Energy and Climate Change in Africa

Energy and Climate Change in Africa

The African Development Bank held its annual general meetings in Lusaka, Zambia in May 2016 and I attended this year because the theme “Energy and Climate Change” is important to the SARUA Programme for Climate Change Capacity Development I am coordinating as part of a Higher Education Management Africa team.

Africa Day 2016

Africa Day 2016

While there, I also met with university representatives of the University of Zambia, Mulungushi University and Copperbelt University, to brief them on capacity development workshops SARUA will be holding later in 2016. The aim of these workshops will be to assist lecturers from the SADC region who wish to adapt or offer the Master’s programme in climate change and capacity development a regional university team is busy developing.

Kariba dam from the air

Kariba dam from the air

Southern African universities are doing as best they can with limited resources, but the continuous lack of funding for higher education presents many challenges. It is necessary to establish Southern-oriented post-graduate research projects in Africa, which can tackle such issues as energy and climate change. In Zambia, with its high dependence on hydro power, climate change induced drought is seriously affecting its generating capacity.

Now that the AfDB has stated its intent to fund infrastructure for energy solutions in Africa, in particular green energy projects, it will hopefully also mean more money will go towards research and policy development funding in SADC. New knowledge is needed in the region and it should come from the region.

University of Zambia campus

University of Zambia campus

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A first collaborative network for SADC curriculum innovation

A first collaborative network for SADC curriculum innovation

On a recent sunny winter’s weekend at the Spier Conference Centre in the winelands of South Africa a group of distinguished academics, higher education specialists and climate change experts from the SADC region gathered to plan the design of a ground-breaking initiative. The occasion was the launch of the SARUA Curriculum Innovation Network (SCIN) and the attendees were members of the team responsible for developing and coordinating a regional Master’s curriculum in climate change and sustainable development.

SCIN workshop delegates catch some sun while discussing curricula. Photo by Tim Honey

SCIN workshop delegates catch some sun while discussing curricula. From left to right: Ronald Mukanya (CDKN), Prof Godwell Nhamo (Unisa), Prof Isaac Mapaure (UNAM), Dr Anthony Phiri (HIT). Photo by Tim Honey

In attendance were representatives from the Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA), Higher Education Management Africa (HEMA), the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), regional universities and also independent advisors and consultants to the process. We were meeting face-to-face for a first time to discuss the design of the curriculum and the process of developing what will be a first for the SADC region. The SCIN is not only the first SARUA-established collaborative network of university, government, private sector and civil society stakeholders who wish to address the impacts of climate change in southern Africa, but also the first project to collaboratively develop a Master’s curriculum that will be available for customisation and delivery at participating universities in all 15 countries of the SADC community.

SCIN inception workshop. Photo by Tim Honey

SCIN inception workshop. Photo by Tim Honey

A University Delivery Consortium (UDC) comprising seven universities from five countries has been selected to develop the curriculum and courseware and the event was an opportunity for them to test their approach with the coordinating team, the project sponsors and peers.

I was interviewed by University World News in my capacity as SCIN Coordinator and an article which provides a very good overview of what we aim to achieve is available here.

Me in discussion with Prof Mark New, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, who will be leading the University Delivery Consortium. Photo by Tim Honey

Me in discussion with Prof Mark New, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, who will be leading the University Delivery Consortium. Photo by Tim Honey

The workshop ended with a launch event where Piyushi Kotecha, CEO of SARUA and Prof Goolam Mohamedbhai, Former Secretary-General of the Association of African Universities (AAU) were the keynote speakers. They reiterated the need for collaboration and networking in the region and on the African continent.

Piyushi Kotecha and Prof Goolam Mohamedbhai at the SCIN launch event. Photo by Tim Honey

Piyushi Kotecha, CEO of SARUA and Prof Goolam Mohamedbhai, former Secretary-General of the AAU at the SCIN launch event. Photo by Tim Honey

Network building and management is a particular interest of mine, hence this project is as much fun as it is a challenge. If you are interested in the SCIN, drop me a line. Organisations or individuals who wish to participate in the SCIN can register their interest as Participating Universities, External Stakeholders, or Individual Contributors by completing the online registration form.

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SARUA Curriculum Innovation Network: Call for Expressions of Interest

SARUA Curriculum Innovation Network: Call for Expressions of Interest

The SARUA Curriculum Innovation Network which I wrote about here is being established and as its first project will develop a regional Master’s curriculum and courseware in climate change and sustainable development. The curriculum will be available to participating universities across all 15 SADC countries to customise and offer as a university programme.

SARUA has also asked external stakeholders and individuals who wish to contribute to indicate their interest in being part of what aims to be a truely collaborative network of parties focused on addressing the challenges of climate change in southern Africa.

Read the full Call for Expressions of Interest here.

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SARUA Curriculum Innovation network receives funding

SARUA Curriculum Innovation network receives funding

The SARUA Climate Change Counts mapping study, which I project managed as part of a HEMA consortium of specialists, proposed four major collaborative networks to be established among Southern African universities. These four networks were identified after an extensive needs analysis and institutional assessment conducted in 2013 and are:

  1. Research Network (comprising 7 research themes/ clusters)
  2. Curriculum Innovation Network
  3. Capacity Development Network
  4. Policy and Institutional Development Network

The mapping study was funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), the SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme and contributions from regional universities.

Proposed SARUA university networks to address climate change

Proposed SARUA university networks to address climate change

It has now been announced that the Curriculum Innovation Network – which aims to develop a regional climate change curriculum for SARUA members within SADC, will also be funded by CDKN. An expression of interest process will soon be announced by SARUA to identify potential university partners to be involved in the development of the curriculum.

Read the announcement as reported here on University World News and watch this space for more news.

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Climate Change in Southern Africa and the role of universities

Climate Change in Southern Africa and the role of universities

University World News published an article on the SARUA Programme for Climate Change Capacity Development and the recently published results of the Climate Change Counts mapping study, which I project managed as part of the HEMA Consortium.

“The mapping study involved a needs analysis and an institutional assessment, focused on the higher education sector and undertaken on a country-by-country basis, bringing together information from 12 countries across a multiplicity of disciplines.

“By making the results of the mapping study available, SARUA is providing a platform for self-organised knowledge sharing and collaboration among universities on the issue of climate change,” said Piyushi Kotecha, CEO of SARUA.”

Read the article here.

Download all final reports:

Volume 1, Number 1: Knowledge Co-Production Framework

Volume 2: Country Reports

Climate Change Counts in Botswana workshop

Climate Change Counts in Botswana workshop

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SARUA mapping study overview

At the start of October 2013 the HEMA Consortium hosted the final of 12 in-country workshops as part of the SARUA Climate Change Counts mapping study. The workshop was very well attended thanks to the efforts of the host institution, Zimbabwe Open University. The university published some videos from the workshop on Youtube.

The full playlist of videos is available here:

My overview of the SARUA mapping study:

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