted by climate change and both located in the Department of La Paz. The purpose of having two different contexts is to learn from the outcomes among its differentiations and/or relationships, and to compare them basically on three main aspects: local structure, local outreach and awareness, and local adaptation.

The research objectives are: 1) study the level of outreach and public awareness on climate change and its impacts at the local level and the participation of public and private institutions on these issues, and 2) study how the community and the neighborhood are adapting their behaviors and their livelihoods to these climate change impacts, on three specific scales: individual, household, and community. The study outcomes are directed not only at the completion of the master’s degree, but also to be very significant data tools to strengthen the sustainability and development of current and future projects focused on climate change issues in Bolivia at the local and national level. Furthermore, it will also strengthen the application, design, and evaluation of public policies on numerous topics like poverty, human development, environmental issues, capacity building, community building, community organizing and emergency measures.

FAUSTINA ETHEL GANAA (Ghana)

Topic

Impact of post basic education on the environment and sustainable development

Project Abstract

This research study will examine and analyze the impact of post basic education -- vis a vis illiteracy rate -- on the environment and sustainable development in Northern Ghana. A solid human capital is a necessity for sustainable development and education plays a major role in this. Education lifts people out of poverty and improves employability and productivity, which implies less demand on the environment. It also means the provision of knowledge and information of how to live in harmony with the environment and how sustainable development cannot be attained with negligence of post basic education. There is a link between poverty, education, and environment, yet Northern Ghana is both affected by high poverty incidence, lack of accessible quality secondary education, low secondary education net enrollment, and therefore greater uneducated (primary education or none) population.

The millennium development goals include two education targets that are concerned with universal primary education and gender parity, but there is no mention of post-basic education. This could lead to a policy of education diverting education assistance funds away from post-basic education. This could be counterproductive and reduce the efforts towards sustainable development. It is therefore vital to demonstrate and highlight the role of post-basic education in the attainment of sustainable development. Consequently, the study aims to demonstrate why access to quality secondary education in Northern Ghana is very critical in sustainable development.

TYRONE HALL (Jamaica)

Topic

Communication and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in Jamaica: The consequences for sustainable development

Project Abstract

This research study will examine how communication effects Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in Jamaica. It will seek to understand the use of communication in EIAs at a procedural and conceptual level. To achieve this, I will examine the channels of communication used in crafting an EIA and scrutinize how knowledgeable stakeholders are of the process. I will also study the role of communication in the knowledge generation process of an EIA. The study will be conducted in two phases over 12 weeks using various qualitative research methodologies.

This study complements my interest in using communication to enhance development thought and practice in Jamaica. The research findings will form the basis for my final M.A. project at Clark University and equip me with skills that may be used to articulate the need for the integrated use of communication strategies for sustainable development in the wider Caribbean.

This study is particularly important as the rapid pace of socioeconomic advancement in developing countries, such as Jamaica, has important implications for the efficacy with which institutional regimes are developed and applied to ensure environmental sustainability. I anticipate two main outcomes from this study: first, identify how communication shapes EIAs in Jamaica; and second, explore  the emergence of a clear link between knowledge production for EIAs, the communication of EIA findings and the level of awareness of EIA procedures in Jamaica. A better understanding of these issues is imperative to finding ways to make EIAs more potent tools for ensuring sustainable development.

RODNEY ELIAS NGALAMBA (Tanzania)

Topic

Understanding ecological degradation of the Malagarasi-Moyowosi wetland ecosystem in Northwestern Tanzania; sustainable natural resource management implications

Project Abstract

Protected areas are thought to be the cornerstones of biodiversity conservation and strong holds for wildlife. Planning for protected areas in the tropics has accepted the principle of zonation to allow different patterns of resource use and protection. This is inherited from the Man and Biosphere concept of UNESCO, and is the rationale behind the core and buffer zones that are typical of many of Tanzania’s protected areas (PA).Most of the buffer zones permit greater levels of resource use -- use that is sustainable (the use of resources is within their capacity for renewal). Such uses include grazing, timber, and biomass exploitation, such as minor forest produce. However, the core zones restrict resource use and they are expected to be less disturbed and exploited areas of the PA. The Malagarasi-Moyowosi wetland ecosystem is one of the protected area networks in Tanzania. The great part of this ecosystem, 95 percent, is under protection; the unprotected 5 percent forms a buffer zone that is prone to ecological degradation caused by increased population, agricultural activities, animal husbandry, illegal fishing, poaching of animals, and illegal lumbering, thus threatening the health of the Malagarasi-Moyowosi wetland system.

Ecological degradation is a force that is not easily recognized, defined, or studied. However, it is an important issue in sensitive environments such as wetlands and its study is of paramount importance in terms of provision of policy to address sustainable natural resources management. This study will focus, generally, on the ecological degradation of the Malagarasi-Moyowosi wetland ecosystem. Specifically, the study will determine the resource base, use, existing policies and regulation, rate of loss of fauna and flora species, and rate of loss of the ecosystem's high quality habitats. These factors cause ecological degradation and biodiversity loss -- consequences of ecological degradation; the study, therefore, proposes various sustainable natural resource interventions which can help to revert to the ecological degradation trend for the benefit of present and future generations.

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