NUI calls for application for the MSc., program in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security

The NUI Galway invites qualified candidates to apply for its new MSc in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) program. The programme is aimed at students who want to combine scientific and social or policy skills to better understand and make significant contributions to climate adaptation and mitigation in agriculture and food security.
Application deadline: NUI Galway does not set a deadline for receipt of applications (with some exceptions). Offers will be issued on a continuous basis. Candidates are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

The world’s climate is rapidly changing due to global warming, and will continue to do so for the decades and centuries ahead. This poses major challenges for future agricultural systems to provide food and other bioresources for the 9 billion people that will occupy the planet by 2050.

The new MSc in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) provides students with the skills and tools for developing agricultural practices, policies and measures addressing the challenge that global warming poses for agriculture and food security worldwide.

Graduates of this programme will be equipped to pursue roles associated with local, national and international efforts to promote sustainable agricultural production, global food security and climate change adaptation.There is now a growing recognition of how different agriculture systems can contribute to climate change, past and present. Hence, the dual challenge of adapting future agricultural systems to climate change, must also include mitigation of the effects of agriculture on climate change.

The new MSc in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) is aimed at students who want to combine scientific, engineering, technical, social or policy skills so that they are better equipped to understand and make significant contributions regarding adaptation and mitigation of climate change impacts on global agriculture and food security.

Minimum requirements: NQAI Level 8 honours degree or equivalent to a minimum standard of Second Class Honours, Grade 1 or equivalent in an appropriate discipline

Duration: 1 year

Next Start Date: September 2014

Contact information/Enquiries:
Dr Edna Curley, Programme Co-ordinator | Tel: +353 91 494 158 |

Prof. Charles Spillane, Head of Discipline of Botany & Plant Science | Tel: +353 91 494 148 | Email:

More details can be found here at:

Survival garden: What is it and how can I set up one in my home or community?

Youth Grow Farm, REC, 2007

Youth Grow Farm, REC, 2007

Youth Grow Farm, REC, 2007

Youth Grow Farm, REC, 2007

What is a survival garden?

Three girls take me to their family survival gardens in Ghana

Three girls take me to their family survival gardens in Ghana

Survival gardens, as the name depict are gardens that are meant to serve as an immediate source of food, nutritional supply and a supplementary source of income for a household. While generating income may not necessarily be the primary motivation for setting up a survival garden, in most developing countries and in situations of refugee camps, it usually turns out to be the case.

How big should my survival garden be?

A survival garden can take several forms and shapes. It can be established anywhere in your house or in your yard. While some survival gardens maybe planted once in a life time by some people, to others it is a way of life, which is part them. A survival garden maybe established on a piece of landscape as (1m x 2-3m) or it could be done in several flower pots, planted in boxes made from wood, used car tires, on the shelves of your kitchen, garage, in your porch, along the walkways leading to your front/back doors of your house, on the roof top of your home provided the infrastructure is strong to support the addition of soil, etc. In essence, a survival garden can be established anywhere in your household.

My wood box (1M x 3m) survival garden planted with collard green, sunflowers, tomatoes, basel, mint, pepper, and cilantro  in Worcester, MA

My wood box (1M x 3m) survival garden planted with collard green, sunflowers, tomatoes, basel, mint, pepper, and cilantro in Worcester, MA

Sunflower from my survival garden.

Sunflower from my survival garden.

Usually, the size of the survival garden depends on the available space, your time, resources and your interest. However, the appropriate use of horizontal and vertical ‘spacescapes’ of your garden area can yield substantial returns in terms of overall productivity should you use these spaces judiciously. I have set up several survival gardens over the past few years in Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Ghana and in the United States. It is the passion to see life grows and develops into something unique, special and natural and it is this love that drives the motivation to set up survival gardens, which may differ from individual to individual. However, the core is that it is much more than just a typical ‘backyard garden’ or something of such. It connects you back to nature and reality.

A gardener makes use of a termite hill space to extend his survival garden.

A gardener makes use of a termite hill space to extend his survival garden.

A survival garden shown to me here was planted with potatoes grown for both the tube and leaves as it is commonly eaten in West Africa.

A survival garden shown to me here was planted with potatoes grown for both the tube and leaves as it is commonly eaten in West Africa.

How can I setup a survival garden?

