ITTO offers fellowships through the Freezailah Fellowship Fund to promote human resource development and to strengthen professional expertise in member countries in tropical forestry and related disciplines. The goal is to promote the sustainable management of tropical forests, the efficient use and processing of tropical timber, and better economic information about the international trade in tropical timber.
Field training by ITTO Fellows in Costa Rica. Photo: M. Manzanero
Current StatusAs of December 2020, the Programme, which began in 1989, has enabled more than 1400 young and mid-career people from over 49 countries working for government, universities, research institution, civil society and the private sector to pursue their professional development and improve their career prospects. Twenty-seven percent of the fellowships have been awarded to people from Asia-Pacific, 35.6% to people from Africa, 27.3% to people from Latin America/Caribbean, 8.2% to people from developping consumer countries and 1.9% to people from developed consumer countries, who carried out their activities in producer member countries.
The total value of fellowships awarded to date amounts to approximately US$7.9 million. Funding has been provided through the generous voluntary contributions from Japan (69%), U.S.A (17%), the Netherlands (8%), Australia (3%) and others (3%), including Finland, Sweden, U.K., Bali Partnership Fund-B and private companies. The programme supports mainly short-term activities, such as participation in international conferences, training courses and study tours. In addition, it also helps people to prepare manuals and monographs and provides small grants for post-graduate study.
ITTO Fellowship Programme encourages capacity development of women foresters, and has supported 406 women to undertake fellowship activities, accounting for more than 30% of the total number of fellowships.
Impact Assessment of the Fellowship ProgrammeAn impact assessment of the Fellowship Programme, conducted in summer of 2016, showed that the Fellowship Programme has made significant contributions to human capacity development in ITTO producer member countries. 155 fellows from 28 countries, who completed their fellowship activities between 2010 and 2014, responded to a survey questionnaire. In terms of their contribution to promoting reforestation/forest conservation in their home country, 82% of the respondents answered that they have made very large or moderate contributions. About 88% of the respondents indicated that they have been able to improve the productivity and performance of their home institution by developing new programs or innovative ways of working. 42% indicated that the knowledge and skills acquired through the Fellowship program has helped them to influence national forestry and environmental policy in their home countries. 61% of the respondents indicated that they are currently working on international forestry issues, particularly on climate change and REDD.
Eighty five percent of the respondents currently hold either Ph.D. (42%) or Masters Degree (58%) in forestry and related disciplines, and more than 1/3 of the fellows received those degrees through the support of the Fellowship Programme. More than 60% of the respondents achieved a relevant job position or job promotion immediately after completion of their fellowships, and 73% of the respendents answered "totally related" or "strongly related" to the question whether any job promotion or new job position was due to the skills and knowledge that they gained from the fellowship.
A summary of the survey results of 1st Impact Assessment conducted in 2010 is available in the special edition of the TFU Volume 21 Number 1, 2011, dedicated to the Fellowship Programme and a summary of the survey results of the second Impact Assessment conducted in summer of 2016 will be available in future Tropical Forest updates.