Okeyi Ojotule, preferably called Solace Ojotule, a graduate student from MSc Africa and International Development shares her passion for climate and gender and her journey to the University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Earth Initiative as an Earth Fellow.

Solace Ojotule Erath Fellow

What’s your background?

Nothing short of a self-motivator is the perfect way to describe Solace’s background. After the successful completion of a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts, Solace’s interest in creating more educational pathways for girls in her community led her to found the EMTAG Foundation, a Nigeria-registered youth and women-led initiative that advocates for quality education for girls. Alongside her passion for social change, Solace went on to work for several companies in a communications capacity. Not satisfied with a bachelor’s degree, she yearned for further knowledge and nurtured the interest of pursuing a master’s degree. This interest propelled her to apply for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, which she always credits for “bringing her dreams to reality.” Upon a successful application, Solace was awarded the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Edinburgh to undertake a Master’s degree in Africa and International Development, bringing to reality her longtime goal of pursuing a Master’s degree.

What led you to become an Earth Fellow?

Coming from a region in Nigeria that is presently experiencing the effects of climate change through extreme rainfall that leads to heavy flooding, and seeing how women and girls bear the adverse effects of this climate crisis, Solace decided to take climate action and started finding ways to contribute to the cause. Upon coming to the University of Edinburgh, her interest in climate change increased. Despite not having a science background, Solace found her niche in climate communications, hence her decision to join the Edinburgh Earth Initiative as an Earth Fellow. She says,

“I was very interested in climate change, but at first I thought I did not fit in because my background was in humanities. However, what I didn’t know is that climate change is interdisciplinary, and I have a place and everyone has a place to contribute—and the Edinburgh Earth Initiative helped me realise this.”

What project will you be working on during your fellowship?

During her fellowship, Solace is working on communicating climate action at the Edinburgh Earth Initiative to internal and external audiences using the Edinburgh Earth Initiative website and social media platforms. She is working on creating content such as blog articles, curating social media posts, and designing social cards. She is also working on the Energy, Climate Change and Audio-Visual Media project, which supports the development of cross-disciplinary collaboration across the humanities, sciences, and creative practice research to explore, invent, or critique responses to the problem of energy and the climate crisis through audio-visual media.

Why do you think the Edinburgh Earth Initiative is so crucial?

Coming from a humanities background and having a space to gain relevant work experience, Solace believes the Edinburgh Earth Initiative is significant for giving students a chance to get involved in climate change while also gaining relevant work experience in the area.

She says, “Universities have a responsibility to ensure that the students they produce are climate aware. The University of Edinburgh, through the Edinburgh Earth Initiative, is currently doing that, not just in teaching, but by creating an avenue where students can get involved with climate research and communications, applying things learned in the classroom to real-world scenarios, and that is crucial.”

What are you most excited for during your fellowship?

During her fellowship, Solace is most excited about getting to work with other fellows and the Edinburgh Earth Initiative team. In her words, “I am so excited about an opportunity to be around Fellows and team members. Having to meet these new people at this point in my life has pivoted my career and helped me broaden my horizon. It’s an invaluable opportunity to gain a better understanding of climate change and its effects on our planet.”

What’s next?

Solace hopes to continue using her communication skills to talk about climate change and gender equality. In the coming years, she hopes to collaborate with non-governmental organizations on climate and gender-related projects and missions. When Solace is not researching to create content for Edinburgh Erath Initiative, she is busy filming for her YouTube channel and Tiktok, an activity she enjoys. She also enjoys trying new baking recipes and dancing to Afrobeats during her spare time.