Survival Garden with Drip Irrigation, Green Mulching and Collard Green, Accra, Ghana, 2008

Survival Garden with Drip Irrigation, Green Mulching and Collard Green, Accra, Ghana, 2005

Making a survival garden at first may require some sort of expense, but not that much. If you have access to finance, it would be appropriate to first test the soil that you would like to use for your garden. This first step is important when doing any form of gardening. The recommended soil tests should consider the levels of some of the listed parameters and off-course you could always add or subtract from the list of tests as you go along. Some of the main parameters for soil analyses should include: pH, lead (you don’t want your kids affected by this), Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Sulphur, Chlorine, Zinc, Copper and Iron. This list is not exhaustive. There are series of ‘do it yourself’ affordable test kits you can use to do the analyses yourself with your kids helping and learning in the process. Most of these kits are USDA approved and recommended to be used at home, but with care and some levels of caution. The kits come with the required materials you will need to conduct the test as well as the analyses. There are usually color-coded charts, which come with each system to explain the results to you. In the process, you and your kids become the soil science experts, which is cool because you all learn and you know what the soil in your garden looks like and is compose off. You can always ask a community-based group specialize in soil analysis if you need extra help.

Survival Garden with Eggplant irrigated using Drip Irrigation Systems, Accra, Ghana, 2009

Survival Garden with Eggplant irrigated using Drip Irrigation Systems, Accra, Ghana, 2006

Complex tests such as lead assessment and others should be done by taking soil samples at the laboratory. In most developing countries, some of these services are not available, however, people tend to know nutrients deficiencies based on some visual symptoms such as leaf color, stem appearance, fruit size, flower, etc. Nature sometimes is its own expert. We just need to listen, look carefully and interact with it to be able to understand it. You may also want to test the physical state of your soil such as soil texture and structure, bulk density, and level of organic matter, etc. These are all important aspects to consider should you want to have a healthy garden soil, which is needed to support healthy plant growth and yield. Always remember, your plant will be as healthy as the soil that it is planted in. I would recommend at first that you randomly collect soil samples throughout the ‘gardenscape’ for detailed chemical analyses as this will tell you at face value what the health of your soil is, what you need to do and you can decide what plants to cultivate and how much compost or other source of organic amendments you could use to treat your soil for deficient nutrients detected from the soil analyses.

How should I plant my crop?


Mixed-cropping, intercropping, companion planting are some of the recommended approaches used to encourage biodiversity, promote ecosystem services at the garden level, sustainable insects and disease management, weed control and the efficient use of land and other resources while producing multiple crop for household use. These cultivation methods reduce the amount of time you need to be at the garden, which gives you enough time to do other things. Also, each crop planted during different stages, develops and are harvested at different periods during the season.This allows you to also plant in between harvest and this process allows you to constantly have food available from your garden throughout the season. Three-sisters garden approach in which you plant squash (or pumpkin) with corn and beans (peas) together on small heaps or garden mounds.

What are the benefits of survival gardens?









In areas where survival gardens are usually planted by families along small plots of land usually together with other survival gardens of community members, there is usually the spirit of ownership, community togetherness, co-sharing, shared interests and frequent interactions, which promotes peaceful living, love, serenity and togetherness. Survival gardens are the powerhouse and last defense system for poor or low income families as well as middle and high income families. It provides food for the home, generates small income by selling excess products to their neighbors (if necessary), it provides outdoor or indoor beauty to your home gives your ‘livingspace’ and surrounding landscape the essence to supports live. It reduces your dependence on outsourcing food supplies from afar thus minimizing your ecological footprints and taking control of what we eat, which also allows us to make the decision on how it is grown, and how we spend our money. If you are a parent, it presents a special and unique opportunity to do some home teaching with your kids. Children by nature learn very fast through environmental-induced teaching strategies. The environment is a classroom by itself. One without walls and limitations as is with the usual classroom environments, which restricts, controls and limits creativity with the objective of transmitting knowledge in a control environment. If you have a survival garden or any garden for that matter, it allows children the free space to explore their potentials on a different dimension and in different setting. Produce harvested from the garden supplements the food needs for the home and the nutritional needs of the family. It provides income when more is produce. It encourages ecosystem diversity, reduces our dependence on external food sources and keeps our pockets stock with some cash for some time. Survival garden is a great tool that can be used to transform the living space of your household into a system that is self-sustaining. A family growing their food together find much deeper meaning in what they grow relative to what they eat, because the two are inseparable. If you have not had a survival garden before, there are some resources online that you can read and try organizing with your family to try a little project, to set up a summer survival garden. Trust me, you will be dirty, sweaty and tired at some point, but as you see your plant grow and as you observe your garden flourish, the joy of the harvest with your family and friends will wash away the memories of hard labor.

