16 August 2023

Promoting Environmental and Social Sustainability for Improved Livelihoods in Ghana and Beyond

The CSC is very pleased to share the twentieth individual impact case study as part of our on-going evaluation work demonstrating the impact of Commonwealth Scholarships.

Group of people standing and squatting over documents on the ground.

Consultation with indigenous people (Baka) in the South Region of Cameroon as part of a cultural heritage identification and assessment in 2021.

Featured in this case study is Stephen Doso Jnr, a 2013 alumnus who completed a Master’s degree in Sustainable Environmental Management at the University of Greenwich through a Commonwealth Scholarship. Stephen is a strong advocate for environmental protection and human rights empowerment, who works as a Deputy Director (Responsible Production) at Proforest, an international organisation focusing on addressing environmental and social sustainability issues, protecting human rights, environmental management, preventing deforestation, and promoting nature conservation. Moreover, he is an active member of the Human Rights Active Working group, co-leading on responsible sourcing and production of agricultural and forest commodities for positive social and environmental outcomes for nature, climate, and people. Stephen is a licensed Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Lead Auditor and Trainer, as well as a Licensed Assessor for High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock Approach (HCSA) assessments. As an Environmental Consultant, Stephen has trained, audited, and supported organisations in several countries in West, Central, and East Africa to develop relevant environmental management plans to minimise and mitigate the impact of their activities to the environment and society.

Stephen’s development work supports three of the CSC Development Themes: Strengthening resilience and response to crises; Promoting global prosperity; and Science and technology for development. Moreover, his work contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, particularly: SDG 2 – Zero Hunger; SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities; SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production; SDG 13 – Climate Action; and SDG 15 – Life on Land.

Stephen described how he has benefitted from the knowledge, skills and the international exposure gained while on Scholarship:

‘As part of my studies in the UK, I studied courses on tools for sustainability, corporate social responsibility, conservation ecology, and environmental impact assessment. And all the jobs I have done since I completed have been directly linked to what I studied. Through the Scholarship, I gained international exposure, the different cultural backgrounds that I interacted with, all that helped shape my thinking in analysis of issues and exposed me to international issues on sustainability. And that has been critical for the work I do because I must always be on top of issues and have that broad and critical thinking ability. And those are things that I acquired from my studies in the UK.’

Upon reflecting on the personal impact of his Commonwealth Scholarship, Stephen identified the most significant change to himself because of his Commonwealth Scholarship.

‘All the jobs that I have done after the Commonwealth Scholarship have been directly linked to what I studied in school. And, of course, I would not have been able to fund myself to attend those courses without the Commonwealth Scholarship. My MSc study in the UK has framed my professional career and development. This has been through the opportunities it has provided including jobs and international networks. So, without a Master’s degree I would not even have had the qualification to do these jobs or to get selected for these roles. Also, it has strongly influenced my life goal which is to continue providing innovative solutions to address global problems and challenges. I am driven by my passion to make the world a better place for people, which is also achieved through delivering benefits for nature and the climate. I believe all the successes I have achieved mean nothing, if they cannot transform the lives of others.’

Stephen identified his voluntary work on creating awareness about plastic pollution, the Plastic Bag Action Day campaign as one of the activities he implemented in his local community that he is most proud of:

Stephen Doso Jnr standing in a forest conducting fieldwork data collection.

Stephen undertaking field data collection for landscape scale HCV-HCS assessment at Asunafo-Asutifi Hotspot Intervention Area Ghana in 2020.

‘I picked voluntary plastic awareness campaign as the most significant change I brought to my community because all the other developmental work that I have done is linked to my formal job, but this was voluntary work. The community area around the school was cleaned up of plastics, and parents and community members accepted the use of recyclable bags instead of single use plastic bags for shopping. What we inculcated into the children at the awareness event, their understanding of plastic pollution, and what they took out from the event was important for us. The Municipal Assembly promised to consider the proposal of the pupils and take actions to improve plastic management in the municipality.’

Read Stephen Doso Jnr’s Case Study here.