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Food security in the East African region is highly threatened by climate variability and change, impacting a large proportion of the rural population. Food production, access to markets, and income from agricultural activities are connected inseparably with climate-related events and food security crises. This specifically counts for Ethiopia revealing a population of more than 114 million, representing the second-most populous country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Agriculture is the backbone of the Ethiopian economy, yet farmers in rural areas often have limited access to education, information, technology, and basic social and support services. With these constraints, they reveal only little adaptability to climate change. Food insecurity is accelerated through climate change-induced loss of biodiversity and depletion of soil fertility as well as reduced pasture availability, making the implementation of adjusted farming practices across Ethiopia difficult.

Climate change is worsening the situation and affecting many more people. For example, the emergence of the recent locust migration in Eastern Africa has been escalating food insecurity in East Africa, including Ethiopia. The development of locust swarms is strongly influenced by climatic conditions. In 2016, the Ethiopian government has committed itself for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030.

The DAAD program “Bilateral SDG Graduate School”, funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), aims to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the UN Agenda 2030 by funding bilateral partnerships between higher education institutions in establishing SDG graduate schools in developing countries. For this purpose, the German-Ethiopian SDG graduate school „Climate Change Effects on Food Security (CLIFOOD)” was set up between the University of Hohenheim (Germany) and the Hawassa University (Ethiopia).

CLIFOOD aims to train specialized experts and lecturers at doctoral and postdoc levels from higher education institutions particular in Ethiopia and other countries in East Africa, and thus contributes to the joint development of innovative solutions for central SDG topics. Long-term scholarships will be offered with a duration of 36 months (up to a maximum of 48 months) for PhD students and 24 months for postdocsIn total 13 PhD and 1 postdoc scholarship will be awarded.

CLIFOOD offers a relevant and high-quality range of courses in the form of structured study programs on a subject of research that is interdisciplinary as possible. Six block seminars form the core format of research-related teaching at the CLIFOOD graduate school. In addition, various media didactics seminars and transferable skills courses are offered. Education, teaching, research, supervision, knowledge transfer, and capacity building are the key elements of CLIFOOD. Application deadline is March 25, 2021. The planned start date of the scholarships is July 1, 2021.