The CSC Alumni Team are pleased to announce the 2023 CSC Alumni Community Engagement Fund (ACEF) organisers. Over the next 8 months, they will plan and deliver community-focused engagement activities to raise awareness across one of three chosen themes. Keep reading to find out more about their activities.

Small Changes for Big Impact

The Alumni Community Engagement Fund’s (ACEF) overall aim is to champion small changes implemented at the community level which can lead to big impact over time. ACEF supports Commonwealth Alumni in delivering engaging activities designed to raise awareness and support individuals in implementing small changes at the community level with the aim of achieving long-term positive impact.

This year’s activity themes are:

  • Gender and sexuality
  • Preserving and promoting indigenous knowledge
  • Small Commonwealth states
  • Clean Energy, Air and Oceans

Meet the organisers

Gender and sexuality

Dhritiman Ray and Sukriti Agnihotri (2020 Shared Scholars from India) will deliver an online awareness session promoting mental health amongst the LGBTQ+ community in India. The session will address challenges such as stigma and systematic oppression, and its impact on mental health. Participants will develop skills to create a group support system to address mental health challenges.

Benson Mwangi Njongoro (2019 Shared Scholar from Kenya) will conduct a gender-sensitive workshop for women offenders on their reintegration needs and resettlement services available in Kenya. The workshop will highlight the importance of supporting women offenders as they transition into the community and include discussions on key services such as housing, mental health support, and employment.

Mbali Pewa (2015 Scholar from South Africa) has designed an information session to promote a community centred approach to improve the health and wellbeing of sex workers in Johannesburg, South Africa. A separate community forum for relevant stakeholders will be delivered to present the challenges they face, such as vulnerability to threats, sexually transmitted diseases, and gender violence, and access to health and social services.

In Aperikira Sub-county, Kebermaido District, Uganda Sarah Rachael Akello (2020 Shared Scholar from Uganda) will take to the airwaves to deliver a series of radio shows on gender and sexuality for community members. The sessions will address topics including gender equality and inclusivity in primary education.

Preserving and promoting indigenous knowledge

Sylvanus Doe (2005 Shared Scholar from Ghana) will lead sessions on the importance of indigenous knowledge to sustainable mangrove restoration in the Volta River estuary in Ghana. He will highlight how this knowledge can be applied to developing resilience, livelihoods, and climate adaptation amongst communities living on the estuary.

Now based in Guyana, Temitope Oyedotun (2005 Shared Scholar from Nigeria) will promote the role of indigenous knowledge in developing coastal protection in Guyana. Temitope will document the existing indigenous knowledge on coastal conservation, develop engaging educational materials to promote awareness, and facilitate dialogues between indigenous communities and stakeholders to encourage collaborative decision-making practice.

Meesha Tandon (2006 Shared Scholar from India) will design a multi-stakeholder workshop to initiate dialogue on natural farming methods in India. Meesha’s activity will include site-visits to communities practising natural farming using indigenous methods to address the growing concerns around water pollution, soil degradation, low farmer income, and declining resilience impacted by climate change.

In Eburru forest, Kenya, Sylvester Chisika (2014 Distance Learning Scholar from Kenya) raise awareness of forest management certification. Through a one-day sensitisation workshop, he will raise awareness of the importance of forest management certification to address increasing threats from forest degradation and biodiversity loss on the Eburru forest, alongside traditional and indigenous methods.

Akusa Patrice Mawa’s (2012 Scholar from Uganda) activity will investigate indigenous medicinal knowledge amongst communities in Entebbe, Uganda, and its role in treating common illness and modern science. Patrice will gather information on benefits of traditional medicine from members of the community and develop resources.

Indigenous post-harvest knowledge and practices (IPKP) are a pathway to reducing post-harvest losses in northern Uganda. Fredrick Omara promote these practices through engagement with small holder farmers and stakeholders to raise awareness on IPKP and deliver practical training. He will also deliver a radio show to spread awareness on a wider scale.

Small States

The United Kingdom Commonwealth Alumni (UKCAC) – Mauritius Chapter, led by Devina Lobine (2013 Split-site Scholar from Mauritius), will deliver a hybrid round-table discussion on the socio-economic impact of climate change on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), with a focus on Mauritius and Rodrigues island states. The discussion will explore barriers to climate change adaptation and mitigation, and adaptation of circular economy measures to strengthen the resilience mechanism of the islands.

The Solomon Islands Commonwealth Scholars and Alumni Association, led by Martiza Nanua (2022 Distance Learning Scholar from Solomon Islands) seeks to raise awareness of STEM education and promote digital ICT skills amongst school children in the Solomon Islands.

Clean energy, air, and oceans

Olusegun Akanmu (2022 Professional Fellow from Nigeria) will deliver an awareness activity on combating water pollution and raising clean energy awareness in Ayedire local government community in Osun State, Nigeria. The activity will include a workshop on creating saltwater powered lamps, practical solutions for recycling polyethylene film plastic waste, and radio shows on the impact of climate change and promotion of plastic waste reduction and recycling.