Images Use Sources

1. Youth Grown Urban Garden [2007]. Regional Environment Council. Worcester, MA.

2. Johnsen, Jan. Serenity in the Garden: Grow A Three Sisters Garden. URL: Accessed: 06/23/2014.

The Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup 2014 Finals in Brazil: Who Goes On or Out?

This analysis focuses on groups hosting African teams and provides a brief analytical summaries of the way forward to the Round of 16 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals in Brazil with emphasis on each African countries per group, their strength to progress, etc. This doesn’t covered all other countries/groups except group A, C, F, G, and H respectively. The main source of teams data per game: Accessed: 06/23/2014

Please Note: Goal difference (gd) will be a crucial determinant/factor to decide which teams/countries make the next round at the World Cup. Goals difference is calculated by subtracting goals conceded (gc) by a team from goals scored (gs) at the games. gd = gs – gc.

Some examples: If team A and Team B played a match and team A scored 4 goals, while team B had 2 goals, and a second game between Team C and D yielded the following results with team C scoring 2 and team D scored 2, below are the associated calculated goal differences between both teams. You don’t want gd to be a negative number. It should always be =/> 0 (+).

Teams GS GC GD Pts (referenced in ordered as below)

A 4 2 2 3

B 2 4 -2 0

C 2 2 0 1

D 2 2 0 1

Note: GS = Goals Scored; GC = Goals Conceded; GD = Goals Difference; PTS = Points

Analysis of Group A Standings. To the Round of 16 in Brazil with Brazil, Mexico, Croatia and Cameroon. Brazil leads the group with 4 points and 2 goals differences. Mexico has 4 points with 1-gd. Brazil needs a win against Cameroon to cement their place at the 16 and come out SUPERB! A draw between Brazil and Cameroon could be disastrous for Brazil, since that could put their qualification at the feet and mercies of Croatia and Mexico. If Brazil draws with Cameroon, in this case, they would be hoping that Croatia defeats Mexico and yet, if that happens, Croatia will lead the group, qualify to the 16 and the runner up would be determined based on goals differences between Mexico and Brazil. On the other hand, Mexico comes second right now to Brazil in the group standings. Mexico plays Croatia next who comes 3rd in the group with 3 points and 2 goals differences. Mexico needs a 2-0 win against Croatia to dethrone Brazil for the group dominance and qualify with 7 points to the Round of 16. A draw with Croatia gives Mexico 5 points and hopes that Cameroon defeats Brazil 2-0 for both Croatia and Mexico to qualify. Croatia needs a wins a 1-0 win against Mexico to qualify for the of 16. If Croatia draws with Mexico , if would be in their (Croatia) favor for the draw to be 2-2, which neutralizes Brazil current goals differences in which case both Mexico and Croatia will qualify even though a draw of such nature would mean that Cameroon MUST defeat Brazil at least 1-0. As for Cameroon, play or not play, their prospects for the round of 16 vanished after their LOW performance during their last game with Croatia in which they conceded 4-0. On June 23, 2014 at 4:00 PM ET, Cameroon plays Brazil, while Croatia takes on Mexico for the group’s final matches.

Final Teams to the round of 16 from Group A: Brazil and Mexico

Analysis of Group C Standings. To the Round of 16 in Brazil with Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan and Greece. Colombia leads the group with 6 points and 4 goals differences. Ivory Coast has 3 points with 0-gd. Colombia already qualifies for the round of 16. Win or loss their next match to Japan would either make them group leaders or runner up. Colombia needs a win against Japan to cement their group dominance! A draw between Colombia and Japan disqualifies Japan automatically, since Japan currently has only 1 point. Colombia really don’t have anything to loss EXCEPT to make history. However, if Ivory Coast wins Greece 4-0, they will top the group and hopes that Japan defeats Colombia. A 2-0 win for Ivory Coast against Greece with a 2-0 for Japan against Colombia could also see Ivory Coast topping the group, qualifying for the round of 16 and effectively neutralizing the 4 goals difference own by the Colombians. As for Greece and Japan, both teams need a significant win to legitimize their place in the 16. Unfortunately, only 2 teams per group make the ticket to the 16. For Japan, she needs a 2-0 win against Colombia to effectively have 4 points and neutralize the -1 gd she currently have and hopes Greece defeats Ivory Coast 1-0. A draw with the Colombians disqualifies Japan. Greece needs a 3-0 win against Ivory Coast to be considered for the round of 16 and effective neutralize their -3 goals difference and hopes that Colombia wins and draws with Japan. In all cases, the group current standing is interesting and any team at this moment could join Colombia to the round of 16. On June 24, 2014 at 4:00 PM ET, Japan plays Colombia, while Ivory Coast takes on Greece for the group’s final matches.

