Monday, 15 July 2013

Sulaimon A. AfolabI shares his experience as a CARTA fellow

Human Interest Story of Afolabi S.A. for CARTA
1.      Introduce yourself, your institution, your research area etc.
I am Sulaimon A. Afolabi, a doctoral candidate in the department of Demography and Population Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. I am a staff member of the Medical Research Council/Wits Rural Public Health & Health Transitions Research Unit also known as the Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance System Site. My research interest is mainly on the components of population change namely migration, mortality and fertility and their impact on the health and well-being of the populace.

2.      There are other PhD fellowships, what made you prefer to apply to the CARTA PhD fellowships?
It inculcates research capacity development especially in my field of interest i.e. population and health. Also, it promotes collaboration and networking among the fellows. It exposes the fellow to the crème de la crème in the field of population and health research.

3.      What are your hopes and dreams in the CARTA PhD program?
I hope to garner the necessary expertise to finish my doctoral program and afterwards apply the acquired skill to proffer solution to the population and health challenges being faced in sub-Saharan Africa. In future, I envisage mentoring and nurturing upcoming researchers. This may entail the replication of the CARTA program. More importantly, I dream of becoming an outstanding researcher in my field of endeavour.

4.      What is so endearing to you in CARTA?
It avails me the opportunity to network and collaborate with scholars from other institutions in Africa and beyond. It provides array of knowledge, scholarship and other opportunities being disseminated from the secretariat. Being a CARTA fellow gives an identity that can boost one’s credibility, recognition most especially when it comes to seeking for research grants.

5.      Do you have some personal experiences with CARTA that you would want to share to encourage others to also become CARTA fellows
Whenever I present my challenges and concerns to the CARTA management, they try as much as possible to address them.

6.      What progress have you made so far in your PhD studies? Have you defended your proposal, have you done publications from your PhD work etc
My proposal has been approved by my institution. Hence, I can continue with my research. Currently, I am at the thesis writing stage. Meanwhile, I have presented my work at the 2012 edition of the Population Association America (PAA) conference in San Francisco, USA and I will be doing the same in Busan, South Korean at the 2013 edition of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) conference

7.      It is common knowledge that not everything is without hitches/sacrifices, kindly share these with me so that I can bring them out for people to be prepared to also face the same as they take up the CARTA program.

My arduous challenge is in attempting to carve out time out of no time for my research. Nevertheless, I have taken a clue from one of the sayings of the late Martin Luther King, which goes thus, "If you cannot fly then run, if you cannot run then walk, if you cannot walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward."

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