2020 webinars series in partnership with the Clean Energy Solutions Centre and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

ISNAD-Africa’s Mentoring for Research Programme (MRP) establishes technical and thematic mentoring relationships between students in African Universities, and, experienced researchers and professionals from more than 50 countries across the globe.

ISNAD-Africa organises a series of webinar trainings annually to introduce the programme to new mentees and expose them to strategic concerns on sustainable energy, environment and climate change across the globe with focus on Africa. The series of webinars for the year 2020 were hosted by the MRP team in partnership with the Clean Energy Solutions Centre (CESC), operated by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado, United States.

Adedoyin Adeleke, the Executive Director of ISNAD-Africa, kicked off the first webinar with a presentation on the background and objectives of the Mentoring for Research Programme (MRP). He is a Doctoral (PhD) candidate within the UNESCO Chair in Energy for Sustainable Development at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy. He started the MRP as a knowledge transfer and capacity building mechanism that raises global and multi-stakeholder support for students conducting research on sustainable energy, environment, and climate change in African universities. He also initiated the Environmental Education Programme which has been implemented in secondary schools in various African countries. Adedoyin is a Lead Country Contributor (Nigeria) to three editions of REN21’s Global Status Report (2017-2019) on renewable energy and UNEP’s 1 Gigaton Coalition Report (third edition). In 2014, Adedoyin implemented six education programmes which impacted 800 youths in Nigeria. He has won various awards including 40-under – 40 Change-makers in solar energy, 30-Under- 30 Game-changers in environmental education, and Top 100 Shakers and Movers in e-learning in Africa by globally reputed organisations. Adedoyin says ‘Africa is too rich to be poor, I choose to Act’.

Yunshu Li from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Germany facilitated a session with the mentees under the topic: Sustainable Energy and 2030 Agenda: Is Africa on track?

Yunshu Li is a professional from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). As part of the long-term energy planning team, her work involves the analysis of long-term energy systems, with a focus on Africa’s power systems. She is a main author for IRENA’s upcoming planning report for Southern and Eastern Africa. The team also supports capacity-building activities in Sub-Saharan African countries through national training programme and regional workshops. Prior to joining IRENA, Ms. Li developed power system models for Aurora Energy Research in the UK, specialising in the modelling of market mechanisms and policy impacts in the European market and Morocco. During her studies, she had brief stints at the Carbon Trust, and was an organiser for the Oxford Climate Forum.

In this webinar, she presented the key findings of IRENA’s work on Africa’s power system, conducted using the System Planning Test (SPLAT). The webinar discussed the current status of the continent’s electricity generation, its aspirations, and the challenges and rewards of using renewable energy to power Africa’s electricity needs

Alan Miller from the International Finance Corporation, USA (Retired) enlightened the mentees in a session on ‘Climate Change in Africa: Susceptibility, Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation’.

Alan Miller retired from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm in the World Bank Group, in January 2014 after 16 years working on climate and development issues. He continues to do independent consulting; recent clients include UNDP, US AID, Sustainable Energy For All, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the UNEP Finance Initiative, and the World Bank Group. His recent work focuses primarily around two issues, climate risks for the financial system and the need for sustainable cooling to address climate change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. From 2014-18 he was a senior member of a UNDP program promoting new technologies and business models for improving weather and climate information services in Africa. At the World Bank, his responsibilities included representing the Global Environment Facility and WBG in international forums focused on climate change and green growth. He has taught courses on global environmental issues at 9 universities in four disciplines and is currently an adjunct professor at American University.  He was twice a Fulbright Scholar and in 2018 was the recipient of a practitioner residency at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center.     

Dr. Juha Ilari Uitto from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), USA elaborated on ‘Environmental Sustainability and Global Development’

Dr. Juha I. Uitto is Director of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). He came to the position from being the Deputy Director of the IEO of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) from 2009 to 2014. Prior to that, he worked as Evaluation Adviser in UNDP and as Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator/Specialist with the GEF since 1999. He has conducted and managed programmatic and thematic evaluations of international cooperation at the global, regional and country levels, with focus on environmental management and poverty-environment linkages. He served as the Executive Coordinator of the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) from 2009 to 2012 and again in 2014. He now chairs UNEG’s working group on Integrating Environmental and Social Impact into Evaluations.

Dr. Uitto spent the 1990s with the United Nations University (UNU) coordinating the university’s environment and sustainable development research and training programmes. He was educated at the Universities of Helsinki and Lund, and holds a PhD in Social and Economic Geography. He has authored/edited several books and published more than 40 peer reviewed articles and book chapters on topics related to the environment, natural resources management, environmental hazards, and evaluation.

Oluwadamilola Pikuda, Manager, Programmes for ISNAD-Africa made a presentation on ‘Maximizing the role of a mentor’.  

Oluwadamilola Pikuda is a passionate environmental researcher with expertise in photocatalysis, material science, nanotechnology/nanomaterials, and their applications towards achieving a cleaner and sustainable environment. She is currently a Doctoral candidate at the Biocolloids and Surfaces Laboratory, Department of Chemical Engineering, McGill University, Canada where her research focuses on the effects of plastic pollution on aquatic environments.

For more information about the programme, visit https://isnad-africa.org/mentoring-for-research-programme-mrp-2020-call-for-application/

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