After four years of hard work, 19 fellows completed their journey in the CARTA program. The journey that began in 2012 officially came to an end and was celebrated in style by the fellows, facilitators and CARTA consortium partners. The Cohort 2 CARTA fellows expressed their appreciation of the program’s contribution to their career development. During a Town Hall meeting with the CARTA Director, Dr. Alex Ezeh and CARTA program staff, the fellows expressed their gratitude for the CARTA program and the people behind this great idea. This meeting marked the end of the fourth and last Joint Advanced Seminars (JAS) for the cohort 2 fellows who were in Nairobi.
Cohort 2 fellows with CARTA leadership at the end of JAS 4 in March 2015, Nairobi, Kenya.
To most of the fellows, the CARTA program has put them on the right track academically. They have had an opportunity to interact and be mentored by a number of academics drawn from across Africa and the Global North. The fellows have had, compared to other PhD students anywhere in Africa and even the world, an opportunity to spend more uninterrupted time with a number of facilitators via the JAS training model that is fully residential. Unlike many other PhD students in other universities in Africa, CARTA fellows unanimously agreed that they have been nurtured on critical areas needed to become research leaders in any areas of population and public health.
‘Publish or perish’ a common refrain in the research world is an issue of the past for CARTA fellows as each of them has published during their journey in CARTA. Some of the fellows never had an idea of how to go about publishing but CARTA has made this happen just within the four years of interaction. The fellows said that through CARTA they have published in peer reviewed journals and with other scholars as either lead authors or co-authors.
Researchers also need to be able to attract grants in order to continue with their work.
For this cohort of CARTA fellows, they testified that the proposal writing training they underwent through CARTA has made a great impact in their lives. Most of them are now able to write winning proposals and have attracted grant from various donors either as Principal Investigators (PIs) of co-Principal Investigators (Co-PIs). To the fellows, CARTA program is uniquely structured and has the interest of the African continent at heart.
Mwamtobe Peter Mpasho, University of Witwatersrand: “I am the first in my family to get a PhD and I would not have done so if it was not for the CARTA fellowship”.
Nyondo Alinane Linda, University of Malawi: “CARTA should not underestimate its contribution to research policy in Africa and its ability to develop research leaders for Africa”.
Fagbamigbe Adeniyi Francis, University of Ibadan: “I was selected for a post-doc position without an interview. This is due to my good profile which I have developed through the CARTA fellowship program”.
Longwe Herbert Hudson Thulasoni, University of Malawi: “Being a CARTA fellow can open many opportunities. In a recent interview for my current job, I was asked to define what CARTA is and I got the job”!
Wells Utembe, University of Witwatersrand: “I have moved from writing one conference paper to nine! That’s a huge improvement! I no longer hide my CV. And I owe it all to CARTA.”
Oluwatoba Olufunke Abiodun, University of Ibadan: “We are the output and outcome of your proposal. CARTA has given us an opportunity to know each other, network and even do joint research”.