It was a celebratory moment when the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) staff members convened in Lome, Togo on the 26th of May 2022 to celebrate the Institution’s 10th anniversary. In 2012, WASCAL Cooperation Agreement was signed in Lome, Togo. In a celebratory mode were German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) representative, SASSCAL Board Chair, Executive Director, and staff.
Dr. Jane Olwoch, SASSCAL Executive Director who was one of the invites expressed her appreciation for the event and stated she was honoured to be standing at the tip of the mountain that SASSCAL’S sister organization WASCAL has been climbing. She remarked that climbing a WASCAL strategy isn’t easy. On the way up the mountain, are different nations, different cultures, and different needs in the core programmes of WASCAL and this requires the creation of a unique proposition by WASCAL and support thereof from key internal stakeholders and the funder. “I am humbled by the excellent achievements over the years despite the complexity”, she remarked.
Dr. Olwoch also reminded the participants that at the end of the day, it is all about partnerships and she congratulated WASCAL again for the way they have maintained very strong partnerships with BMBF, relevant Ministries and other key stakeholders and communities around them that use their products and services”.
“It is also about the knowledge on why we exist”, she stated
SASSCAL Executive Director cautioned that over the last 10 Years, SASSCAL learned that successes don’t depend on what the organization produces, how products and services are produced, but “WHY” they are produced. She reflected that many Institutions know what they produce, know how they produce their products or services, but they don’t know why they do what they do. “In the end, it is the knowledge of why we exist that will determine the “What” Products and Services and “How” to produce them”, she stated.
She reflected on her own motivation factors by saying that she likes working for SASSCAL despite the complexity too because she knows why SASSCAL exists – “I believe in the organization’s existence; I believe that climate change is the most urgent global challenge that is affecting our region’s developmental efforts and I also believe that Green Hydrogen is the most promising sure route to reduce Green House Gas emissions and safeguard our planet”. This is enough motivation for me to work hard and deliver.
Going forward she cautioned that both WASCAL and SASSCAL’s main strategy should be to communicate more on why we exist, rather than what we produce. We must increase the number of people who believe in what we believe in and those who know why we exist. To these people and institutions, we share the same vision.
In her concluding remarks, Dr Jane Olwoch conceded that SASSCAL looks up to WASCAL in many ways. “Your struggles are our struggles, your successes are our success. Today I commit to go the extra mile to forge a stronger partnership with you so that we leverage each other’s strong points to maximize the value of the funding from BMBF and our member states and benefits to both of our regions. As we aim for the next 10 Year Mountain journey, there will be many routes possible to reach the top: some short, some long; but we must take the path with the most value knowing that consistency and putting in extra time will deliver extra-ordinary results”