Final Teams to the round of 16 from Group C: Colombia and Ivory Coast

Analysis of Group F Standings. To the Round of 16 in Brazil with Argentina, Nigeria, Iran and Bosnia. Argentina leads the group with Nigeria. Argentina is already in the Round of 16, but needs a win or draw against the Nigerians to maintain leadership. Nigeria needs a win to dethrone Argentina from leadership. If draws, Nigeria qualifies with Argentina. Iran needs 2-0 win against Bosnia and hopes Argentina defeats Nigeria 2-0 to qualify with Argentina. A draw between Iran and Bosnia cement their disqualifications. On June 25 at 12:00 PM ET Iran plays Bosnia, while the Nigeria takes Argentina for the group’s final matches.

Final Teams to the round of 16 from Group F: Argentina and Nigeria

Analysis of Group G Standings. Round of 16 in Brazil with Germany, USA, Portugal and Ghana. Germany needs a win or draw against the USA to qualify. The USA needs a win or draw against Germany to qualify. Ghana needs a win of at least 2-zero against Portugal to qualify and hopes Germany defeats the US 2-0 to neutralize goals difference should Ghana win 1-0. A draw between Ghana and Portugal disqualifies both teams. Portugal needs a 5-zero win against Ghana and hopes Germany beats the USA 1-0 to qualify. On June 26 at 12:00 PM ET Ghana plays Portugal, while the USA takes Germany for the group’s final matches.

Final Teams to the round of 16 from Group G: Germany and USA

Analysis of Group H Standings. To the Round of 16 in Brazil with Belgium, Algeria, Russia and South Korea. Belgium leads the group with 6 points and 2 goals difference with Algeria at 3 points and 1 goal difference. At present, Belgium qualifies to the round of 16 and only needs a draw (worst case) and a win (superb best case). If they win, it would only cement their group leadership role. Belgium plays South Korea next and a draw disqualifies S. Korea, since S. Korea currently has only 1 point with -2 goals difference. However, S. Korea needs a 3-0 win against Belgium should they want to qualify on goal difference to join Belgium, while hoping that the game between Algeria and Russia ends 1-0 to Russia. If this happens, S. Korea will qualify based on goals difference. Algeria on the other hand needs 1-0 win against Russia and hopes that S. Korea wins Belgium 3-0 to make Algeria the group leader along with Belgium who would comes in the second place, if this should happen. A draw between Algeria and Russia would be disastrous for Russia as that would translate into automatic disqualification from being considered as part of the round of 16. However, if Russia and Algeria should draw, Algeria will be hoping that Belgium defeats S. Korea, because if S. Korea wins, it is more likely for them to qualify with Belgium on goal difference against Algeria and off course that would depend on how many goals scored and conceded by both Algeria and S. Korea. Russia on the other hand needs a 2-0 win against Algeria to make it to the Round of 16 with Belgium. A draw between Russia and Algeria disqualifies Russia and in this case, if a draw is inevitable, Algeria will be hoping that Belgium defeats S. Korea. Lastly, S. Korea needs a 3-0 win against Belgium should they want to qualify and hope Russia defeats Algeria 1-0, in which case S. Korea would qualify on goal difference. On June 26, 2014 at 4:00 PM ET, Algeria takes on Russia, while South Korea embattles Belgium in the final matches of the group stages.

Final Teams to the round of 16 from Group H : Belgium and Algeria

Fellowships at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg-Essen – Global Diasporas

Call for Applications: Fellowships at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg-Essen

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research is pleased to announce its call for applications for fellowships roughly beginning in April 2015.

The Centre is an independent research institution of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The four research units of the Centre focus on (1) The (Im)Possibility of Cooperation, (2) Global Cultural Conflicts and Transcultural Cooperation, (3) Global Governance Revisited, and (4) Paradoxes and Perspectives of Democratisation (see ).

