Dr. Elia Mwanga, a Mentee of the MRP 2018 Cohort, is a Lecturer at the University of Dodoma, Tanzania. Specialized in Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law and Intellectual Property Law, his research project was on the “Legal and Policy Challenges of Integrating Indigenous Knowledge Systems into Climate Change Strategies in Mainland Tanzania”. He shares his perspective on the programme.
Congrats on the completion of your PhD programme. Would you like to tell us about yourself?
I am Dr. Elia Mwanga, I completed my PhD studies in November, 2019. Presently I am a Lecturer at the Department of Law, the University of Dodoma, Tanzania; specialized in Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, Legal Research and Intellectual Property Law. I have researched and published widely on Climate Change, Oil and Gas and others aspects of natural resources and environmental law.
Why a PhD? – Your motivation, what were your considerations before deciding for a PhD programme?
I did Master of Laws (LL.M) focusing on climate change. From that time, I developed more interest on climate change issues. I have always been curious of learning more about climate change policy both at national and international level. As such, doing PhD for me, was among the ways I could gain further knowledge on climate change.
My research project was on “Legal and Policy Challenges of Integrating Indigenous Knowledge Systems into Climate Change Strategies in Mainland Tanzania”. As of now, climate change is among the major environmental problems facing the world. To address the problem, each state is argued to participate in implementing measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Researches show that indigenous/traditional knowledge can also contribute into measures to address climate change. As such the study examines the role of municipal laws in enhancing and promoting the use of indigenous/traditional knowledge to address the problem of climate change.
You are one of the 2018 cohort of ISNAD-Africa’s Mentoring for Research Programme (MRP), how would you describe the programme in general?
In 2018, I was among the few applicants who were enrolled to ISNAD-Africa Mentoring for Research Programme (MRP). Everything about the Programme is organised online but the Programme offers a wide range of benefits, academic and social benefits. I consider the Programme to be among the initiatives that uses effectively the benefits brought by development of science and technology. Indeed the Programme contributed a lot to my PhD research.
You said the MRP contributed a lot to your PhD, can you provide specific examples of how?
Through MRP, I was able to receive significant insights and inputs to my thesis from experienced person on climate change. MRP further increased my networking by exposing me to different persons who we can collaborate in future through different ways including co-authorship.
What type of insights and inputs did you receive? What do you consider particularly helpful in the programme?
During proposal stage, I thought that I needed a person who has experience on international climate change policy to be among my respondents. Thus I had an obligation to find that person. Fortunately the MRP programme made it easy for me. My Mentor who is experienced in international climate change policy advised me on climate change policy at international level and provided me with some materials that enriched my thesis.
As you may know, PhD research often demands more than envisaged. Would you like to appreciate some of the people and organisations that supported the success of your research?
A number of institutions contributed to the completion of my PhD research. Perhaps I may not be able to mention all of them. This is because during my research, I received contributions from several organisations, and I am indebted to all of them. However I must mention the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the University of Dodoma who sponsored my PhD research. I also appreciate the support I received from ISNAD-MRP Programme and my Mentor, Mr. Abdelkader Allalli.