I am grateful to be a recipient of an African Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship. Thanks to the Program and its sponsors I have had a once in a lifetime opportunity for career advancement and exposure which will benefit my home country of Cameroon, and Africa in general.
Conferencing as an ALT scholar
A recent highlight of my studies in Canada has been the great opportunity to share my research on environmental labelling and eco-certification at the Environmental Studies Association of Canada (ESAC) Conference held in May.
As part of my Master of Arts in Environmental Policy at Memorial University of Newfoundland I am studying different eco-labeling schemes and how various regional bodies are adopting these in their political or policy agendas. My research focuses on how African countries can collaborate with international certifying bodies to have their fisheries industries certified and meet market expectations.
By participating on the ESAC panel on fisheries certification initiatives in Canada, I was able to interact with professionals, academics and colleagues from other universities and discuss research and involvement in fishery-related activities. It was a mutual exchange – I was able to share my African-oriented research with Canadian experts as well.
My career plan
My experience as an ALT scholar in Canada directly aligns with and supports my career plan for back home. Focusing on ongoing fishery certification initiatives in Africa, I would like to acquire, share and learn from professionals about existing certification challenges from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Equipped with this expertise I plan to return to Cameroon to assist small scale, resource-poor fishermen to move towards certification. In the long run I’d like to influence the policy agenda of the country’s fisheries management and conservation options on a larger scale.
My message to future ALT scholars
I wish both old and new ALT scholars the very best. I will always encourage other professional Africans to apply and come get the best in Canada’s graduate studies and professional development.
Richard Nyiawung is from Cameroon. He has a B.Sc in Agriculture from the University of Buea. Prior to starting his studies in Canada, he worked at the Institute of Tropical Agriculture on the Cameroon Cocoa Eco+ Project, a research project seeking to find sustainable and eco-friendly approaches to improving cocoa production in West and Central Africa.