Fellows will join the Centre for a period of six to twelve months. The fellowships provide a working space in fully equipped offices and a competitive stipend commensurate with applicants’ level of professional experience. In order to maximize their engagement with the community at the Centre, during their fellowship terms fellows are expected to routinely spend time in and conduct much of their work from Duisburg, in most cases requiring residency in Duisburg or the Rhein-Ruhr region. They should show interest in contributing to the Centre’s overall line of research and enthusiastically embrace its inter- and multidisciplinary research environment. A successfully completed PhD is required for eligibility for a fellowship.
For an overview of our current fellows as well as Alumni Fellows, please visit:

For this call, Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research is especially interested in the following topics:

• Global diasporas and regional movements
• Experimental analyses of international negotiations
• Micro-politics of negotiation processes
• Democracy and post-democracy in a global age
• Dynamics of legal pluralities

Applications (in English) should contain a cover letter, your CV, a concise research proposal (3-5 pages) plus one relevant publication. Please indicate your preferred period of stay.
Please submit your application electronically using our website: .

The deadline for applications is the 2nd of July 2014. We particularly encourage female researchers and scholars from the Global South to apply. The next call for applications will be issued in October 2014.
If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact Matthias Schuler, Executive Director (Administration), at or me.

With best regards, Tobias Debiel

Prof. Dr. Tobias Debiel, Director
Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Institute for Development and Peace (INEF)
University of Duisburg-Essen, 47048 Duisburg

“Land Reforms, Sustainable Agriculture and Water Resources in the Presence of Climate Change: A Critical Analysis for Policymakers and Development Practitioners in Lao PDR.”

A Supplementary Research Paper.

Brief Note

Over the past several decades, the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) has instituted several policy reforms in hope of attracting investors and development organizations with the aim of working with national partners and other stakeholders to address the effects of climate change and the sustainable use of land, water and agricultural resources for sustainable development. Lao PDR stands at the hub of natural resources along with its competitive neighbors within the region, namely: China, Viet Nam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar. The development and implementation of policies geared towards the sustainable use of agricultural resources, lands and water driven by sound research is the hallmark for transitioning from a Least Developed Country (LCD) to a prospective developing country, a state that the current government of Lao PDR seeks to overcome with several policy reforms. This paper seeks to provide a critical analysis of the current state of policy reforms in land, water and agricultural resources in Lao PDR with the aim of providing quality information to policymakers and development practitioners that are involved in natural resources management and how to address the negative environmental impacts of climate change. The paper builds on extensive secondary research, which include published academic papers, government policies as well as technical reports, gray literature and project documents released by development organizations and research institutions. The overall goal of this paper is to critically outline and provide constructive recommendations of what have been formulated in terms of policy reforms, their social and environmental implications, if any, successes, failures and how these policies drive the fight against climate change in Lao PDR to protect and conserve agricultural resources, land, and water for sustainable development.

Light Fried Morning Glory

IMG_20140422_153851 copy

Light fried morning glory is a typical dish throughout Southeast Asia. The dish is commonly eaten with steam rice or sticky rice, papaya salad, potatoes, yam, etc. Depending on your preference, it can be cooked with fresh green or red peppers, green onions or onions, herbs and or carrots. For dinner tonight, I made some fresh organically grown morning glory from our site at Ekxang village in the Vientiane Province.Here are few photos, ingredients and simple steps to prepare the dish.

1-2kg fresh sliced morning glory
3 fresh Green onions
3 pieces of garlic
2 fresh tomatoes
4-6 fresh peppers
Fresh Basel
Two pinches of table salt
1/2 teaspoon of curry Powder
Vegetable oil

Steps: cook time is about 10 minutes

1. Make sure to wash and slice the morning glory into thin pieces about 1-2cm or larger depending on your preference.

Washed and sliced morning glory.

2. Slice the vegetables that will be used with morning glory to make the dish.


Sliced vegetables

3. Pull some vegetable oil in a frying pan as appropriate and turn on the stove to low heat.

4. When the oil is hot, put in the slices of onions and garlic. Let it fry for 1-2 minutes on low heat.


5. Put in the slices of tomatoes and allow to fry for another 3-4 minutes.


6. Add the sliced morning glory and add seasoning to enhance the taste and allow to fry for the rest of the 10 minutes. Don’t over cooked it.

7. Once the entire 10 minutes of cook period is done, remove and serve with steam or sticky rice, sweet potatoes, yam, etc. It should look something like this.

Light Fried Morning Glory


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