Kalep Filli: Accruing Skills in Sustainability for Nigeria & Sub-Saharan Africa


For Kalep Filli, the triad of life is research, teaching & training, and incorporating sustainability in community service. He is staying in Gothenburg as a ‘Visiting Scientist/Researcher’ who aims to bring the sustainable models in education and development from Sweden to his home country Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.

“The knowledge I gain, and the skills and the competencies, and the experience that I get from the Europeans and researchers, have built my competencies which I take it back home, to my people … to develop my own university to increase the developmental objectives of the university,” says Dr Filli. He is a post-doc scholar in Biopolymer Extrusion, Visiting Scientist/Researcher at the Industrial and Materials Science, Chalmers University of Technology, Fellow at Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) and a faculty member Federal University of Technology, Yola, Nigeria.

“Education is the bedrock of everything for younger people in Nigeria. My heart cries for them to get sustainable education so that they can enhance and increase their capacities in order to make the country much more effective and productive,” says Dr Filli. He believes, Nigeria has a pivotal role in Africa to serve as a role model in education and development. He reckons, the European countries can help Africa not by giving aid or loans but by sharing competencies and skills in education which he thinks will also prevent migration from African countries.

Experience of social environment in Europe, how amenities are put in place and the sustainable models are appealing to Dr Filli. He says the best thing of being in Sweden is ‘the experience in high-level research, high-level means of communication and interactions, the facilities, human resources, and research environment that is stimulating’.

Dr Kalep Filli with his colleagues and fellow researchers at Chalmers

Dr Filli believes the Developing and Third World countries should keep sustainability as the keyword in all spheres of society: The keyword for everything is sustainability. According to him, sustainability is the handing over of time-tested models of development to the next generation ranging from education and research to functioning of amenities in a city – things that can be repeated tomorrow, and training people continuously and successfully.

“Gothenburg is beautiful,” notes Dr Filli. “One thing I have learned with the people, they are accommodative. They are willing to communicate to you if you want to ask a question. If you run out of your way, on the average more than ninety to ninety-five percent of the people are willing to assist you. They are really lovely and social and accommodative.”

Michika is a community in Nigeria whose population is about 700 thousand. Dr Filli is one of them, and strives to develop the area through community service. He plans to return to his home town in six months’ time and serve through education. The community is represented in Adamawa state in northeast Nigeria affected by Boko Haram insurgency but the locals have resisted and defeated them. Boko Haram is a militant organization known for its civilian disturbance such as bombings, assassinations and abductions; and to establish an Islamic state.