1. Please describe your (scientific) work/research in a short way.
I am Prof. Dr. Olanike F. Deji; a Professor of Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology, and a fellow of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany. I have spent more than 20 years in teaching, research, and providing community development services at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria. My major research interests are inclusive and sustainable innovation and technology adaptation, dissemination, and adoption studies; capacity building, rural women empowerment and gender equity as fundamental to resilient agriculture, food security, and sustainable development; Agriculture Value Chain analysis using gender equity framework; climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies; integration of “responsible” digital technology in agriculture as a stratagem for food security and sustainable development. I have published more than 50 articles, including two (2) books in peer-reviewed reputable outlets. In 2019, I developed “Gender Response Theory-GRT”, which is currently undergoing intellectual legitimization. I am currently interested in using gender framework to analyze the perspectives of the scientific and public on the challenges and opportunities of integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based technologies into Agricultural Extension and Advisory System, in order to create enabling environment for the adoption of the technology and Climate Smart Agriculture.
2. Which aspect of a sustainable life, work, and research are especially relevant for you, and why?
I am passionate about women empowerment and gender equality (SDG 5) along Agriculture Value Chain through “responsible” climate-smart digital technologies and innovations for agriculture and rural community development, because this is the major underpin to food security (SDG 2), poverty alleviation (SDG 1), good health and well-being (SDG 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, and 17) for the achievement of sustainable development in Nigeria and other African countries.
3. What would be your wish for the future (and why) with this regard?
My wish for the future is to see an emerged society where there is equity, justice, and security for all; where research, knowledge transfer, and the advisory system significantly support the voices of the disadvantaged not only being heard but recognized, accepted, and adequately rewarded; where all farmers have equal access, control, and decision-making power to produce, process, and provide food and resources for themselves, their families, households, and communities; where rural boys and girls have access to quality education and enjoy security. I look forward to seeing women and men Agriculture Value Chain actors having direct access and control over “responsible” digital technologies for climate-smart agriculture. I wish there is a permanent global solution to the Corona crisis/COVID-19 pandemic. In summary, I passionately wish to see a society with no form of “discrimination” and “oppression”.
4. How is the Corona crisis affecting you in your everyday life and work?
The Corona crisis- COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected my everyday life and work. As it is the case of most unexpected change, the Corona crisis has forced new-normal upon every aspect of my life and work. Since its inception, my social, economic, professional, as well as my work life progress has been restricted. Socially, my face-to-face interaction has been reduced; a conventional traditional social life such as freedom to visit friends and interact has been substituted with online/virtual. The fulfillment that I derive in face-to-face teaching of my students has been forcefully removed; although face-to-face classes are resuming gradually in my University, but not yet fully. I am almost cut off from most of my work audience; mostly farmers and rural dwellers that do not have the luxuries of internet facilities for online/virtual interaction. My community development service provision and interaction with my family members in the rural communities have been largely reduced and ineffective. Economically, things are tough due to inflation, increase in prices of goods and services, just to mention a few. My research activities have been significantly hindered due to restricted mobility. Professionally, I am not meeting up with my goals. I sincerely wish that the global Corona crisis comes to an end faster, so that normal life can resume.