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Scholarship recipients in Africa

Below is the list of 2023 scholarship recipients.

Lailah Gifty Akita

Lailah Gifty Akita holds a PhD in Natural Science with a specialisation in paleoecology from Friedrich Schiller University and International Max Planck Research School for Biogeochemical Cycles, Jena, Germany.

She is a Lecturer at the Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences, University of Ghana. Dr. Akita’s research interests include Benthic ecology, pollution ecology, and paleo-ecology. She seeks to understand aquatic ecosystem changes using multiple indicators, including biological, biochemical, and microfossil approaches.

Her current research focuses on "Microfossil Approach for the Study of Environmental changes in Tropical Estuaries and Lagoons (MASETEL)", which she has won a travel grant from Past Global Changes (PAGES), Inter-Africa Mobility Research Fellowship for African early-career scientists studying past global changes.

The PAGES fellowship will support Dr. Akita’s travel to the Université Félix Houphouët- Boigny de Cocody (UFR, STRM), Côte d'Ivoire. The host supervisor is Professor Soro Nagnin (The UFR STRM, director). She will be working in collaboration with Dr. Yao N'goran Jean-Paul, who is paleo-scientist (UFR STRM) from Côte d'Ivoire.

Décio Muianga Awardee 2023

Décio Muianga is a Mozambican archaeologist with a Master's degree in Archaeology and rock art Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa). He has worked since 2008 as an assistant lecturer of archaeology in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University Eduardo Mondlane (Maputo, Mozambique). Later in 2016 nominated as Head of the Archaeology Unit at the same institution. Additionally, since 2012 working as a researcher at Kaleidoscopio (Public Policy and Culture), an independent institute based in Maputo. Also, as a team coordinator and researcher for archaeology, cultural, and heritage impact assessments and elaborated heritage management plans in different projects in Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. He has also been involved in disseminating cultural heritage, mounting archaeological exhibitions in Museums, and tour-guiding museums and archaeological sites.

He gained extensive knowledge of surveying, mapping, recording, and excavating sites with rock paintings, ceramics, and microlithic stone tools while completing his master's research project, using archaeological, historical, anthropological, physics and chemistry for the analysis and interpretation of the prehistoric data.

In 2020, he was appointed as a Corresponding Member of the German Archaeological Institute for the Scientific Advisory Board of the Commission for the Archaeology of Non-European Cultures.
Currently working on the PhD focused on the Stone Age, Rock Art, Historical Ecology and Heritage Management of southern Mozambique, and Archaeology from the University Eduardo Mondlane (Mozambique) and University of Uppsala (Department of Archaeology and Ancient History), Sweden. Also, part of the doctoral research includes analysis of archaeological artifacts such as lithics and ceramics (XRF and mineralogical characterization), phytoliths, soil DNA, charcoal/burnt bone dating, and OSL (optically stimulated luminescence) chronological dating.

The mobility grant will be used to work on the lithic analysis from the archaeological excavations from southern Mozambique with Dr. Tim Forssman at the University of Mpumalanga (Mbombela city, Mpumalanga province in South Africa) and also to compare the same samples with collections from South Africa. This will allow us to investigate and understand the main features of stone production within the Pleistocene and Holocene in the southeast section of Southern Africa.

> Fellowship report