Mr Adesegun Quam Popoola.
Masters candidate in Agrometeorology in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) Mr Adesegun Quam Popoola is one of 10 young professionals in South Africa selected as a recipient of a 2016/17 GreenMatter Fellowship Award.
The award, which aims to drive transformation in graduate level skills in biodiversity, is sponsored by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Lewis Foundation, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), Nedbank, and other partners.
Popoola, under the supervision of Professor Mike Savage, is conducting research on the use of agrometeorological data to equip local farmers for sustainable food production in the Swayimane community in KwaZulu-Natal.
‘My interest in this work emerged from being exposed to rural communities’ dependency on natural resources which produced a desire to learn and create information that will be useful to strengthen and empower rural communities to respond better to current extreme climatic conditions,’ said Popoola.
He hopes that his research will contribute to the communities’ ability to improve their socio-economic conditions and lead to prosperous lives through sustainable use of natural resources.
The Fellowship is aimed at developing the skills and resources required to combat the threats posed by phenomena such as climate change, ecosystem degradation and resource constraints against South Africa’s rich natural and wildlife resources, and to safeguard this precious natural capital.
Popoola, who completed his first degree in Marine Sciences, has a passion for environmental management, specifically global development and sustainability. His research is inspired by the global and local challenge of food insecurity arising due to climate change and global warming, and is pursuing his goal of conducting studies that will have a significant impact for people, especially those in developing nations, affected most severely.
‘These challenges can be overcome through the support provided by young professionals and the academic community to strengthen and empower these communities by understanding their context,’ said Popoola.
Popoola, who had to overcome the challenge of limited funds for his studies which he completed while married with a child to support, worked part-time while studying, putting his belief in hard work, dedication and self-discipline.
He now hopes to gain experience in his field, working to alleviate poverty, reduce climate change effects and promote resilience, and perhaps proceed to PhD studies one day.
Popoola thanked GreenMatter and their partners for providing the platform to learn, grow and network with highly experienced professionals in the biodiversity sector in South Africa. He says the Fellowship motivated him to participate actively in issues regarding the environment and the climate.
He acknowledged the support of his mother, Mrs Morufat Popoola, and siblings as well as his wife and daughter, Sne and Simi Popoola. He also gave credit to his mother-in-law, Ms Emelda Zondi, and GreenMatter Fellow Abulele Qulu and thanked his supervisor and co-supervisor, Professor Mike Savage and Dr Tafadzwa Mabhaudhi.